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Lascelles Chin is founder, chairman and Chief executive officer of the Lasco Group of Companies in Jamaica. The Lasco group is made up of Lasco Distributors, Lasco Foods Successors Ltd, Lasco Foods Ltd, Lasco Barbados Ltd, Lasco Financial Services Limited and Lasco Remittance Services. The range of products and services delivered by the companies is diverse. Lasco Foods Successors Ltd is responsible for the manufacturing and exporting of soy based products while Lasco Foods Ltd is responsible for the packaging of milk powders.

Lasco Distributors Ltd is responsible for the local distribution of the ever expanding range of consumer and pharmaceutical products that has made Lasco a household name in Jamaica. These companies currently run by Lascelles Chin marks the present milestone on an entrepreneurial journey by Lascelles Chin that has stretched for more than forty years, Mr. Chin intends to continue this quest for another forty years and beyond. His entrepreneurial journey started in 1961.

According to Mr. Chin, he started business with 175 and was at a great disadvantage as many prominent families were dominating the commercial landscape in Jamaica at the time. He persevered, did his research and learnt as much as he could about manufacturing and distribution practices, importation and various related fields. His policy was to deal honestly with his customers, work very hard and most importantly, avoid spending more than he earned, (Observer 2009). Accordingly this helped him to achieve success.

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He also realized quite early in life that the only way to maintain success as a business entrepreneur was by honing his skills, hard work, determination, perseverance, clarity of vision and the ability to see obstacles as challenges, (Observer 2009). After graduating from high school in the 1950s Lascelles Chin worked as a lab technician for a short period before taking up a job as a salesman. He did well, and focused on saving portions of his earnings which he later used to start National Trading Company.

This principle of not spending more than you earn or saving as much as you can from your earnings would set the stage for his development as an entrepreneur. With this business he sold peas and powdered pepper on a commission basis. He later became a distributor of Henkel products upon recommendation from a visiting representative. The business did well by targeting furniture manufacturers with the Pattex brand of adhesive. Later, during the 1970s, when people were leaving Jamaica in droves, Mr. Chin decided to stay and expand his warehouse and factory. Here Mr.

Chin demonstrates the strength and resolution to move against the tide and lay foundations for the future when others were packing up and calling it quits. With time the business moved from Orange Street, downtown Kingston to East Street and then to its current location on Red Hills Road, (Gleaner 2006). He later went on operate other lines of business, Kingston Heirlooms, manufacturing and exporting furniture, Datrex Limited, computer supplies and parts, Triple A Car Rental, Zenith Insurance Brokers, Soft Sheen and Exotic Farms Limited to name a few, (Gleaner 2006).

It was however the LASCO branded businesses LASCO Foods Limited and LASCO Distributors Limited operated by Mr. Chin from the 1980’s which made him and his businesses household names within Jamaica. The motivation behind his businesses…….. the unfulfilled needs identified A journey which started with a man selling peas and powered seasoning on a commission basis had now developed into a number of businesses driven by the same man fuelled with a passion to deliver the best value for money to its customers.

According to the company’s website, Lascelles Chin founded LASCO in 1988; its initial operation included the importation of bulk skimmed milk powder and repackaging of sachets for distribution within the Jamaican market. Chin’s intention was to provide a source of milk protein which was affordable for all. Since then Lascelles Chin business has grown from packaging and distributing skim milk to the corporate entity it is today providing a wide range of pharmaceutical, food, household and personal care products to Jamaica the Caribbean, Latin America, North America and England, (LASCO website, 2010).

Lascelles Chin apparently influenced by his daily and close interaction with the grass root people on the streets of Kingston during his earlier days as a Salesman, having seen their need for an improved nutritional intake sought to source and deliver products at prices which could be afforded by all. By doing so he has made valuable contribution to the development of the Jamaican society and its labour force with his delivery of nutrition or nutritious products within the reach of the poor and needy.

His drive in this area has lead to the pioneering of a number of soy based protein products again with an emphasis on nutritious value and affordability. Procurement of resources Lascelles Chin was able to start his first business, National Trading Company with a few pounds, an accumulation of his savings from his job as a lab technician and sales person. Along the way his business grew due to his timely and astute business decisions which included ventures some of which were risky at the time.

