Today, as we celebrate our 24th anniversary as a Republic, the TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce takes pride in being a part of the journey. As a national organisation representing business, we have contributed to building the strong, stable and creative nation that stands today, despite current challenges.
The Champions of Business Awards, one of the chamber’s annual signature events aptly highlights the significant role of business in the fortunes of our country. Introduced 16 years ago under the name Business Hall of Fame, the awards programme is more relevant than ever as we strive to compete in a globalised world and demonstrate that TT stands tall as an independent republic.
The four categories are a reflection of the current marketplace: the role of entrepreneurship, technology as a growth enabler, and the importance of external market penetration, and recognition of lifetime achievement.
Entrepreneurship, including the SME sector, is a key developmental sector in every country – in some cases accounting for as high as 85 per cent of GDP. However enterprising operators are often challenged by the prevailing framework which seems to be risk-averse. TT needs to place a much stronger focus on building an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Looking at the entrepreneurship journey, the chamber two years ago added a new associate tier of membership, meant to capture aspiring businesspeople who are participating in recognised business incubator programmes. We also created the Business Insights series, providing “training for business by business”, and specifically supporting SMEs to allow them to learn from others who had made the trek. We hope through these and other initiatives, to provide support structures for a full ecosystem.
Business technology was introduced out of an understanding that more and more businesses are utilising technology to enhance operations and to fill a need in the market. We have seen the impact of technology on every facet and every size of business. Technology allows businesses to scale operations more quickly than using traditional approaches. It also creates a boundary-less market space, where the world is your consumer. We are certain this category will continue to expand and showcase the exciting way technology is transforming our local business landscape.
Very few companies survive if they are solely dependent on their home markets, and it is clear that the recipients of the Internationally Known...T&T Owned Company of the Year recognised this fact. For the recipients of this award, the right mix of entrepreneurship, innovation and astute investment in research and development have paid off with successful internationalisation.
Every business starts somewhere, and almost every giant of business was once an entrepreneur armed only with an idea and an unshakable determination to succeed. The stories of 36 inductees to the Business Hall of Fame are fascinating and run the gamut of the corporate world – they are all business people who have led from the front, built local empires and created intergenerational wealth. Several of these inductees have subsequently “given back” and been a part of events hosted by the Chamber where they unreservedly share their years of knowledge and experience to guide other businesses.
The Champions of Business Awards serves as a showcase and a reminder of the power of business to “do good”. Our business sector is a vehicle of wealth generation for the entire nation, providing jobs, paying taxes, supporting NGOs, establishing scholarships, mentoring, community activities and charitable projects. Our awardees all demonstrate that with the right mix of passion, ingenuity and creativity they can craft a unique business.
Look out on November 20 when we reveal the 2020 champions via a live TV broadcast and livestreaming.
The chamber takes this opportunity to wish all of TT a happy Republic Day 2020!
(Content courtesy the TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce)