Busi­ness Award Win­ners Hope­ful for Thriv­ing Lo­cal Econ­omy

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Kayra Wil­liams

There was some­thing hope­ful in the air for lo­cal busi­ness with the host­ing of the Cham­ber of Com­merce's an­nual Busi­ness Awards last Satur­day. The event at­tracted lead­ers and the rank and file of the is­land's busi­ness com­mu­nity. Awards up for grabs at the red car­pet event held at the John­sons Cen­tre in­cluded: Ser­vice Ex­cel­lence, Youth En­tre­pre­neur of the Year, Goods Ex­porter of the Year, Ser­vice Ex­porter of the Year, Ex­cel­lence in Hu­man Re­source Devel­op­ment, Mar­ket­ing Ex­cel­lence, Cor­po­rate Lead­er­ship, Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity, Ex­cel­lence in En­ergy Con­ser­va­tion (Green Award), Idea of the Year, Busi­ness of the Year and the pres­ti­gious Life­time Achieve­ment award.

Af­ter cock­tails, photo ops, and quite a bit of el­bow rub­bing, guests were seated and then wel­comed by Cham­ber Pres­i­dent Martin Dorville. The evening's pro­ceed­ings moved quickly into the pre­sen­ta­tion of the first award for the night, Ser­vice Ex­cel­lence. The win­ner was eMagine So­lu­tions Inc.

Break­ing the flow of things for a mo­ment was Trop­i­cal Ship­ping mak­ing a spe­cial pre­sen­ta­tion of US$15,000 to the Youth Busi­ness Trust. The ball was back in mo­tion af­ter that, with the pre­sen­ta­tion of the Youth En­tre­pre­neur of the Year award, “an award near and dear to our hearts”. An elated Jo­hannes Du­jon ac­cepted it on be­half of Eco Caribbean. Du­jon thanked “the most high for plant­ing this idea into my spirit” but ac­knowl­edged he “couldn't haven't done it with­out the sup­port of part­ners UNDP, ECA, and the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture”. He thanked ev­ery­one, “es­pe­cially the farm­ers”, then ded­i­cated the award “to all the young dream­ers in Saint Lucia and the wider Caribbean”.

Next the Gen­eral Man­ager of Cool Breeze Jeep/Car Rental pre­sented the award for Goods Ex­porter of the Year. An easy choice: there was only one qual­i­fy­ing sub­mis­sion - SMJ Bev­er­ages St Lucia. Com­pany rep­re­sen­ta­tive Sam Augier thanked the Cham­ber for recog­nis­ing their ef­forts, and the var­i­ous gov­ern­ment min­istries that had pro­vided as­sis­tance along the way, plus other part­ners in the soft drink in­dus­try which he de­scribed as “re­ally a part­ner­ship thing”. Nom­i­nees for the Ser­vice Ex­porter of the Year award were FDL Con­sult­ing and eMagine so­lu­tions Inc. FDL Con­sult­ing emerged vic­to­ri­ous. Com­pet­ing against Au­to­mo­tive Art and Saint Lucia Dis­tillers, Wind­ward and Lee­ward Brew­ery Lim­ited would be the next win­ner of the night, in the cat­e­gory of Ex­cel­lence in Hu­man Re­source Devel­op­ment.

For the fourth time in five years, the Mar­ket­ing Ex­cel­lence Award went to Bay Gar­dens Re­sorts. Peter and Com­pany Dis­tri­bu­tion and Wave­maker Pho­tog­ra­phy had also been nom­i­nated in that cat­e­gory. High­light­ing how much mar­ket­ing had changed over the years, a Bay Gar­dens rep­re­sen­ta­tive said: “It's not just about big budgets, it's also about cap­tur­ing the at­ten­tion of dif­fer­ent tar­get au­di­ences. Peo­ple don't talk to brands, they talk to other peo­ple.”

