Top three Scotiabank Vision Achievers share $7.5m

-Catering company, cosmetics manufacturer, and construction consultants top 25 participants for 2023

Kingston, Jamaica – September 15, 2023 -Surf & Turf Catering Consultants, Le Champ Cosmetics, and Ajawi Construction have emerged as the top three performers in the Scotiabank Vision Achiever Programme. The three companies were awarded for remarkable improvement in sales, growth in customer engagement, and increased efficiencies.

The toast of the awards ceremony hosted at the AC Hotel in Kingston on September 11 were Surf & Turf's Durren McLean; Shanique Ellington of Le Champ Cosmetics, and Andre Ajawi of Ajawi Construction. The trio was selected based on a range of criteria, including company growth during the period of observation, application of the training received in their business operations, as well as course attendance and participation.

McLean turned around the fortunes of Surf & Turf, registering a revenue increase of 105% during the four-month course and recording a 321% spike in profits year-on-year. He also boasts a new alliance with a United Kingdom-based Jamaican company which enables him to travel with his senior chefs for overseas-based catering jobs.

Le Champ Cosmetics recorded year-on-year increases in revenue and profit by 250% and 115%, respectively. During the Vision Achiever Programme, the company hired five additional employees, up from one, and expanded its social media outreach significantly, scoring 1.7 million impressions and a 439% jump in leads.

Ajawi reversed a loss-making bleed at his construction firm, increasing profit by 172%. The company overhauled its cash-flow dynamic by revising its payment schedules and streamlined its accounts. Like McLean, Ajawi also reported improved staff morale and engagement.

There was double delight for Ajawi and Ellington, as they won two other major awards on offer. Ajawi received the Transformation Award for its systemic overhaul which earned greater efficiency, slashing delivery throughput from three to six months to two to three months. Ellington was crowned the Top Female Entreprenuer for demonstrating resilience, passion, and determination in applying the newly learnt business principles to the operation of Le Champ Cosmetics.

Meanwhile, Pronamic Builders was a crowd favourite, winning the People's Choice Award by an overwhelming majority.

Each of the top performers received a plaque from Scotiabank, a $250,000 grant from the Development Bank of Jamaica, $200,000 for digital marketing from Trend Media; $200,000 in advertising from The Gleaner, and a $200,000 gift certificate from Ashley Furniture Home.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Kaysia Johnson-Vaughn, Director, SME Banking noted that the Vision Achiever Programme has now had a transformational impact on hundreds of businesses, enabling them to attain new heights.

She cited the evolution of manufacturer Bresheh from cottage industry outfit into an iconic Jamaican brand as emblematic of the programme's power and influence. Bresheh’ CEO Randy Makk -who was also guest speaker at the graduation-style ceremony is a former Scotiabank Vision Achiever.

"What the data shows is that small business is big business, with an impact, scale and reach that stretches well beyond the surface. While we praise our conglomerates and other large businesses that have thrived, it's MSMEs that have offered the greatest access to self-empowerment and actualisation for everyday Jamaicans and grass-roots businesses that have kept this country afloat," said Johnson-Vaughan.

The Scotiabank Vision Achiever Programme is an intensive, 17-week capacity-building initiative geared towards empowering small and medium-size companies to transform their systems and practices to become more profitable and resilient. This year, twenty-five companies benefited from the programme while vying for cash and prizes valued at $7.5 million financed by the bank and sponsors of the programme.

Scotiabank has long been committed to the growth and development of small and medium enterprises and has invested significantly in capacity-building and training initiatives for the segment. -