INDUSTRY giant National Baking Company is reaching down to help small manufacturers expand their businesses.
With Expo Jamaica just days away, the baking company’s Chairman Gary “Butch” Hendrickson announced yesterday that manufacturers who have already established themselves will be on hand to offer advice to smaller entities during the event.
The expo is expected to get under way April 19-22 at the National Arena in Kingston.
“The Bold Ones of 2018 programme is going to be a little different than it was previously. We are going to take the booths that we would normally have reserved for individuals and get a collective thing, where we put about six or eight of them (manufacturers) together. We are actually going to ask the older Bold Ones to be a part of this, because we would like you (older Bold Ones) to take the time now to mentor, to speak to, share information with other people, other young companies, that [is] people looking to get into manufacturing — tell them what your plans are.
“Tell them how you did it. Show them the pitfalls [that] should be avoided,” Hendrickson stated at the National Baking Company’s Raising the Bar for Manufacturers function at Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston yesterday.
The concept of the Bold Ones was born in 2010 and the idea was to mentor young manufacturers who had good products.
Hendrickson, who was delighted by the growth of participants in the Bold Ones programme have experienced over the years, said many of them have outgrown the initiative.
“Many of the Bold Ones who will not be joining us will not be joining us because they have their own booths at expo now,” Hendrickson said.
He said, however, that they will participate in the speaking session for the smaller manufacturers.
Additionally, the National Baking Company chairman said he wants the export industry to expand, so he has created an online platform to facilitate this.
“We might be raising the bar for the manufacturers but this is all about Jamaica first. A couple months ago we launched a website called atasteofjamaica.com. We ran our Easter bun and Tastee cheese through that website; it did very well. We are very happy.
“It could have done better; we were late. We look forward to amazing things for next year. We now ship to the 48 contiguous states, what they called the lower 48, but I think what is most exciting to us at National is that we are going to go hunting for small Jamaican companies,” he continued. “Some might be in this room. We want their product on our website, available through our distribution system that we have established in Brooklyn, New York.”
The manufacturers will have to meet the established criteria to participate in the project.
“What we are going to do is to take the $30/$35 million that we would have used for a normal Bold Ones programme and put that in a pool of funds, at a revolving pool, and, as people pass the test, because we have to have good stuff… and the orders are taken on delivery, the suppliers are paid immediately — because if there is anything a small company needs it’s cash flow,” Hendrickson said, adding that no one will have to wait more than seven days to be paid.
The chairman, while noting that he understands the struggles small businesses face, said Jamaicans have been the baking company’s greatest source of support, so it was fitting for him to return the favour.
“We think we have good-enough products in Jamaica. When we go through our Jamaican Made Christmas that we have held twice now, we see some absolutely amazing stuff. It is good quality, it is world-class stuff,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
By: Racquel Porter