Jamaican-Canadian businessman, Michael Lee-Chin received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurs Awards recently.
Lee-Chin paid tribute to all those who have had the courage to embark on an entrepreneurial journey. "Being displaced from family, being displaced from culture, being displaced from language, ending up in Jamaica, in a foreign land and getting into business, yet still providing customer service; so when I think my burden is hard, I just think of my forebears and I am inspired. Tonight, I salute their boldness, I salute their perseverance, I salute their creativity."
Throughout the evening Lee-Chin took the time to talk to many young people who approached him.
He added that amidst the emotions of excitement and nervousness that entrepreneurs feel, they cannot be complacent.
Born in Port Antonio, Jamaica in 1951, Lee-Chin came to Canada at the age of 19 to study civil engineering at McMaster University. In 1983 Lee-Chin borrowed $500,000 and invested it in Mackenzie Financial. Four years later the value in stocks increased 700 per cent.
Today, Lee-Chin is reaping those seeds he sowed and is founder/chairman of Portland Holdings Incorporated. Headquartered in Canada his privately held investment company owns a collection of diversified businesses operating in such sectors as media, tourism, healthcare, telecommunications and the financial services.
Since acquiring the National Bank of Jamaica (NCB) in 2002 the Bank's profits have grown from US$6m to US$116m last year.
Minister of tourism and culture, Michael Chan said he was honoured and intimated to be amongst such highly accomplished entrepreneurs, "you contribute to our quality of life, you cease opportunities and you take risks."
"You play a valuable role in sustaining our nation's prosperity," read Tim Uppal, minister for democratic reform in the cabinet of Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a message on the prime minister's behalf.
The recipient of the ACCE Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes outstanding citizens whose business, humanitarian and/or philanthropic activities have made significant contributions to the Chinese-Canadian business community as well as the community at-large.
"On this evening, the very best in entrepreneurship in the Chinese Canadian community from coast to coast will be recognised and honoured," said Alan Wong, president of the Association of Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurs (ACCE) that hosted the 17th annual awards gala, which was held at the Hilton Hotel in Markham.
Other award recipients this evening were: Dr. Aimee Chan (Best International Business Award), former NASA engineer and president/CEO of Norsat International Incorporated; William Cheng (Best Asia Pacific Business Award), CEO of Premier Candle Corporation; Ivan Ho (Best Start-Up Award), CEO of Fit Factory Fitness; Ivan Yuen and Alan Lau (Most Innovative Award), CEO of Wattpad; Jordan Deng (Most Progressive Award), CIR Telecom; Grant Kook (Best Community Service Award), CEO, WestCap Management Limited; Winston Mok (Award of Merit), CEO of Simply Good Technologies; and Emmie Leung (Entrepreneur of the Year Award), CEO of Emterra Tire Recycling.
Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel