The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce (T&T Chamber) hosted its final signature event for the year – Champions of Business Awards Ceremony & Cocktail Reception – on November 15, 2019 at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA). Each year, Champions of Business is attended loyally by business owners, C-Suite executives and other A-listers. It is also seeing a steadily increasing presence of SMEs and entrepreneurs.
CHAMPIONS OF BUSINESS IS THE PLACE TO BE:
If you are serious about growing your business this is undoubtedly THE business networking event of the season to connect with the right people.
There have been many stories about small business owners and start-ups in attendance having their first meaningful conversation with the heads of companies or key decision-makers at Champions of Business events. These initial contacts have led to deeper relationships being formed that have helped to catapult many towards realising their business visions faster and better. You might just find an investor, a new partner, a solutions provider or a professional friend for life. This is where you need to be!
In the words of Dr. Ivan Misner, founder of Business Networking International (BNI), “If you are not networking, you are not working”.
ABOUT THE AWARDS :
The Champions of Business (CoB) Awards recognises excellence in business. Both individuals and corporations are acknowledged for their achievements and contribution to nation-building, for inspiring leadership and building legacy companies.
The Award programme was originally established in 2005, and was then called the Business Hall of Fame. The growing popularity of the event led the T&T Chamber to seek out opportunities to recognise business enterprise at various stages. In 2014, new categories for entrepreneurship and export were introduced, while the category of business technology was added in 2018.
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™
This is one of the most exciting categories where groups of extraordinary entrepreneurs are recognised for their tenacity and spirit towards becoming extraordinary business owners. Each year EY conveys their stories and journeys in a compelling and emotive way through written and video profiles. These awards are directly linked to EY’s global Entrepreneur of the Year™ awards.
This year, profiles also covered the people and events that inspired the creation of their companies and how these important connections helped them get to the point of success that they have achieved today.
Two awards were presented in this category: Start-up Entrepreneur and Emerging Entrepreneur. This year’s winners and finalists are listed below:
EY Entrepreneur of Year™ – Start Up
Cocoa Republic Limited is a chocolate manufacturing company. It uses high quality Trinitario cocoa grown in Trinidad as its foundation. Christopher Boodoosingh founded Cocoa Republic with one vision – to be the best chocolate maker in the world. The company has three bars on the market which are available at retail stores and online, including on Amazon. Its latest products include , a vegan milk chocolate bar , Hazelo – a vegan substitute for Nutella made with Trinitario cocoa and a Vegan Ice Cream made from cocoa beans. The company provides chocolate to a high-end distributor that supplies many Michelin Star restaurants in New York city. The company also secured an exclusive supply contract with a producer in Germany which will provide opportunities to export to other European markets. Cocoa Republic has won several awards for its products.
Start-Up Entrepreneur Finalists 2019
- Sophia Stone and Stacy Seeterram, Co-Founders – Caribbean Cure Limited – Caribbean Cure Limited is a female-owned tea manufacturing company that focuses on loose leaf teas. Sophia Stone and Stacy Seeterram wanted to create not only healthy but delicious and functional teas. No additives or chemical fragrances are used in the company’s teas. Caribbean Cure has five blends of loose-leaf teas on the local market. The company recently entered into a joint venture with a company in Japan to launch Caribbean Cure in the Asian market. It is also finalizing two co-packing partnerships which would result in the teas being manufactured in Europe and North America, with raw materials from the Caribbean. Caribbean Cure has won several awards for its products
- Faariah Khan and Kevin Singh, Co-Founders – Green Age Farms Limited – Green Age Farms Limited (GAF) designs and supplies fully automated hydroponic systems. The company also provides training in the installation and operation of these systems as well as one-on-one after sales service. Faariah Khan and Kevin Singh started the company to promote and provide a sustainable and resource efficient method of non-traditional agriculture in Trinidad and Tobago. GAF offers solutions for both commercial and personal use, striving to use professionally manufactured, high quality components. The company is the exclusive local distributors for the Mr. Stacky Vertical systems and Springpots Fabric Grow Bags which are used in the systems sold by GAF.
- Matthew Moses and Andrew Laquis, Co-Founders – Shyft Investments Limited – Shyft Investments Limited is a technology company that owns and manages an insurance comparison and placement website (Shyft.tt). The website allows customers to instantly compare and obtain quotes for motor insurance from multiple insurers as well as purchase their policy online. Matthew Moses and Andrew Laquis could not understand why buying insurance was such a tedious process. So, they set out to change the narrative by focusing on the customer. Shyft.tt provides comparative features, explanations and customer reviews to facilitate better financial decisions about buying motor insurance.
EY Entrepreneur of Year™ – Emerging
Precision Global Music Limited is a music production company. Kasey Phillips started his career as a sound engineer and music producer but soon realized he wanted to be more than a producer. After an internship in the United States, Kasey returned and introduced the ‘international songwriter model’ into his business. Precision then moved from only producing music for artists to owning the music they produced. This was a game changer. Today, the company’s resume reads as a who’s who in the local, regional, and international musical arenas. From Grammy award winners to celebrated regional artists, to R&B superstars, the company’s experience spans the Caribbean and United States. In addition, Precision has won several prestigious local, regional, and international awards
Emerging Entrepreneur Finalists 2019
- Hesma Tyson, Founder/Managing Director – Caribbean Specialty Foods Co. Limited – Caribbean Specialty Foods Co. Limited manufactures hot sauces, dips and seasoning. The company’s products are marketed under the registered brand CariBelle Foods. After becoming a vegetarian, Hesma Tyson was motivated to produce natural products. Caribbean Specialty has nine products on the local market – its hot sauce flavours include: Rum Flavoured, Tamarind, Mango, Ooh La and Celery. The company’s dips include: Tamarind and Mango, Lime and Mango, Tomato and Cilantro. The Exotic Seasoning boasts of ten herbs. All products are without artificial colours, preservatives or flavours.
- Stefan Grosberg, Founder/Managing Director – Del Mano Food Limited – Del Mano Food Limited manufactures a range of high quality sausages. Stefan Grosberg, always had a passion for food, especially meat. The company began making pesto and then moved into sausage production. Stefan wanted to offer a healthier option – sausage that was handcrafted with premium cuts of meat. With an arsenal of fresh herbs sourced from local farmers and unique blends, Del Mano offers a range of sausages made from pork, beef, lamb, chicken and goat. The company is embarking on the next phase of development which would involve construction of a new factory fit for export, increased local distribution and product re-branding.
- Jennifer Ramoutar-Goberdhan, Founder – Jennifer Goberdhan Signature Weddings – Jennifer Goberdhan Signature Weddings is a full-service wedding planning, design and production company. The company services national as well as international inbound destination wedding clients. It provides design and full production, florals, wedding coordination and bridal and engagement photo shoots. The company also offers courses in floral design, advanced tablescapes, wedding business seminars, Christmas workshops and bridal bouquets. After a successful teaching career spanning 30 years, Jennifer felt it was time to pursue her passion. She has worked with icons in the wedding design and planning industry over the years. Jennifer Goberdhan Signature Weddings has been featured in multiple international publications and blogs and Jennifer has received several accolades internationally for her work since the official launch of her business.
BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY – sponsored by bmobile, PLATINUM SPONSOR
The role of technology in modern business is indisputable. A large percentage of new businesses entering the market each year are now either technology-based or heavily technology-supported. The T&T Chamber joins the dots between enterprise and technology through this award category that recognises exceptional companies/individuals whose business concepts or business solutions exemplify innovation and uniqueness, transforming or disrupting their industry in a significant way. Three finalists re identified and one selected to receive the award and a customized business support package to the value of TT$10,000 from b-mobile. These were
Business Technology Award recipient
This is the Caribbean’s first completely web-based credit institution, offering loans and financial wellness training to employees or reputable organisations across Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and St. Lucia. Whilst the company is registered in various markets, all loan processing and customer service is handled by the Trinidad-based lending team, solely through digital channels.
Business Technology finalists 2019
Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL). CAL is utilised technology as the medium to deliver their new customer experience strategy which includes an improved website, a mobile application, content delivery in-flight and payment portals.
Vibrant Technologies Limited. This company offers a unique and local brand of ICT Project Management and Integrated ICT Services to several corporate clients throughout the region and even in North America. It offers solutions that ensures the fastest possible delivery and ROI.
Internationally Known…T&T Owned Company of the Year – sponsored by First Citizens, (PLATINUM SPONSOR)
One company is officially recognised for its achievements in taking incredible steps to move their business from a local operation to an international player. The company’s journey is chronicled and presented through video story-telling, thus inspiring others to reach further and higher. The invaluable connections that were forged along the way, whether people, companies or other types of organisations that helped them grow into global brands were also noted.
The award for the 2019 Internationally Known…T&T Owned Company of the Year was conferred upon
Associated Brands Industries Limited (ABIL). ABIL is a family owned business which was established in 1974. The company is a manufacturer and distributor of snack foods, chocolate confectionery, biscuits and breakfast cereals in the Caribbean. Over the years ABIL has built up an extensive portfolio of brands, including a range of about 216 stock keeping unit (sku’s). Some of the recognised brand names under the ABIL umbrella include Sunshine Snacks, Charles Candy, Devon Biscuits and Universal Cereals.
In addition to manufacturing for the local and regional markets, ABIL also distributes a range of imported products. These products, which includes additional confectionery products, were introduced to complement the company’s existing product lines. ABIL’s manufacturing facilities are all located in Trinidad with an extensive range of distribution outlets maintaining a presence in Jamaica, Barbados and St. Lucia. The company currently distributes its products to over 20 countries worldwide, reaching as far as Taiwan and Ireland. The company has been expanding progressively over the years as it continues to build on its production lines.
The company also engages in various corporate social responsibility initiatives, such as recycling of its raw material packaging, completion of several projects jointly with United Way and donations towards various community projects.
THE BUSINESS HALL OF FAME , sponsored by Guardian Life of The Caribbean Limited, PLATINUM SPONSOR
- Osmand “Ossie” Hale was perhaps best known for his unstinting service to Hand Arnold (Trinidad) Limited, which he joined in 1946 and remained until his retirement in 1984, and thereafter as Chairman until his death in 1994. He also held leadership roles in organisations like the T&T Chamber the Jaycees Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago and British American Insurance Company.
- Sieunarine Coosal was recruited by his older brother Ajodha to assist him with quarrying operations at age 16. From this basic starting point, Sieunarine rose to eventually lead this company. Facing many adversities in his life, including bankruptcy and receivership his tenacity and drive ensured that he rose each time to overcome them.
These persons exemplified business excellence – in commercial prowess, leadership and in national-social responsibility.
At the ceremony we will narrated their stories, showing the paths they took to reach the heights of success they achieved, both professionally and personally. This inspirational journey is always an emotional one by virtue of the number of people, companies and organisations that these Hall of Famers have touched and connected with meaningfully with over their careers and lives.
They have joined the ranks of 33 other outstanding persons already inducted into the T&T Chamber’s Business Hall of Fame, since inception in 2005.
The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce thanks all sponsors of the 2019 Champions of Business Awards and Business Networking event:- Platinum: Guardian Life of The Caribbean Limited, First Citizens, EY and bmobile; Gold: Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation; Bronze: Southern Sales and Service Company Limited and The Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange Limited; and Media partners: One Caribbean Media Limited and Music Radio 97.1 FM.