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Labour Minister, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo.(FP)

An indigenous company has come in for praise by this country’s Labour Minister, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo.??

Speaking recently at the National Insurance Scheme’s (NIS) 46th Anniversary lecture, entitled Building a Globally Competitive Business – the Automotive Art Story, which was held at the Frank Collymore Hall, Dr. Byer Suckoo expressed appreciation for the valuable contribution such entities made to society.

"I believe strongly in creating opportunities for individuals who develop quality branded products and services that can be compared with any of the top brands across the world. These companies assist government in reaching its goals of sustaining societies and economies.?? They also provide useful models for other local companies to follow.

"At a time when Government is seeking to induce a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation, it is heartening to hear the success stories of those who have excelled as entrepreneurs and [are] proving that entrepreneurship is not a foreign concept," Minister Suckoo stated.????????

This point was further reinforced by keynote speaker and co-founder of Automotive Art, Dereck Foster, who outlined the history of the company, which now has a presence in 60 countries and is the Caribbean’s largest automotive after-market retailer.??
Mr. Foster revealed that the company’s foundation was firmly built on ensuring that employees were well equipped for the job.

"When your employees know your products, services, practices and procedures, they become confident and they are able to deliver a superior customer experience…At Automotive Art, we see training as a strategic investment," he said.??

Reinforcing his company’s dedication to this effort, he recounted a conversation with a colleague who questioned his focus on training of staff: "He asked me how could we spend so much on employees and then they leave.?? I said imagine what would happen if you didn’t [train them] and they stayed," Mr. Foster quipped.

Noting that it was crucial to reinvest in one’s business, surround oneself with hard workers, avoid naysayers and develop a customer base at home, Mr. Foster emphasized the importance of recruiting high performers who fit the company culture: "Great teams don’t just happen.?? They are built and maintained deliberately…Hire team members that will complement your weaknesses and challenge your thinking…Don’t settle," he advised.

nekaelia.hutchinson@barbados.gov.bb

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