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BARBADOS - Ezine - Caribbean Development Bank

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Banks Holdings Limited Richard Cozier

Reproduced compliments of the Barbados Advocate

Web Posted - Wed Jun 08 2005
THE Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) hosted its 11th seminar, on 'How firms from small developing countries become globally competitive' at its Wildey headquarters yesterday.
The seminar featured three prominent executives from leading companies across the region, who gave detailed descriptions about their companies, global challenges and outlook for the future.

The three panellists were Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Banks Holdings Limited (BHL), Founder, Chief Executive Officer Sacha Cosmetics Kama Maharaj and Senior General Manager, Food Trade (International ) Grace Kennedy & Company Ltd., Gregory Solomon.

Solomon who started off the proceedings, outlined todays Caribbean reality, which he says is defined by the regions susceptibility to natural disasters, weak capital markets, limited innovation and a limited understanding of the target market.

He told the audience that small companies should focus on business drivers such as satisfying the unmet needs of the consumer which is a major part of their core strategy of Grace Kennedy.

The senior general manager also highlighted a number of initiatives implemented by the company to counteract these challenges, particularly through innovation in their market research and formulating a greater understanding of the industry.

Solomon also stressed that any companys human resource is the single most important factor to the success of the company in the global market.

Our people are our greatest asset, because that is where the knowledge, of where to go, who to go to and when to go it is all in our people. [In] my experience there is a direct correlation between the quality of the people on the ground and the results, there is a one to one relationship. If you do not get someone that does not understand the industry, you are not going to get good results, he cautioned.

Cozier of BHL noted that his company is facing the same challenges as most other regional entities, but he suggested that in order to be globally competitive, businesses must be cognisant of what is happening in their home markets. Dont think that I dont need to be globally competitive because I am not looking to penetrate a market in Barbados or Trinidad or wherever you are, the reality is, you are not globally competitive here, you will lose the market that you think you own right now.

He also advocated that companies carefully handle their information and stressed the importance of attending trade shows and keeping abreast of the happenings on the global market, as well as the importance of investing in the company through continuous training of employees. Cozier said that it is imperative that companies recognise the importance of intellectual property rights and ensure they actually own their brand.

Kama Maharaj of Sacha cosmetics while outlining the challenges he has had since the company opened well over two decades ago, stressed the importance of utilising technology, particularly the Internet. In fact, the cosmetics giant, who sells his brand to 28 countries, attributes the success of his brand to the world wide web, particularly in building brand awareness. He also stressed that one must know the strengths and weaknesses of ones competitors and use that to your advantage.Ç


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