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Empire state of mind

BUSINESSMAN: Lascelles Chin

A THIRD generation Chinese Jamaican, Lascelles Chin is the proud chairman of the popular LASCO Group of Companies that manufacture and distribute products and services under the brand of similar name.

Born in 1938 into humble beginnings in the rural community of Bog Walk in the parish of St Catherine, Chin always had bigger ambitions.

He put together over time £175 from his job selling black pepper and peas to start his first business venture - distributing Henkel products in Jamaica.

But this was merely the first step for Chin in building his multi-million dollar empire.

Following nearly two decades of steady growth, in 1988 LASCO Distributors Limited was born and, today, is comprised of up to seven subsidiaries, focusing on areas as diverse as food production, financial services and insurance.

A proud Jamaican, Chin resisted the temptation to migrate abroad like some of his contemporaries and ranks the flotation of LASCO on the Jamaica Stock Exchange as one of his best business achievements.

And the move proved right when the manufacturing and distributing companies’ stock value rocketed by 600 per cent in the first eight months.

His business smarts and tangible achievements have been recognised over the years with Chin receiving many an accolade, notably the Order of Jamaica and the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander Class for outstanding service to industry and commerce.

Even in the face of a tough economic climate in his homeland, as well as in Europe, Chin remains defiantly optimistic.

EXPAND

For while rivals are contracting, LASCO is aiming to further develop and expand – having invested more than $30 million in a 25-acre site, encompassing an old Jamaican factory that made the famous Guinness stout.

Scheduled to be officially opened within the next three months, LASCO will be creating jobs for up to 500 people at the production facility.

However, it hasn’t been all smooth going for the businessman. There was a time in Jamaica’s illustrious political history of widespread unrest leading up to the island’s independence from Britain when Chin, then an emerging entrepreneur, was deemed ‘crazy’ by a bank for requesting a £1,000 loan.

But beneath the suited-and-booted prowess, Chin said his motivation has always been about providing products people want and giving back to the community.

And now the Kingston resident’s love for philanthropy has led to the current partnership between LASCO and MoneyGram in offering luxury incentives to the African-Caribbean community, both at home and in the UK.

MoneyGram International money-transfer service has an extensive island-wide network of  agents throughout Jamaica. Lasco Remittance Service is  one of the leading and most popular places for Jamaicans to collect money sent by the MoneyGram service internationally. The service can be accessed from more than 518 locations throughout Jamaica.

Lasco Financial sees promise in the MoneyGram business, which is now part of their core. This position is welcome,  having seen at least a 30 per cent improvement in sales from the money-transfer service as far back as 2010.

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