Seprod Group of Companies walked away with top honours at the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association’s (JMEA) inaugural awards gala held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Saturday (October 6).
The company won all major categories, taking the Governor General’s Award for Manufacturer of the Year, the Governor General’s Award for Exporter of the Year, and the Prime Minister’s Award for Large Champion Exporter.
The awards ceremony recognised outstanding exporters and manufacturers in 2017, and was the first held since the merger of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JAM) and the Jamaica Exporters’ Association (JEA) in June.
Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Seprod, Richard Pandohie, said the awards are a tribute to the hard work and dedication of his team.
“These are historic awards. The Manufacturer of the Year Award [is the] first time ever in Seprod’s history. This is vindication and validation for a lot of hard work. Collecting this award on behalf of 1,500 employees – this is amazing,” Mr. Pandohie told JIS News in an interview.
He added, “We were defending champions for the Large Exporter category. I was hoping to at least defend that, but Manufacturer of the Year – when you look at the amazing companies out there, Red Stripe, Wray & Nephew, Wisynco, etc, this is just amazing.”
He said, further, that winning the awards has been “four years in the making” with a more than “US$100-million investment, retooling, acquisition and putting the right people in place”.
“We’re doing a lot of the right things. It’s a journey. We’re not there yet, and this is just encouragement to continue the progress, but we definitely have put in a lot,” he told JIS News.
Mr. Pandohie noted that Seprod has expanded its export markets to now include Nigeria, Belgium and all the CARICOM islands, in addition to North America and the United Kingdom.
President, JMEA, Metry Seaga, in his address before the presentations, encouraged the country’s manufacturers and exporters to continue to be innovators and risk-takers.
He noted that they make a significant contribution to the economy through job creation, particularly in vulnerable communities; saving and generating foreign exchange; and by being the second highest tax-contributing sector to the Government.
Other winners were Bureau of Standards Jamaica, which received the Pauline Gray Award for Best Support Service; Red Stripe, the Energy Efficiency Award and the Corporate Social Responsibility Award; Crafton Holdings Limited, the Nicola Gordon Rowe Award for Buy Jamaican; ARC Limited, the Quality and Standards Award; J Wray & Nephew Limited, the Robert Lightbourne Award for Productivity and Competitiveness; Your True Shade Cosmetics, the Ambassador Peter King Award for New Exporter of the Year; Crafton Holdings, the Ray Hadeed Award for Best Micro, Small and Medium Manufacturing Enterprise; and Newport Fersan, the Charles Henderson Award for Breakthrough Product of the Year.