Leo Cousins and Vincent Hill are engineers by profession who have mined success in the Jamaican hills. They are the owners of Lydford Mining, a multi-million dollar operation located in St. Ann, the birth parish of Reggae legend Bob Marley.
The mining and processing operation is an investor’s dream with full order books for limestone products, zero debt and extensive reserves of high grade limestone. Their tale of success is one of vision and perseverance.
Established in 1991 as a limited liability company, Lydford Mining weathered the early storm when local bauxite companies declined to pick up their merchandise. The resilient team eventually managed to land the US-based J.M. Huber Corporation, with its subsidiary Huber Engineered Materials, as their first customer. With that initial single order of whiting grade limestone, the company charted upward in an aggressive growth spurt that continues today.
Lydford Mining currently exports 120,000 tonnes of high purity limestone, 100,000 tonnes of industrial grade and 2,000 tonnes of ground material each year. In addition to J.M. Huber, the company’s client list also includes the US-based Mississippi Lime Company and Chilean company Electroandina.
Lydford Mining also sells its limestone to local manufacturers who use it in processing fertilizers, animal feed, fillers for plastics and paints and many other industrial products. Before the company commenced operations, all these products were imported at twice the cost in most cases.
The company’s staff complement has grown from six in 1991 to 60 in 2014, and the rental of 25 trucks and six pieces of mining equipment has created additional employment for at least 30 workers.
Through the years, the resourceful team of Cousins and Hill has invested significantly in state-of-the-art technology – a move that has kept productivity at optimal levels. They are currently in the process of expanding their high-tech lab, which is used to analyse and test processed material.
With their sights set on a larger share of the world market, where there is demand for food and medical/pharmaceutical grade limestone, Cousins and Hill are currently working on securing a US$4 million investment to bring this goal to fruition. According to Cousins, the future plans to increase output of the higher profit-yielding, value-added limestone products are predicated on the quality of Jamaican limestone and the enabling business climate.
“After all, without quality, we wouldn’t exist…With its numerous viable investment possibilities, economic and political stability, Jamaica is both a reliable and dynamic quality brand,” says Cousins.
Fiwi Foods Limited is listed among the many Jamaican food processors who are making a name for their brands in international markets. Since its inception in 2006, Fiwi Foods has been manufacturing its signature jerk seasoning and honey glaze sauce to meet international standards.
The company's two flagship products were a hit at the 56th Summer Fancy Food Show in New York. Arising out of the JAMPRO-facilitated mission to the event, Fiwi Foods generated significant sales and visits to its website.
Fiwi Foods Managing Director Andrei Brissett praises JAMPRO's facilitation of exporters to international events: “The work of JAMPRO has been excellent, not only as it relates to export promotion, but also in its overall efforts through seminars and workshops that guide young businesses towards success,” he stated.
Fiwi Foods has utilised several avenues for distribution of its products. Quite notably, the company has been supplying its jerk seasoning as value-added input for other products and as a main ingredient/base product in food preparation. Brissett plans to continue establishing the Fiwi Foods brand locally while aggressively tackling the export market, in keeping with the brand's mantra, “Lively up your taste!”
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Gregory Khan, Managing Director of Uniform Centre – a leading provider of uniform solutions to various sectors, has indicated that his company is currently pursuing four firm business prospects emanating from its recent participation in JAMPRO’s Opportunities Jamaica 2013 business linkages event.
Mr. Khan also disclosed that in addition to the promising prospects, 20 buyers registered strong interest in doing business with his company at the two-day event, which was held on September 30 and October 1 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre. He had high commendations for the JAMPRO team led by President Diane Edwards, and described Opportunities Jamaica 2013 as a first class event that succeeded in bringing together local suppliers of goods and services with buyers from Jamaica and across the Caribbean.
Mr. Khan noted that the event provided the ideal platform to network with potential customers and showcase the quality of the products made by Uniform Centre. He added that the direct interaction facilitated by the event allowed him to impress the company’s core value of integrity on potential buyers, which significantly enhanced the process of forging deeper business partnerships.
Uniform Centre has established a strong reputation as a manufacturer of custom uniforms for local and regional companies in the hospitality, education, health and industrial sectors. In addition to manufacturing custom uniforms, the company also provides consultation on design and facilitates silkscreen printing and embroidery.
The company has successfully participated in previous JAMPRO’s Business Linkages Programme, and most notably secured a major contract in 2011 from Mystic Mountain Jamaica Tours valued at close to J$1 million. According to Mr. Khan, the company is looking forward to strengthening its partnership with JAMPRO in the future.
“JAMPRO has looked after us very well and it is always a pleasure to work with the agency,” he stated.
Entrepreneur Racquell Brown has translated her love and passion for Jamaica's flora into a lucrative line of exotic, all-natural skincare products. Operating under the Irie Rock Yaad Spa brand, Brown has developed a range of mood-boosting scents, namely: Papaya Path, Mango Walk, Coconut Sensation, Vanilla Bliss, Citrus Fields, Coffee Delight, Pineapple Express, Watermelon Fresh and Jamaican Cocoa Butter.
Her products are available in most of Jamaica's high-end boutique properties, as well as in pharmacies and gift shops across the island.
“Hotels are currently my biggest customers, as well as spas and gift shops. Those products usually only reach to the tourists and I would like to expand to locals and pushing that as a core market,” she said.
Irie Rock has consistently participated in JAMPRO’s Business Linkages programmes, in particular the annual Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) tourism trade fair. In 2012, the Irie Rock brand benefited from favourable exposure in the Commonwealth Secretariat-sponsored Spring Fair International in the United Kingdom. Irie Rock products are sold in Trinidad and the Bahamas, and Brown is seeking to find markets in the UK and North America.
Brown applauded JAMPRO’s ongoing efforts to facilitate her spa line, noting that the agency provides her with constant feedback, updates and invitations to useful and informative trade events.
Since entering the Jamaican market in 2001, Digicel has become the fastest growing wireless telecoms operator in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean. Over the past 11 years, the company has invested over US$1 billion in the country and has expanded its international customer base to 13 million across its 31 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific.
Digicel’s markets comprise Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, El Salvador, Fiji, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Nauru, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, St Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos and Vanuatu. Digicel also has coverage in St. Martin and St. Barts in the Caribbean.
The company officially opened its US$60-million regional headquarters in downtown Kingston in March 2013. In his remarks at the official opening, Denis O’Brien, Chairman and founder of Digicel Group, stated: “I must thank our loyal and valued customers and of course our fantastic staff. The Digicel success story is built on the efforts and hard graft of our talented and committed people – and our global expansion has been fuelled by the ongoing efforts of our amazing team right here in Jamaica.”