CAIPA and Caribbean Export focus on implementing a Regional Investment Promotion Strategy

The second edition of the Regional Investor of the Year Award was held at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Hotel in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic on 17 November 2014 before a host of invited guests, including representatives from the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA). The event, part of the 5th Annual General Assembly of CAIPA, was held in recognition of the contribution of foreign and local investors to the Caribbean. This year, the Awards sought to bring into focus investments made in the green economy regionally with a Special Award to women investors. The initiative was a collaborative effort between CAIPA and Caribbean Export Development Agency and was sponsored by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund, Regional Private Sector Development Programme.

Receiving the award for Foreign Investor of the Year was Palmis Eneji, an innovative micro-franchise French firm that has invested in Haiti by providing clean and efficient solar powered lighting and LPG cooking solutions for the poor.

Their goal is to provide clean and sustainable energy access in Haiti and actively participate in the fight against deforestation in that country. In his application for the Award, the CEO, Mr. Jean Christophe Duchier noted the 4 guiding principles for the company:

(1) Availability, as the company has partnered with carefully selected local and international suppliers to make the best quality cooking and lighting solutions available in Haiti;

(2) Accessibility – the company trains and equips retailers such as grocery, hardware store owners or travelling vendors to establish a dense network of franchisees that expands to the most inaccessible parts of the country;

(3) Affordability, the firm offers financial services such as forward payments, deferred payment schemes and microcredits to help customers with the initial investments; and

(4) Awareness, as Palmis Eneji invests in public awareness and communication campaigns and provides training sessions for both retailers and end users of its products.

The Local Investor of the Year Award was shared this year between 2 firms: EGE Haina of the Dominican Republic and NCB Group Ltd., from the Cayman Islands. The firm EGE Haina is the largest generator of electricity in the Dominican Republic, supplying 20% of the grid-tied demand in the country. Although incorporated in 1999, the company began to include more efficient systems and renewable energy in its portfolio in 2010, including the Los Cocos Wind Farm, a state of the art facility with 40 wind turbines.

From left to right: Mr. Marcelo Aicardi, General Manager, EGE Haina accepting the award for Local Investor of the Year from Professor Alvin Wint, Chairman of the Regional Investor of the Year Award and a member of the RIYA Evaluation Team

From left to right: Mr. Marcelo Aicardi, General Manager, EGE Haina accepting the award for Local Investor of the Year from Professor Alvin Wint, Chairman of the Regional Investor of the Year Award and a member of the RIYA Evaluation Team

The company is actively involved in initiatives that demonstrate respect for the environment and that preserve and regenerate natural resources, including environmental training for its staff, reforestation activities, correct management of solid and oily wastes, clean-up efforts in beaches, mangroves, rivers, among others. Receiving the Award on behalf of EGE Haina was the General Manager, Mr. Marcelo Aicardi.

The second company to win the coveted Local Investor of the Year Award in 2014 was NCB Group Limited (in particular, NCB Homes Ltd) of the Cayman Islands. NCB Group is the only commercial developer and custom home builder in the Cayman Islands that utilizes sustainable building solutions and geothermal cooling systems. Its founder, Mr. Naul Bodden notes the expansion of the company that was founded in 2001 to include 8 distinct service lines including design, project management, construction, property services, electrical, plumbing and geothermal cooling.

The RIYA award event also featured the presentation of a Special Award to Ms. Audrey Hinchcliffe, the founder and owner of Manpower & Maintenance Services Limited Group of Companies, based in Jamaica. In accepting the award Mrs. Hinchcliffe noted that the birth of the company came from her need to secure employment. The company began as a provider of janitorial, building and ground maintenance services to healthcare institutions and has expanded to include commercial businesses including banks, offices and hotels, among others. Mrs. Hinchcliffe has been recognized as a successful entrepreneur, business leader, educator and philanthropist, representing women business owners in Jamaica and internationally.

The overall winner of the Regional Investor of the Year Award was NCB Group of the Cayman Islands.

The second hosting of the Regional Investor of the Year Award saw 23 applications from 13 Caribbean territories. Many of the investment projects submitted for the Award will be used as success stories by Caribbean Export and CAIPA to promote the region for investment in the upcoming year.

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