Hotel Chain Is ‘Business Of The Year’
BAY GARDENS RESORTS went home with the Business of the Year Award for the second consecutive year when the St. Lucia Business Awards was held at Sandals Grande Beach Resort & Spa last Saturday evening.
The hotel chain also won the Award for Marketing Excellence. The resort chain’s Financial Director, SanovnikDestang, told The VOICE that being an indigenous company that has to compete with some of the world’s best says a lot about the company’s ability to keep its winning streak.
“It really shows that your dreams can come true: that you can start from very humble beginnings and go far as a business and make a splash on the world stage,” Destang said. “It’s all credit to the staff, management team, family and board of directors who have all worked very hard to make this a success.”
Chairperson of the Business Awards Committee, Dr. Charmaine Gardner, told The VOICE the awards ceremony is all about excellence and sets the tone on how to do business. She added that the ceremony also shows the global business community “that we are proud of what we do and we need to recognize those who do what they do well in the private sector.” The overall objective that businesses need to achieve, she said, was to set high standards.
“Set a standard of excellence and integrity. Be someone who’s proud to be a businessperson whom other people coming up could emulate and look up to,” Dr. Gardner said.
Dr. Gardner said that while businesses need to be competitive to survive, ethical standards must also prevail. She commended the increasing level of innovation springing forth from young people especially, a trend she said should continue.
“We saw a couple years ago a young man, Jermile Daniel of The Cell, receiving the ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award’. He hadn’t been in business very long. So it’s important that we recognize these people,” Dr. Gardner explained.
As challenging as business gets, Dr. Gardner admitted, the shape of the awards scheme also needs to change in order to keep it attractive and competitive as well. As such, a number of ideas will be brought back to the Chamber’s boardroom for consideration shortly.
“I feel we have that after six years, we need to reflect on what’s the next step for this. We want to keep the hype and exuberance and make people want to be part of it. But you need to change how you do it sometimes,” Dr. Gardner said.
Brian Louisy, Executive Director of the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture, the organization that hosts the annual awards, echoed Dr. Gardner’s sentiments regarding the awards’ purpose. He told The VOICE a continuous review and assessment is in place to keep the momentum going. In a tough economy, he said, the private sector’s continued interest in the awards was welcoming. He added that many businesses are also capitalizing on opportunities created by the tough economic climate.
“This shows you the resilience and manner in which businesses operate. In a shrinking economy, some businesses can grow and increase their market share. Some businesses see the challenges as opportunities to provide solutions and alternatives. So despite it being a difficult economy, the pursuit of excellence continues to be a way of life,” Louisy said.
When asked how the Chamber was adjusting to the current business climate that sees many business doors close and others open, Louisy said the work of the Chamber continues despite the challenges presented.
“There’s never a dull moment. The issues change but the raison d’être to improve and make it easier to do business, improve the macro-economic environment and ensure there’s a society where people can live and do business in a positive manner continues,” Louisy said.
In his remarks, Chamber President, Gordon Charles said the adjudication panel saw “an impressive number of submissions across all 13 competitive categories.” However, he added, that in some cases entries did not meet the minimum standards required for consideration. Unfortunately, this left some categories severely under-represented.
Charles said the adjudication panel examined the standard, quality and content of all submissions and conducted face-to-face interviews with nominees where necessary. He said the panel’s assessment should serve as an overall message to all competitors that to be successful both the product and process must be of a high standard.
Chef AdilSherwani won two trophies last Saturday. Sherwani opened Spice of India in Rodney Bay in December 2010 and has since won many “Best Restaurant” accolades from Trip Advisor. Last Wednesday, he opened his second restaurant, Masala Bay, at CapellaMarigot Bay.
Sherwani credited his staff for demonstrating a high level of service that resulted in the restaurant winning the Award for Service Excellence. He said he was pleased that restaurants were finally being rewarded for their contributions to the private sector.
“I dedicate this ‘Entrepreneur of the Year Award’ to all the chefs who work hard and strive and dream about opening their own restaurant,” Sherwani told The VOICE. “This restaurant business is not only a sexy business but a sweaty business. So we will continue to push the boundaries and keep growing.”
Christopher Renwick, Managing Director of Renwick & Company Ltd., was honoured for his nearly 50 years of sterling contribution to the business sector, including his philanthropic work. In his thank-you speech, Renwick dedicated the award to the hard work from his team, family and the business’ customers.
Below is the full list of winners at this year’s St. Lucia Business Awards:
• Award for Service Excellence: Spice of India
• Award for Excellence in Human Resource Development: Consolidated Foods Ltd.
• Award for Marketing Excellence: Bay Gardens Resorts
• Green Award: FDL Pest Control Solutions
• Goods Exporter of the Year Award: Baron Foods Ltd.
• Service Exporter of the Year Award: FDL Consult Inc.
• Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Monetta Wilson (Sayana Yoga)
• Entrepreneur of the Year Award: AdilSherwani (Spice of India)
• Award for Corporate Social Responsibility: 1st National Bank
• Idea of the Year Award: Dale Elliot (Independent Film Company)
• Prime Minister’s Award for Innovation: West Technology Group
• Award for Corporate Leadership: Debra Tobierre (True Value)
• Business of the Year: Bay Gardens Resorts
Lifetime Achievement Award: Christopher Renwick (Renwick and Company Ltd.)