Veteran businessman leads by example


It was Upali Obeyesekere who pioneered the import of food products to Canada and also to USA way back in 1983, under the name and style of Ad-Bri Enterprises Inc.. Consolidated Exports (CONSOLEXPO), a government agency was under the dynamic leadership of well known lawyer Lucky Wikramanayake when Minister Lalith Athulathmudali handled the trade portfolio. Upali was retained to act as the Canadian Representative of CONSOLEXPO and here began the import of food products to Canada from the government agency. Ad-Bri Enterprises Inc., then got the agency rights from Union Commodities (Pvt.) Ltd. a privately owned company headed by Chanaka de Silva with Sri Lanka cricketer Ranjit Fernando heading the exports arm. Ad-Bri also got agency rights in Canada for Scan Products, manufacturers of ‘Currymate’ products. With almost 160 products coming into the North American market Ad-Bri Enterprises Inc., established a lucrative network of almost 50 distributors throughout Canada and in Chicago, New York, Minnesota, Los Angeles in the USA. 

Ad-Bri Enterprises Inc. is proud to be the first company to have their private labelling for tea bags under the name of “TANAB TEAS” coined after Upali’s three children Adrian, Brian and Tanya. The source was Akbar Brothers. The company also imported large volumes from Union Commodities (Pvt.) Ltd.

In 1999, Upali Obeyesekere was appointed Canadian Representative, Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, a post he held with distinction until 2003. His role was to promote investment from Canada to Sri Lanka with the end result of boosting “Foreign Direct Investment” to Sri Lanka. Continuing in the area of promoting Sri Lanka in Canada, he is now the Trade Representative for Exporters Association of Sri Lanka. He works closely with Sri Lanka-Canada Business Council, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and other trade chambers in Sri Lanka in pursuit of promoting exports to Canada. 

He was elected president of Canada-Sri Lanka Business Council in 2012 and continues in this position with passion to promote Sri Lanka in Canada. The mission objectives of Canada-Sri Lanka Business Council is to promote bilateral trade, investment, tourism, technology transfer and industrial cooperation between Canada and Sri Lanka. The council was formed in 1990, with Sir Christopher Ondaatje taking on the mantle of Inaugural President which gave the organization credibility in the eyes of the Canadian business community. CSLBC is indebted to Sir Christopher for his dynamic leadership that gave birth to the 27-year old council.

Upali Obeyesekere was a recipient of one of the highest national awards – Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award in 2012. UO-Diamond-Jubilee-Medal (1)

The Canada-Sri Lanka Business Council may be reached via email