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Friday, November 17 2017 @ 10:31 PM AST

Party promoter, herb planter win big at chamber awards

Party promoter, herb planter win big at chamber awards

A party promoter and a herb planter emerged the big winners at the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce 2017 Champions of Business Award Ceremony and Gala *censored*tail Reception at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port of Spain Saturday (Nov. 11) evening.

"We came. We saw. We conquered," said Ceasar's Army founder Jules Sobion, son of former Attorney General Keith Sobion, who dedicated his achievement to his late father. Sobion won in the 'Emerging Entrepreneur' category. Other finalists in this category were Ryan Perkins, owner of Building Spaced and Melissa and Marklan Moseley for Sweet Nothing Edible Arrangements. Apart from the trophy, Sobion walked away with a tech prize from Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) said to be worth $10,000.

In the Start Up Entrepreneur category, winner Nigel Jordan told the audience his family's kitchen garden and ability to make home-made tea bags therewith inspired his business, which he now runs with Cheryl-Ann Baptiste, Twigs Naturals Limited. Other finalists in this category were Stefanie Thavenot and Aliz Fitzwilliam with their Sweet Beet Juice Company, and fashion designers Tobye Gill and Shoma Persad.

Inducted into the Business Hall of Fame were Pennywise Cosmetics founder Lall Paladee (posthumously), and Southern Medical Clinic Dr Rupert Indar.

On receiving the award for his father, one of the Pennywise heirs, Satnarine Paladee said he will stay faithful to his father's dream. "We will use Pennywise as the vehicle for change in this country," he said. Paladee said no matter what negatives there are in T&T, businesspeople can use their resources to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate, as his father did with his stores.

Delivering his thank you speech, Dr Indar said: "Service has been my life and I've given it." He said he hopes people who serve now find joy in service and so improve service.

Still the country's largest hydrocarbon producer, bpTT, one of the sponsors for the evening, offered remarks by BP plc Regional President Norm Christie. Last year, Sandals Resorts heir Adam Stewart delivered the feature address at the Champions of Business 2016.

Christie advised business people to stay true to their core values while in business and keep business in its place. "My family and my church rank a whole lot higher in my eyes," he said. He said T&T has been the incubator for many successful businesses over the years, and while he vowed against breaking out into Dwayne Bravo's 'Champion' song, he said T&T is full of business champions.

"The improvement of lives is why I'm in business," he told the audience, adding, "Doing more than the ordinary is what champions do." Christie said: "We don't have to bat in our crease. We can take a walk down the pitch and hit a six." He urged plan for the long-term and not the next five years.

Christie said it is easy to get disheartened by the challenges of doing business in T&T but the men and women honoured at the chamber event Saturday night proved that businesses can and do succeed here. He said, "We need to push the diversification drive," and called for taking risks to help grow the economy. He called on big businesses to help small businesses and on international businesses to help local businesses. He encouraged businesses to cross at socio-economic intersections that come their way.

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