Westgate is a turn-key interior solutions provider offering in-house manufacturing with a team of 110 dedicated professionals, and has been transforming corporate spaces for 35 years. Offering holistic design concepts, bespoke furniture, and tailored structures, Westgate enables a seamless end-to-end experience with customized service offerings. Founded by Dehara Gomes, the company today is run by her daughter Elisha Gomes.


As the second-generation leader of Westgate, Elisha has weathered significant storms during a short period. Her academic and athletic prowess has undoubtedly contributed to such levity amidst chaos. After completing her undergraduate degree with first-class honors from Manchester Business School in the UK, Elisha pursued a Master’s degree in Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Management at Imperial College, London, graduating with distinction. Alongside her academic achievements, she excelled as an athlete, representing Sri Lanka in synchronized swimming at prestigious events such as the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. Her lifelong exposure to creative expression through the family businesses, Westgate and Gandhara, and her years traveling the world have contributed to her passion for design. Through the trajectory of Westgate in the recent past, it is evident that Elisha is constantly looking for new ways to do things better.


The economic landscape of Sri Lanka has seen a gamut of challenges since April 2019; businesses across industries have struggled to adapt, and those who adapt have also seen bottom-line losses. Yet during this harsh atmosphere, Westgate has reached the other side while exceeding their own expectations. A major turning point for Elisha Gomes was managing an end-to-end interior design firm during the Covid-19 pandemic and facing a crippling economic crisis immediately after. Not many businesses can overcome such circumstances. However, as the acting CEO and a young woman in her twenties, Elisha focused on what was within her control and did everything possible to guide her team and mitigate daily trials. Availability of raw materials, both local and imported, were scarce. Social distancing caused unprecedented process changes, and workforce mobility was drastically restricted due to safety concerns or fuel concerns. For businesses that depend on production and projects, this can be debilitating. Westgate Headquarters was moved from Colombo 6 to their factory premises in Panadura, which streamlined operations and resulted in higher efficiency for both manufacturing and delivery. Location changes in the middle of a tumultuous environment have their own drawbacks, such as staff turnover and financial adjustments. Elisha made tough decisions early on in order to stay in business. This was a turning point that eventually resulted in a highly competitive, agile, and profitable firm. Westgate has won the South Asian Business Excellence Awards two consecutive years in a row; in 2022 and 2023. Securing the prestigious ‘Brand Excellence in Interior Designing and Furniture Manufacturing Award’. Today, Westgate is a billion-rupee company.


When looking for a glimpse of projects completed during the last 12 months, the Intervest, B Braun, and JICA (Japanese International Cooperation Agency) projects stand out as they showcase the cutting-edge innovation that Westgate is known for. All these companies align with the global cultural shift of transitioning into more transparent and open cultures. From a design front, this calls for creating more open spaces that remove divisions between teams and colleagues. Based on this line of thinking, Westgate opted for collaborative workspaces, spaces that support hybrid working and multi-functional spaces. Recreational space within the workspace was important, hence an aspect that was prioritized during the entire creative process. Westgate’s cutting-edge innovation and technology are on display across these projects, with some key highlights being through CNC technology. CNC stands for ‘Computer Numerical Control’ cutting; a design material that uses a computer-controlled cutting machine, and through this Westgate is able to create art and design elements on MDF. Clients could quite simply pick their child’s favourite art, and Westgate could convert that into a patterned wall cladding or soft separation. Elisha emphasizes that scale and precision are achieved through both technology and experience, and an automated factory set-up offers a solid foundation for experimentation. She says ‘samples, samples, samples’, as it is paramount for Westgate to stay ahead of the curve with innovation; followed by ‘it is only possible because of a conducive environment that allows innovation, and we really capitalize on it. We have achieved things we thought we could not do, and that too during the most challenging two years in the industry.’ Westgate often collaborates with other creative partners in the industry and thrives in bringing shared creative visions to life.


In an effort to understand the ‘Elisha touch’ in Westgate leadership, a multi-faceted thought process is uncovered. Honesty, resilience, and empowerment are the key building blocks of every Westgate project. In an industry ‘full of excuses’, Elisha and her team work around honesty and professionalism. She emphasizes this further by stating ‘we take projects knowing we have the capacity to deliver. We have declined when we aren’t in that position. These are all business opportunities, but we have a reputation in the industry that is maintained not only by me but our entire team.’ She believes resilience is as important as honesty because projects require continuous problem-solving skills. Westgate’s work with MNCs is fast-paced, demanding, and a benchmark for global standards. Elisha’s athletic accomplishments and the discipline that comes with it undoubtedly drive Westgate at present. She says ‘There is an inherent can-do attitude that I translate into work and my team’. Employees at Westgate are propped for growth, with ascension aspects highlighted across their career graphs. Elisha believes that her team is capable and able to make decisions, and empowers them to do so regularly.


Beyond the boardrooms and project sites, the legacy Elisha envisions leaving behind centers around the community. She believes in creating a learning center with a research and development hub. The vision is for the R&D hub to collaborate with universities, which would result in local innovation centered around local resources that would add to the design space in Sri Lanka. As the current CEO, Elisha is passionate about the holistic development of her workforce, which includes over 100 factory workers. She hopes to develop their practical and soft skills with an emphasis on community building.



A sneak peek of what’s in store for Westgate in 2025 revolves around technology, sustainability, and human resources. Having done unprecedented numbers in business, Westgate hopes to invest a large proportion of that into technology and product innovation. Corporate interiors include many inventory items, and if more is produced in-house, there is an opportunity to offer cost benefits and faster turnaround time for clients. Elisha is constantly looking to upgrade and work with more sustainable materials, which would also benefit businesses and their green goals in the future. Enhancement in design is something Westgate looks to achieve daily, but it will be a key factor for 2025. Many lessons were learned during the economic crisis. The toughest of times, costs, and environmental concerns have resulted in Westgate’s decision to focus on renewable energy and invest in Solar. This also aligns with operational efficiencies, so Elisha believes it is a ‘win-win’. Most importantly, she wants to build her team with the best talent in order to offer a seamless experience to everyone who chooses Westgate.

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