Aban Pestonjee, Chairperson and Founder of the Abans Group of Companies, was adjudged Woman Entrepreneur of the Year at the Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC) “Unstoppable – The Future Belongs to Her” Woman Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 awards, which was recently held in Colombo. She also received the Gold award for her ingenious entrepreneurial skills in the extra large business enterprise category.
“When I started [this] business, there were hardly any women in business. Today we have women who are leading most fields in the Government sector, the corporate sector and they are all doing very well.
I wish them all the best, and I deeply thank WCIC for the awards,” said Pestonjee upon receiving these milestone awards.
Determined to fulfill the goal of making the lives of homemakers like her easier, Aban Pestonjee founded the Abans Group as a modest corner store at Galle Road, Bambalapitiya in 1968. Purchasing quality home appliances put out for sale at auctions, especially conducted by embassies, and reselling them with a guarantee were the core operations of her business.
In 1978, when Sri Lanka emerged into an open economy, Pestonjee began writing regular letters to large British companies that distributed popular international brands to import their respective white goods. At first, several refused. However, her strong persistence led to Electrolux representatives visiting her store and service centre, which was then located in her home garage.
Deeply impressed, Electrolux became the first brand to join hands with Abans to enter the Sri Lankan market. Soon, other famous British brands joined Abans.
Guided by the simple business model of honesty, hard work, and perseverance, Aban Pestonjee’s tireless efforts has resulted in the Abans Group being the corporate giant it is today.
The conglomerate is currently divided into five strategic business categories encompassing retail, services, logistics, manufacturing, real estate, and infrastructure. Brands such as LG, Apple, SKECHERS, Haier, Dell, and many others currently form a part of Abans’ extensive brand portfolio. The Abans Group also possesses over 400 showrooms and more than 15 service centres island wide.
Under the benevolent guidance of Aban Pestonjee and the other preeminent Directors, the Abans Group diversified into real estate with pioneering venture, Colombo City Centre, a mixed-use BOI project,. Colombo City Centre is divided into three phases including a mall, hotel and high-end residences, The Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards was organized by WCIC to predominantly focuses on empowering female business ownersacross Sri Lanka, and improving the overall work environment for women.