Three Barbadian businesses have been selected as the finalists in the Goddard Enterprises 100th Anniversary Entrepreneur Awards Competition.
BB’s Mushrooms, a company presently producing mushrooms for the local market; Med Regis, the developer of a user-oriented Electronic Health Record (EHR); and Mike’s Bajan Beverages, the producer of ‘fresh’ home made rum punch are the three finalists adjudged to go forward in the competition for another year.
These three will now receive a further BBD $25,000 to take them through this second year of the competition, at the end of which they will be judged again and one of them will be selected as the final winner of the three-year competition.
Started as a part of the Company’s 100th anniversary celebrations in 2021, the competition recognised and awarded ten entrepreneurs across the region in the first phase. They each won BBD $10,000, were given the services of two business mentors each, and were challenged to do even better. The ten had to submit a report which outlined what had transpired in the past year and their plans for the future. They were then examined by a panel of judges when these three rose to the top.
During the presentation, Chairman Charles Herbert explained that these three businesses had made significant progress in the past year, and he wished them all the best and hoped that they make further progress. He told them that he was thrilled that they stuck to the ‘game plan.’ “They have either increased sales significantly or made it to sales during the year. Their dream has traction” he added.
He further explained that “Mike’s Bajan Beverages had exceptional sales during the past year while BB’s Mushrooms are now selling and Med Regis has been able to secure a number of contracts and new sales during the year, and these are the main reasons why they have made it to the next step”.
On accepting his award Dale Trotman from Med Regis stated “As an entrepreneur, seeing the goals and objectives that we had come to fruition, and to see that we could win an award from a company like Goddard Enterprises who recognises your potential is truly heartening.” He then gave an insight into the plans for Med Regis in the next year. “We hope to bring on other clinics in Barbados and the region in St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago and we are looking to build on our relationship with Doxy.me and further push Telehealth throughout the region” he added.
Deborah Bishop, on accepting her award, explained that her mushroom farm had been a dream for a long time and getting it started was a really long process. “There was a long training process in finding the best way to do it.” She explained that she wanted to use products from Barbados and natural resources of the island and acquiring some of what they needed was hard.
However, looking forward she wants to have dried ground mushrooms which can be used in sauces by chefs to thicken soups and so on and she wants to prepare mushroom compost to sell which will be a rich soil amendment for lawns and gardens which is a by-product from mushroom growers who use the recycled products. To date, BB’s has had very positive reaction to the mushrooms in the supermarkets and the outlets at which they are sold. She added that they now have to try and meet the demand for the different colours and textures of mushrooms that they are producing.
Mike Thornton, the third finalist, also echoed the issues of supply and demand, because he now has to keep up with the demand for his Pirates Punch which is retailed in all the top supermarkets as well as at two duty- free stores at the airport.
In February, Thornton was able to have his first export order fulfilled which was shipped to England and picked up on social media. That led to more than 1000 enquires from people in Canada, the US and as far as Australia asking how they can get some of the product. Some people who purchased it in Barbados and gave it to friends were asking how they can get hold of some more of it. He has also received enquiries from a company in Florida which is trying to obtain some for use as gifts for customers.
He mentioned some of the challenges experienced in getting supplies like bottles and labels especially as he is embarking on entering the export market.
Group Chief Financial Officer, Natasha Small in applauding the finalists added that they were pleased to see the progress of these businesses and told them that GEL was proud to see where they had come in the last year.
Chairman Herbert added that he was happy that the company was able to fulfil the vision that GEL had to help an entrepreneur who started small like JN Goddard did over 100 years ago.