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Hendrickson urges Gov't to make conditions easier for local businesses

Published:Wednesday | February 29, 2012 | 2:00 AM
Chairman of Continental Baking Company Gary 'Butch' Hendrickson (centre), National Baking Company's Director of Operations Steven Sykes (right), and Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams (second left), state minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, join representatives of companies selected as the Bold Ones for 2012 in front of a trailer advertising Crayons Count. Crayons Count is an early-childhood education project endorsed by Hendrickson. Looking on are (from left): Denese Palmer of Southside Distributors; Heneka Watkis Porter of Patwa Apparel; Suzette Thomas of Sue Tru; Deika Morrison, founder of Crayons Count; Cinderella Anderson of Visionaires; Robin Lumsden of Belcour Preserves Ltd, and Dehand Kelly of Visionaires (partly hidden). - Rudolph Brown/Photographer

His plea was clear and unequivocal: "On behalf of the Jamaican manufacturing community, Minister, tear down these walls."

The impassioned plea came from Continental Baking Company Chairman Gary 'Butch' Hendrickson, during yesterday's launch of the National Bakery's Bold Ones 2012 at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.

Hendrickson was addressing guests at the function, including junior Industry Minister Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams.

"Tear down the walls of bureaucracy. Tear down the walls that are created by ridiculous regulatory processes that only serve to hamper us and make life extremely difficult," he continued.

Hendrickson said he understood the challenge of energy and input costs, but "we should not have to go through our own Jamaican civil service, with the problems that we face when we try to export, when we try to manufacture".

Need to restrict red tape

Ffolkes-Abrahams admitted she had seen the need for removing some of the red tape.

"We do give you our commitment to make sure that we strive towards a much more friendly, productive business environment," she said.

The Bold Ones programme first started in 2010. It highlights the contribution being made by recently established manufacturing companies to the Jamaican economy. Eight companies have been chosen this year. They were whittled down from a shortlist of 20. National Baking Company's Director of Operations Steven Sykes led the team entrusted with finding the companies, finding bright, courageous entrepreneurs who believe in Jamaica. Hendrickson lauded their determination to make a meaningful impact on Jamaica as well. He encouraged them to be "super competitive" because "the days of protectionism are gone".

"We can't borrow our way out of our problems. We have to produce our way out. We have to look after us. We are not going to get the aid that we are accustomed to. The nations that used to help us don't have the resources or the inclination to go any further," said Hendrickson.

"Get emotional about your country, you have to feel it, you have to want it," he told them.

Responding for the Bold Ones, Patwa Apparel's Heneka Watkis Porter thanked National Bakery for choosing them.

"The onus is now on us champions to make the most of this opportunity. We pledge that we will do all possible to take full advantage to ensure that we experience the limitless possibilities that may arise from this programme," she said. "We know that we'll be able to play a vital role in the development of Jamaica, land we love, while contributing in a meaningful way to the country's GDP."

Motivating entrepreneurs

The Bold Ones programme was born out of Hendrickson's vision of encouraging Jamaican manufacturers to position themselves as world leaders, and his group's commitment to motivating and supporting our new entrepreneurs. This year's companies span five sectors - the agro, food, garment, chemical manufacturing and health/beauty industries. Among the criteria to qualify, companies must be less than seven years old, employ at least five people, and use indigenous resources.

The programme lasts for six months. The Bold Ones will be showcased on the sides of National Bakery's bread trucks that travel islandwide. Feature stories in the press and video documentaries on all the companies will be done, showing their day-to-day operations and the dedication and hard work that go into building a successful manufacturing business. The programme will culminate with the eight Bold Ones showcasing their products in the Bold Ones Pavilion at Expo Jamaica 2012, hosted by the baking company.

The eight companies chosen this year are Belcour Preserves Ltd, Debz Ltd, No Brand Chemicals, Patwa Apparel, Pretti Slippery, Southside Distributors Ltd, Sue Tru Caribbean Manufacturers and Distributors Ltd, and Visionaires.