Apr 16, 2008, 7:05 AM
Ten major and minor business establishments in The Gambia have been crowned leaders in their respective fields of operations, by the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) at its latest Business Awards Dinner held on Friday at the Coco Ocean Resort and Spa in Kerr Serign.
The Awards Dinner, held annually to reward and recognise excellence in business performance, also saw Vice President Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy crowned with the special GCCI President Award, for her exemplary leadership, hard work, support and encouragement to the people of the nation and economic operators.
Other business establishments such as Gamtel/Gamcel and Jorjor Organics also received special awards from the GCCI for their innovations and landmark performance in the 2011 GCCI Trade Fair held in December at the Independence Stadium.
The ten winners of the various categories covered in the 2011 Business Awards Dinner are: Lasting Solutions, winner of the Enterprise of the Year Award; Gamworks, Partner to the Business Community of the Year Award; New Century Company, Start-up of the Year Award; Banjul Breweries, Manufacturing Company of the Year Award; Africell, Telecommunication Company of the Year Award (the 6th consecutive time); Guaranty Trust Bank Gambia Limited, Bank of the Year Award; International Insurance Company, Insurance Company of the Year Award; Kairaba Beach Hotel, Hotel of the Year Award; Butchers Restaurant, Restaurant of the Year Award; and Sandele, Eco-Tourism Business of the Year Award.
Twenty-nine firms were shortlisted as the final nominees for the awards, after a rigorous nomination and selection process which involved the University of The Gambia and other competent institutions in the country, such as the Public Utilities and Regulatory Authority, the Central Bank of The Gambia and the Gambia Tourism Board.
The shortlisted nominees for the final draw were BB Electrical, Lasting Solutions, and Scape (Enterprise of the Year category); Gamworks and Social Development Fund (Partner to the Business Community of the Year); New Century Company, Insist Global Company, and Jorjo Organics Company (Start-up of the Year);Banjul Breweries, and Timber and Furniture Company (Manufacturing Company of the Year); Africell, Gamcel and QCell (Telecommunication Company of the Year); Trust Bank Gambia Limited, Guaranty Trust Bank Gambia Limited and Ecobank (Bank of the Year); International Insurance Company, Global Security Insurance Company, and Takaful Insurance Company (Insurance Company of the Year); Coco Ocean Resort and Spa, Kairaba Beach Hotel, and Senegambia Beach Hotel (Hotel of the Year); Gaya, Butchers, Clay Oven, and Luigi’s (Restaurant of the Year); and Sandele, Makasutu and Sindola (Eco-Tourism Business of the Year).
There were other special awards given out to special personalities and establishments by the GCCI Board’s President Bai Matarr Drammeh and the chamber’s management and staff.
The Vice President of The Gambia, H.E. Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy received the GCCI President Award by Bai Matarr Drammeh, whilst Jorjo Organics received an award from the GCCI for presenting the Best Made in The Gambia products at the recent GCCI Trade Fair 2011;and Gamtel/Gamcel also received an award for operating the best innovative stall or booth at the Trade Fair.
Pansaw Nyassi, a staff of the Chamber and member of the Awards Dinner organizing committee, said the process leading to the final nomination and selection of winners was rigorous and professionally conducted, since its qualification and nomination criteria went through competent academic and public institutions in the country.
Selecting a winner or giving out the awards is not done rotationally but by merit; that is why it had to go through institutions like the University of The Gambia, PURA, the CBG and the GTB, Mr Nyassi told the gathering of eminent personalities and business tycoons.
The awards dinner, according to GCCI Chief Executive Officer Almami Fanding Taal, is held annually to recognise excellence for remarkable performance of entrepreneurs and enterprises in the business sector, as well as to create room for competition among businesses, promote best business practices and ensure a level-playing field for all businesses.
The competition is also held to draw public attention to the role of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the significant statue it has as a membership organization, he said, adding that the business award brings the nation’s focus to realizing the level of innovation and growth achieved by Gambian enterprises and businesses.
The theme for this year’s Business Awards Dinner is “Standing By The Gambian Farmer”, in response to the recently declared national crop failure.
GCCI President Bai Matarr Drammeh said the chamber’s decision to give part of the awards dinner proceeds to the farmers’ cause is a move to join the Gambia Government and development partners to work towards salvaging the plight of the farmers and achieving sustainable solutions for farming disasters.
“Also in line with the theme, we have adopted another initiative called “One Company, One Community” whereby companies are encouraged to address a community’s most critical needs such as farming implements, milling machine and water pump,” Bai Matarr Drammeh said, while encouraging companies in the country to adopt the policy of assisting and supporting communities through their myriad of corporate social responsibility drives.
In her remarks on the occasion, H.E. the Vice President, Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, who represented President Yahya Jammeh as Chief Patron of the awards dinner, said President Jammeh is a life-time patron of the GCCI Awards Dinner, though he could not attend this 19th edition of the dinner, owing to his loaded schedule of state matters.
Since 1994, President Jammeh has led a government that believes in a private sector-led growth and development, she said.
“No government can do it alone without the Private Sector,” the vice president said, adding that governments succeed because of the private sector, especially in a financial situation with gradual or little improvement due to global economic hardship.
The vice president also commended the GCCI and Gambian economic operators for spurring the Gambian economy through their fulltime participation in the business climate of the country.
“Today a lot of Gambians are involved in the private sector, especially the young people in the country; as a lot of them have been doing well in the private sector,” VP Njie-Saidy noted.
She also commended the GCCI for its patriotism in deciding to give part of its dinner proceeds to the farmers as a contribution to mitigating the plight of the Gambian farmer in response to the recently declared national crop failure.
The Government would like to show appreciation to the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the private sector, as the chamber’s proceeds would go to farmers this time around, the vice president said.
Economic operators in the country are also encouraged to invest in agriculture.
“Although there is no immediate returns, the private sector are encouraged to venture into critical areas to invest,” VP Njie-Saidy said, calling on members of the private sector to look at all the opportunities in agriculture for investment, such as livestock farming, fisheries and other lucrative ventures in agriculture, with an open door for partnership with foreign investors.
Moderated by Ernest Dacosta of the UN System in The Gambia, the Business Awards Dinner was sponsored by Africell, while Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation, Gambia Ports Authority and Banjul Breweries partly funded the event.
Sarata Conateh, Business Development manager of GCCI, thanked all those who supported and took part in the well attended dinner of various calibre of business concerns in the country.