Junior market firms focus of Observer Business Leader Awards

Junior market firms focus of Observer Business Leader Awards

BY STEVEN JACKSON Business reporter jacksons@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, October 16, 2014

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THE Jamaica Observer yesterday launched the Business Leader Awards 2013 and announced that it will recognise entrepreneurs whose firms were listed on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE).

Starting next week, readers will learn about the eight entrepreneurs nominated for the prestigious award through stories published in the Observer.

"We believe that listing is good and creates transparency in corporate affairs. Listing also allows a lot of Jamaicans to participate at the ownership level of the company. It allows companies to raise funds, and by raising funds they can expand and employ more Jamaicans," Moses Jackson, event chair, told guests attending the launch at the Observer's Beechwood Avenue Kingston headquarters.

Currently, 24 companies are listed on the Junior Market which was launched in April 2009. It allows investors to raise up to $500 million from listing, along with receiving a 10-year tax break. The first five years entitles these companies to full income tax exemption, with the subsequent years at half the going rate.

Business magnate Lascelles Chin, chairman of the three affiliated Lasco companies listed on the Junior Market, remains ineligible as he won the Business Leader Award in 2000.

Jackson told sponsors and journalists that this year's theme also aims to inspire other entrepreneurs to list on the JSE.

"We want to excite the imagination of lots of Jamaicans. We hope that the awards will create positive reviews and attention to the JSE so that those who are on the sidelines may reconsider and jump in," Jackson added.

The Business Leader Awards has nominated more than 100 individuals and businesses since its inception in 1996. Adam Stewart, deputy chairman and chief executive officer of the Observer, said that the awards promote positivity within a world of conflict.

"The Business Leader Awards is unquestionable in its concept and mission to carry the goodwill and the positive [values] of Jamaica. It is the one time of year that we can truly say that the private sector and public sector come together and everybody joins hands," stated Stewart.

The awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, December 7, with the formal presentation beginning at 6:00 pm following a cocktail reception starting at 4:30 pm.

It is the first time that publicly listed entities will be formally honoured by the Business Leader programme, now in its 18th staging.

Sponsors include Digicel Business, J Wray & Nephew Limited, Jamaica Yellow Pages and Bank of Nova Scotia Jamaica.

Digicel Business Senior Corporate Relations Manager Trisha Williams Singh commended the yet-to-be-named nominees for their ability to thrive.

"We understand the challenges faced by business of all sizes to survive and stay competitive in today's economy," Williams Singh said. "We are celebrating the best of the best... with these awards."

Gary Dixon, head of marketing at J Wray & Nephew, agreed, saying that "it's not easy" to grow businesses "in this economy".

According to Jamaica Yellow Pages Marketing Manager Tshani Jaja, the awards will inspire not only adults but youth to enter business.

Monique Todd, vice-president marketing public and corporate affairs at Bank of Nova Scotia, said that the awards allow corporate Jamaica to "focus on the positives" within the society.

The awards selection committee includes Professor Neville Ying of the Mona School of Business and Management; Ian Neita of the ATL Group, the parent company of Jamaica Observer Ltd; Fred Smith, principal of Tropical Tours and former nominee; Audrey Marks, founder of Paymaster Jamaica Ltd; Audrey Hinchcliffe, CEO of Manpower & Maintenance Services Ltd; Gassan Azan, CEO of Megamart; and Charles Ross, principal at Sterling Asset Management Ltd.

Previous winners include: Joseph A Matalon and Joseph M Matalon of Mechala Group, 1996; Douglas Orane, executive chairman of GraceKennedy, 1997; Wayne Chen, chief executive officer, SuperPlus Food Stores, 1998; David Phillips, principal, National Meats & Foods Distributors, 1999; Lascelles Chin, principal, Lasco Group, 2000; Donna Duncan-Scott, managing director, Jamaica Money Market Brokers, 2001; Vincent Chang, principal, Tastee Ltd, 2002; Patrick Casserly, CEO, e-Services Group, 2003; Kenny Benjamin, principal, Guardsman Group, 2004; Ryland Campbell, executive chairman and principal shareholder of Capital & Credit Financial Group, 2005; Dr Henry Lowe, executive chairman of Blue Cross and conceptualiser of Eden Gardens, 2006; Glen Christian, executive chairman of Cari-Med Limited, 2007; the Melville Family, owners and operators of Tropical Battery/Chukka Caribbean Adventures, 2008; Denis O'Brien, founder and chairman of Digicel, 2009; Lowell Hawthorne, co-founder and CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill, 2010; the Hendrickson family of companies and GraceKennedy Ltd 2011; and Heart Trust/NTA in 2012.

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