Eight recently established small businesses have been selected for a major support programme sponsored by the National Baking Company under its ‘Bold Ones: New Champions of Manufacturing’ initiative.
The eight, which were announced at a press conference at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston Tuesday February 28, are: Belcour Preserves Limited; Debz Limited; Patwa Apparel; Pretti Slippery; No Brand Chemicals; Southside Distributors Limited; Sue Tru Caribbean Manufacturers and Distributors Limited; and Visionaires.
Under the initiative, the companies will benefit from necessary publicity and assistance to enhance their operations.
In her remarks at the event, Minister of State for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams, said the “Bold Ones” programme is in keeping with the government’s vision for manufacturing.
She said the programme can play a significant role in promoting the country’s manufacturing sector and improve productivity to enhance competitiveness in the domestic and export markets.
“The objective is to enable the manufacturing sector to make the transition to higher levels of productivity and value-added production. Our vision is for a dynamic, vibrant market, with high value-added, world-class products using appropriate technologies and links to other sectors, with motivated productive employees,” Mrs. Ffolkes Abrahams said.
She noted further that the programme can go a far way in promoting brand Jamaica, which is especially critical at this time, as the country seeks to increase exports, earn additional foreign exchange, create more employment and achieve greater levels of employment growth.
“Creative use of brand Jamaica offers local manufacturers the opportunity to position their products in higher value niche markets an advantage, which may help to compensate for small scale production,” Mrs. Ffolkes Abrahams said.
She commended the eight companies selected, noting that they represent the cornerstones of creativity, innovation and the seedbeds for entrepreneurship in the country.
“Through this programme they will help to spawn new ideas, provide a catalyst in the creation of new businesses and hence have a positive impact on employment, national prosperity and competitiveness,” Mrs. Ffolkes Abrahams said.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Continental Baking (National Baking) Company, Gary Hendrickson, said the eight companies chosen span five manufacturing sectors, namely: food, chemical, clothing, health and beauty and agro processing.
He said that the company will be investing more than $28 million “to help them cement their current advantages and to provide a helping hand to even greater successes with their companies."
Over the next six months, the companies will receive multi-media promotional packages, invaluable media exposure, and be hosted by the National Baking Company at its mega booth at the upcoming ‘EXPO Jamaica 2012’. In addition, their advertisements will be carried on the National Baking Company trucks over the next two years, giving them island-wide exposure.
The ‘Bold Ones: New Champions of Manufacturing’ initiative was launched in 2010 to highlight the contribution being made by recently established manufacturing companies to the Jamaican economy.
The on-going programme was born out of Mr. Hendrickson’s vision of encouraging Jamaican manufacturers to position themselves as world leaders, and his group’s commitment to motivating and supporting the country’s new entrepreneurs.
By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter