Pioneers of Prosperity Awards launched

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 19, No. 6            February 12, 2009

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Abby Noble, program country manager and Garron Hansen, program manager.

The prosperity of Belize’s economy hinges very much on innovative and vibrant private business entrepreneurship. But with the growing demand of goods and services especially in developing countries like Belize, it is very important that today’s successful enterprises inspire the next generations of up and coming business owners. In an attempt to inspire the future entrepreneurs, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the John Templeton Foundation launched a program called the Pioneers of Prosperity (PoP) Award for the Caribbean.

    Launched on Tuesday, February 10th, the award program seeks to recognize outstanding businesses in Belize along with six other Caribbean countries. However, another aim is to inspire entrepreneurs in emerging economies through the program to become role models to their peers.

    Belize’s PoP Program Coordinator Abby Noble stated, “We want to inspire small and medium sized business who has overcome obstacles despite the world’s economic shortfalls.” According to Noble, companies that are based out of the Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Belize are all eligible to participate. Business entities that want to participate must fulfill the following requirements:

  • employ between five or 250 employees
  • earn between US$100,000 and US$5,000,000
  • must have been profitable for two of the last three years
  • have the ability to create unique value for customers through innovative products and services
  • must generate a sustainable profit for owners or shareholders
  • finalists will also be judged on the investment made in employees through training, safe working conditions, and high and rising salaries
  • must also show the potential to protect the future by strengthening local and global environments and communities.

    Business wishing to make an entry should fill out an application that takes thirty minutes prior to the deadline of March 9th, 2009. If your application meets the requirements, the second round of elimination entails follow up on-line questions. Should your answers prove satisfactory to the judges; the third round will consist of a phone interview where the judges will try to establish an understanding about the company’s vision for the future within the economy. The finalists and winners will be chosen by an independent panel of judges that will conduct an on site visit with the employer, meet with the employees and speak to customers and clients.

    By the end of the final round, PoP intends to award some ten to fifteen businesses from the Caribbean with prizes estimated at a total of US$350,000.

    The PoP Award is designed to be a high impact initiative that identifies rewards and promotes truly outstanding businesses and their leaders in emerging markets. The program is strives but it seeks to create greater prosperity in participating countries by identifying models of success, investing in them and showcasing their stories to inspire a new generation of investors. It is expected that winning company will invest their prizes in their business to promote it regionally and gain access to networks of technical expertise, potential investors and to increase in profitability.

    Interested business can find more information on the Pioneers of Prosperity program by visiting the website on Awards will be given out in Jamaica in June. Since the PoP Award has been introduced in Africa in 2007, coordinators say that it has proven successful.
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