In an unexpected ending of an evening celebrating local enterprise, the five-year-old business of Salt Island descendant Ms. Alexandra Durante was announced as the 2015 Business of the Year.
The competition that was held on 29 February at the Eileene Parsons Auditorium saw nine businesses competing for the titles of ‘Business of the Year’ and ‘Most Innovative Business.’ In what can be dubbed a sweep both prizes went to Pearl VI.
Business owner Ms. Durante got a nod of approval from judges early in the competition as she presented her business, and showcased some of the products that she produces with the help of her parents. Following her presentation one of the judges told Ms. Durante: “I love your merchandising.”
One of the impressive traits that were divulged about Pearl VI referred to the fact that the materials used to make the products are sourced locally and give business to other local vendors.
She told the audience she purchases honey for her sunscreen product from a bee keeper here in the Territory and her herbs and vanilla from farmers: “If you have something interesting we will find a way to use it,” she said in explaining how her business assists others.
The original prize for the Business of the Year was $7,500 but Hon. Myron Walwyn, Hon. Ronnie Skelton, and Hon. Archibald Christian on the night of the event bumped the prize up to $12,000. Similarly, the other legislators in the audience including Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Julian Fraser agreed with Hon. Marlon Penn’s suggestion that the Innovative Business prize of $1500 should be increased to $5000.
In addition to the $17,000 cash prize Ms. Durante also won an electrical audit and energy saving package from the BVI Electricity Corporation, and a legal package from Harney’s that includes incorporation and legal advice.
The other winner of the night was Trefle, as it won the People’s Choice Award. Trefle received a valuable Digicel data and phone package.
The other businesses that participated included: Rock Café, Mi Amor Jewellers, Trefle Designs, Pearls VI, Sole Day Spa, and Bella Blooms.