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Eight SMEs selected for Bold Ones programme

Published:Thursday | January 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Chairman and CEO of Continental Baking Company Limited, Gary 'Butch' Hendrickson (left), is with president of the Jamica Manufacturers' Association, Brian Pengelley, and president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, Christopher Zacca (right) at the official launch of the Bold Ones 2014 assistance programme for SMEs, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Tuesday, January 14. - Ian Allen/Staff Photographer

Eight new small and medium-sized companies which manufacture products from local raw materials were selected for assistance with marketing of their businesses under the 2014 Bold Ones programme run by Continental Baking Company Limited, the operators of National Bakery.

The companies selected will receive support with marketing, advertising and publicity, and they will be advertised on Continental's fleet of trucks over 24 months.

Total spent on the project to date, Continental said Tuesday, is $90 million.

This year's Bold Ones recipients are: D'NexStep Sandals and Accessories; Ecofarms, manufacturers of Buzz Honey wines and Honey Stix confectioneries; Irie Rock, manufacturers of beauty and skin care products; Lifespan Limited, bottlers of high alkaline spring water; Spring Vale Enterprises, makers of natural fruit flavoured salad dressings; Lincoln Gordon and Sons, makers of Lincoln's line of jerk sauces and condiments; Bartleys All Wood, makers of wooden jewellery and other items; and Journey's End Wine Company, makers of Ackee Wine and other wines.

To qualify for Bold Ones, the companies should be no more than seven years old, employ at least five persons, and use indigenous materials to manufacture quality products. This year's recipients were also tax compliant.

Explaining his reasons for starting the programme, which includes mentoring for the small companies, Continental chairman and CEO, Gary 'Butch' Hendrickson, said Tuesday: "I always thought that the one thing young businesses could not afford was marketing; (while) the one thing young businesses need is marketing."

Michelle Smith, CEO of Chocolate Dreams, whose company received the award in 2010, commented that "For small businesses such as ours, it was a golden opportunity to launch our business to the next level."

NEW EXPORTS FOR 2014

Smith said Chocolate Dreams had expanded locally with new distribution outlets, and had also made its first shipment abroad to Antigua. The company, she said, would be targeting new export markets for 2014.

Dennis Hawkins, managing director of Spur Tree Spices Jamaica Limited, stated that marketing support from Continental gave his company "desperately needed encouragement to continue manufacturing despite all the difficulties".

Hawkins said since receiving marketing support under the Bold Ones programme Spur Tree has "more than doubled sales since 2010, and export sales now represent more than 70 per cent of our business. This year we will be targeting market expansion and increased product offers."

Spur Tree recently entered the Canadian market, he said.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com