A ‘LATE Air­line' skit by Stacy Gid­dens served as in­ter­mis­sion, dur­ing which the ac­tress paid trib­ute to Ja­maica Kin­caid's novel "My Brother". Af­ter­ward the award for Cor­po­rate Lead­er­ship went to a com­pany de­scribed as “vi­sion­ary, re­spon­si­ble and ag­gres­sive”: Wind­ward and Lee­ward Brew­ery, the only qual­i­fy­ing nom­i­na­tion in the cat­e­gory. Ac­cept­ing their sec­ond award for the evening, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Se­bas­tian Sanchez said: “This award is not for me, it is for the peo­ple of WLBL.”

With sus­tain­abil­ity at the heart of his thank you mes­sage, Sanchez spoke about how hard the com­pany had worked to turn things around in re­cent times. With 40 years of ex­is­tence in Saint Lucia, Sanchez com­mented, “Let's en­sure we can cel­e­brate an­other 40 years.”

Best in Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity went to Cool Breeze Jeep/Car Rental, com­pet­ing against 1st Na­tional Bank and Co­conut Bay Re­sort. In her ac­cep­tance re­marks, Andrea Faucher, the com­pany's Gen­eral Man­ager, thanked the com­pany's Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor and owner, Mr Stephen Abra­ham, who she de­scribed as the driv­ing force of the com­pany. “You in­spire us to do more,” she said. “Thank you to the staff who al­ways go above and beyond. Our busi­ness is not just to pro­vide car rental ser­vices but to help peo­ple the best we can.”

The pre­sen­ta­tion of the Green Award for Ex­cel­lence in En­ergy Con­ser­va­tion was next, and the win­ner was Green Haven Fresh Farms, an or­ganic in­te­grated farm. Just as Green Haven's rep­re­sen­ta­tive made his way off the stage af­ter col­lect­ing his award, he was called back for an­other, this time for Idea of the Year. The other nom­i­nee in that cat­e­gory was Bay Gar­dens Re­sorts with its is­land Wi-Fi ini­tia­tive.

Af­ter a short break for en­ter­tain­ment the next stop was the Prime Min­is­ter's Award for In­no­va­tion. Se­cur­ing its third award for the night, Green Haven Fresh Farms came out on top, com­pet­ing with Al­gas Or­gan­ics and J.E. Ber­gasse.

The cov­eted Life­time Achieve­ment Award pre­sented by mem­bers of the Cham­ber in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Office of the Prime Min­is­ter went to founders of Du Boulay's Bot­tling Com­pany Lim­ited: Dun­stan and Tony Du Boulay. An­nu­ally the award is pre­sented to a per­son who has demon­strated ded­i­ca­tion, per­se­ver­ance, re­silience and a high com­mit­ment to the devel­op­ment of Saint Lucia. At his turn at the podium Dun­stan Du Boulay shared: “Let me just say how deeply hon­oured Tony and my­self are for this award which we gra­ciously ac­cept with ut­most pride, joy and hu­mil­ity.”

In the words of the Life­time Achieve­ment win­ners, suc­cess was “no bed of roses” but they'd found a way to con­tin­u­ously rise above it all.

All the nom­i­nees for the night were el­i­gi­ble for the Busi­ness of the Year award but Green Haven Farms, eMagine So­lu­tions Inc, and the Wind­ward and Lee­ward Brew­ery were the ones who made it into the fi­nals. Af­ter much de­lib­er­a­tion the judges set­tled upon the night's big win­ner, Wind­ward and Lee­ward Brew­ery. Cap­ping off the event on a hope­ful note, the com­pany's rep­re­sen­ta­tive ex­pressed com­mit­ment to en­sur­ing the busi­ness stays alive, and con­tin­ues to grow with Saint Lucia in the com­ing years. That amid very chal­leng­ing times for lo­cal busi­nesses on the is­land!

Green Haven Fresh Farm rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jame­son Alphonse (left) col­lect­ing the Prime Min­is­ter’s Award for In­no­va­tion.

WLBL Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Se­bas­tian Sanchez re­ceiv­ing the award for Cor­po­rate Lead­er­ship.

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