T&T Chamber Champions of Business True Stories
Champions of Business Awards Finale – “A Virtual Gala Event”!
The prestigious Champions of Business Awards catered to over 500 persons who attended a live networking event.
Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the T&T Chamber has had to pivot and go virtual. We will now be engaging with over 250,000 local viewers with the new format which will take the form of a televised broadcast and online live streams, allowing Trinidad and Tobago, as well as an international audience, to participate and revel in the success of these individuals and companies. The T&T chamber is proud to be the first local business association to present a business sector gala in this format with a reach that extends to the world stage.
This year a new show concept was added titled, “T&T Chamber’s Champions of Business True Stories” which featured award categories and profiled amazing stories from the business community. Partner sponsors had the opportunity to showcase the pride of our nation whose stories are inspiring and monumental.
During these episodes the Internationally Known T&T Owned Awardee and Business Hall of Fame Inductee will be announced. We will also reveal the finalists in the Business Technology and Emerging Entrepreneur Categories.
On November 20th at the Champions of Business Awards Finale – A Virtual Gala Event, the winners of the Business Technology and Emerging Entrepreneur Category will be revealed. The coveted SME Pivot Awardee will also be revealed at this time.
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.
INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN T&T OWNED COMPANY OF THE YEAR
INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN T&T OWNED COMPANY OF THE YEAR – sponsored by Eximbank Trinidad and Tobago Limited, (PLATINUM SPONSOR)
Ramps Logistics Limited is one of the region’s leading logistics providers. Formed in 1985 by Ramnarine Rampersad as a customs brokerage provider, it began offering freight forwarding services by 2000. In 2013, now providing these services to several large downstream energy companies locally, Ramps made a major decision to expand within the region. Guyana was identified due to its growth potential for trade and logistics. At that time Guyana’s energy sector had not yet been identified, but being in Guyana worked positively for Ramps when they secured a contract for logistics and shorebase management with ExxonMobil, who was preparing for exploratory drilling (which proved to be hugely successful).
Subsequently, the company won a tender to provide integrated logistics to ExxonMobil, going up against international providers who typically would subcontract after securing a tender. Ramps later captured contracts from other major energy giants such as Schlumberger and Halliburton, among others. In 2017, having entered the Suriname market, it secured a contract from Tullow for an offshore well in Suriname. Ramps Logistics also has operations in Mexico and will soon be engaging the Colombian market. Ramps has set its sights on continuing to expand beyond the region and given their careful strategic planning, success is sure to follow this home-grown company.
THE BUSINESS HALL OF FAME
THE BUSINESS HALL OF FAME – sponsored by Guardian Life of The Caribbean Limited, (PLATINUM SPONSOR)
Norman Sabga took control of ANSA McAL as Group Chairman in 1999. He transformed the Group’s approach to remain relevant and competitive, while delivering exceptional returns to investors. As a leader, he placed emphasis on innovation and new business models while remaining true to an intuitive approach to business. The ANSA McAL Group’s portfolio of businesses includes the construction, media, manufacturing and distribution sectors. In 2013, the Group crossed the Billion Dollar PTB threshold. His vision for the company has embraced sustainability and profitability. The Group’s strategy of acquisition and expansion, which he piloted, still prevails. Today, the ANSA McAL Group operates in St. Kitts, Grenada, Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and the United States, and has been an exporter of lager to Cuba since 2018.
As Patron of the ANSA McAL Foundation, he is committed to projects that serve the country and the region. Support is afforded to several non-profit and charitable bodies across social services, women, culture heritage and academia. Perhaps the best example to demonstrate his commitment to country in the public domain was the acquisition of the Order of Trinidad and Tobago from e-bay at a cost of USD 25,000.
Mr. Sabga will join the ranks of 35 other iconic businesspeople in the T&T Chamber’s Business Hall of Fame who have been inducted since 2005.
BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY AWARD
BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY AWARD – sponsored by bmobile, (PLATINUM SPONSOR)
Excellent Stores Limited (Alex Siu Chong): Excellent Stores, a well-known retailer went through several changes since its inception in 1958 as Excellent Trading and re-branded to Excellent Stores in 1988. Anticipating the need for integrated systems and new technology, the company implemented a full ERP system in 2015 and integrated its e-commerce platform that was launched in 2014.
During the current period, the company was driven to rapidly adjust to an e-commerce environment as during the lockdown the number of products online went from 8000 to 15,000 with 100% of the company’s revenue was being derived from online sales, as compared to a mere 1% pre-COVID-19. The change involved all staff in all departments – from Operations to Marketing to IT. Branch staff were “repurposed” to fill orders from branches which had become unofficial warehouses for stock. Warehouse distribution operations shifted from a focus on replenishing physical stores to deliveries to online customers.
It is anticipated that the trend to e-commerce will continue to escalate, and Excellent Stores is banking on its investment in technology to survive and thrive in the months and years ahead.
PrinTree Powered by the DocuCentre (Nekesha Bartholomew-Ramey): PrinTree is a platform for sourcing, selecting and outputting a client’s print needs from a remote location anywhere on any day; it is a “one-stop online shop for personalisation of print collateral”.
PrinTree Powered by the DocuCentre, the platform was launched in May 2018, the implementation of these services was new to the T&T market. It is available to anyone with an internet connection. Understanding the culture of the T&T market, PrinTree invested heavily in human resources to manage its website traffic and customer interaction. A live chat along with more traditional methods ensured that there was consistent and timely communications with clients. A variety of payment options allowed them to tap into the broader market, including online payment, wire transfer and instore cash on delivery. To make life easier for the client, they partnered with TTPost and FedEx for delivery services. They also partnered with local store owners at various points across the country to serve as collection points as a no-cost delivery option. PrinTree recently won “Best Online Print Service” in LATAM and will be making the official announcement by the close of the year.
ShupHub.com (Roanna Maharaj): ShupHub is an online e-commerce platform that is fully customisable to vendor and product requirements. The platform allows for retail and wholesale functionality. Its technology enables vendors to e-commerce their products within minutes while being in full control. They are able to have their e-commerce store for free without monthly or annual fees.
ShupHub has an online credit card payment system as well as through PayPal for both local and international clients. They also accept debit and cash payments for domestic deliveries. They implemented an automated delivery system via UPS and have also integrated with DHL for worldwide shipping. Most recently, a mobile app was developed, which was launched at the end of October, 2020.
All of these developments have one major target in mind – to enhance the experience of shopping for customers. Currently, the global pandemic has significantly increased, and will forever change the face of online shopping. Since its launch in 2018, ShupHub has been on a steady growth path, and has more than doubled its annual revenue.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARDS: EMERGING ENTREPRENEUR
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARDS: EMERGING ENTREPRENEUR – sponsored by The Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation, (PLATINUM SPONSOR)
Chaguaramas Farms Limited t/a U-pick Farm: Chaguaramas Farms is a farm, restaurant and wholesale/retail market which was relaunched in February 2019 with the simultaneous opening of a farm-to-table restaurant concept.
Their goal is to revolutionise the way we eat in Trinidad and Tobago. The restaurant serves a variety of fresh and healthy whole food, coffee, smoothies and juices. Believing “you are what you eat”, their menu promotes use of the highest quality ingredients and the movement for more local, fresh and organic food in T&T.
As an advocate for local food production, they deal directly with farmers and practice fair trade principles while encouraging more responsible farming practices. All excess harvested produce is donated to the Emperor Valley Zoo and Chaguaramas Petting Zoo/ Safari Eco Park and they contribute produce to Joy of Giving, which is a “serve all” initiative that distributes hot meals to the homeless daily.
Immortelle Beauty: Immortelle Beauty is a Caribbean cosmetic company founded in 2010 by Kathryn Nurse, with the aim of creating “Little Local Luxuries”. The company’s range of products includes cosmetics, bath and body and home fragrances.
The company prides itself on its quality, presentation of its products and overall customer service. Several customers have vouched that the products and services are on par with top international brands and what is offered at high-end spas abroad.
The image of Caribbean luxury and lifestyle is reflected in its packaging and website. Local consumers benefit from having luxury items that are readily accessible at affordable prices. In addition to having a retail outlet at the Hotel Normandie, the products may be ordered online and delivered to clients. For this ambitious entrepreneur, upward is the only way to go.
Planting Seeds Digital Marketplace: The Planting Seeds Mission is “To provide a platform for entrepreneurship development in the Caribbean that educates and inspires individuals to innovate and exercise their full potential”. In March 2020 when the environment changed they recognised the need to support entrepreneurs in a new way. They created the Digital Marketplace which provides the opportunity for entrepreneurs to sell products online.
They Planting Seeds brand was leveraged to help promote the Marketplace as a key online resource for shopping, which currently includes over 250 stores and over 3000 products. While they are primarily focused on locally produced goods, a number of other companies have also seized the opportunity to promote their products via the Marketplace. They are currently in the process of rolling out their service in other Caribbean islands. One of the primary reasons for the selection of this company as a finalist was the platform interface.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARDS: INAUGURAL SME PIVOT AWARD
INAUGURAL SME PIVOT AWARD – sponsored by The Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation, (PLATINUM SPONSOR)
Inaugural SME Pivot Awardee
Peche Patisserie: belonged to the hospitality industry, which was first hit by the general decline, like in most economies, in most countries and compounded by the Covid 19 pandemic.
On January 2nd, of this year Peche closed its restaurant to focus and transform into a commercial bakery and launched its food service line of condiments and sauces, thinking at that time that the restaurant closure would be temporary.
However, with the initial lock-down, it was decided to accelerate the transition of Peche to a model whereby customers can still enjoy their creations, by implementing various other methods of accommodating their needs.
Peche sought to weather the storm by being true to its mission: To consistently be inspired to create a variety of the best products possible, continually developing new products, and devising innovative ways of reaching and satisfying their customers.
The labels for the bottled products bear the name Peche and the Sourdough is under REAL BREAD.
The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce thanks all sponsors of the 2020 Champions of Business Awards; T&T Chamber’s Champions of Business True Stories and The Virtual Gala Event: