OBE for youthful Lankan entrepreneur
by Namini Wijedasa

A high-flying Sri Lankan businessman in England has been selected as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

Prof. Suran Goonatilake, a 37-year-old dual citizen of the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka, was on Friday named in Queen Elizabeth’s birthday honours list for services to entrepreneurship. The list — which pays tribute to ‘outstanding achievement and service right across the community’ — this year includes awards for more than 500 outstanding people.

Goonatilake is the founder of Bodymetrics, a company that markets a technology of the same name. Labelled the ‘Holy Grail of Fashion’, Bodymetrics has revolutionised the international fashion industry. The technology uses scanners to get nearly 200 accurate measurements of the human figure in seven seconds by boucing light off the body. It then allows a woman to ‘see’ herself wearing clothes. Bodymetrics literally ensures the perfect fit and is being used in the production of jeans.

An old boy of Royal College, Goonatilake left Sri Lanka at the age of 18. He read computing and artificial intelligence at the University of Sussex before obtaining a doctorate in the same subject. In 1993, he and some university colleagues set up Searchspace to market an anti-fraud software they had created. Their product is now the world’s number one anti-money laundering software solution, with half of the world’s biggest banks as clients.

Goonatilake has thrice appeared on Britain’s Sunday Times annual Rich List, with an estimated personal fortune of `A338 million.

The selections on the Queen’s honours list are made on recommendation by the Prime Minister’s Office.

Prime Minister Tony Blair’s official spokesperson said about the list: "A key aim has been to reward those who work and serve at the sharp end - people who have really changed things, or who have given outstanding service to others in difficult situations."

Some of the others honoured by the Queen include Lloyd Scott, given a Member of the British Empire for his numerous walks, treks and climbs for charity — but best remembered for completing the London Marathon while wearing a full divers suit.


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