Some of those businesses have failed due to changes in the Jamaican landscape, for instance Kingston Heirlooms, his furniture business which was a good earner of valuable foreign exchange at the time suffered from changes in government policies which made conditions difficult for manufacturers. In order to deliver affordable products LASCO has gone to great lengths to source raw materials, consumer and pharmaceutical goods from cost effective sources. LASCO has formed allegiance with major international manufacturers. One of those searches led LASCO to Solae Incorporated, a subsidy of the DuPont Group.

With their help LASCO was able to pioneer its current and growing range of soy protein isolate products, facilitating the delivery of highly tasty, nutritious products at an incredible low price to consumers across the Caribbean, (LASCO website, 2010). According to LASCO’s website, “the popularity of their soy based product has made LASCO the Number One customer in the world for soy protein isolate from Solae Incorporated.

Additionally, the American Soybean Association has hailed the LASCO Food Drink line as the tastiest soy product in the world”. Bolstered by this success, LASCO continues its global search for the most affordable, best quality products and have branded corned beef from Argentina, mackerel from Chile, ketchup from the Eastern Caribbean, and vitamins from an outstanding US supplier, whole milk from Ireland, and Corn Flakes from Germany” (LASCO website, 2010).

LASCO Distributors has also formed an important strategic alliance with Johnson & Johnson (Jamaica) Limited on April 2, 2001. As a result of that arrangement, LASCO Distributors handles the distribution of all Johnson & Johnson products while LASCO Pharmaceutical Division is esponsible for Lifescan, Contact Lens, and Pharmacy sales. (LASCO website, 2010)

According to an interview conducted by Gleaner Lifestyle Editor, Barbara Ellington with Lascelles Chin in 2006 and published in May 2006, a lot of effort is placed in sourcing by the LASCO group. Approximately 50% is purchased locally, 15% within the CARICOM countries and the rest from international firms. According to Mr. Chin in that interview, part of his strategy lies in the fact that he sources well and is not greedy for huge profit margins, this strategy facilitates giving the customers value for money, considering the poorest in the society at all times.

He effectively reaps the benefits of the eventual sales volume by keeping his prices one tenth, one fifth or even half of others, (Gleaner, 2006). Lascelles Chin takes pride in the LASCO team who support and execute the corporate strategy on a daily basis in their respective roles. According to the Gleaner Article, May 2006, he indicated that his team is a hard working and dedicated one which operates like a family; they are treated well and are willing to go beyond the call of duty. He believes he has some of the best workers in Jamaica. Challenges faced and overcome

The challenges faced by Lascelles Chin during his entrepreneurial journey have been as varied as each of the over forty years since he started National Trading Company. He has faced numerous challenges with financing, security cost, government regulations, changing technology, and the ever changing Jamaican economic landscape to name a few. According to Mr. Chin in his interview with Barbara Ellington, “In the early days, he wanted a line of credit of ?1,000, and the banks would not give it to him. They thought he was crazy, he eventually got it from Scotia bank”.

His problems with pilferage downtown forced a movement of his earlier operations from East Street to Red Hills Road. Today his operations on Red Hills Road and those at his expansive distribution plant at White Marl Central Village, due to their location in two troubled communities have created high security cost. The LASCO team in a bid to mitigate this cost at these locations takes steps to “work with the communities, establish good relationships and avoid going home late”.

Faced with the high manufacturing cost of the 1990s Lascelles.Chin was forced to shut down and bear the losses associated with his furniture and data processing companies. Mr. Chin has however graciously accepted the philosophy that “failure in a business is an opportunity to learn”. In his bid to He has fought and loss battles with the government pertaining to government regulations geared towards protecting the local milk industry by its imposition of tax levies on powdered milk. LASCO imports a lot of its raw materials and finished products, this creates a demand for foreign currency to service those foreign accounts.

In a bid to lessen this strenuous demand compounded by the ever depreciating Jamaican dollar LASCO has leverage its business with the inclusion of LASCO Financial services, a licensed cambio and LASCO Remittance Services a Money Gram representative in Jamaica. These two businesses along with LASCO Successors, which manufactures and exports soy-based, products helps to generate the foreign exchange needed by the LASCO Group. Financial Performance and Customer’s Perception of the business To date LASCO has been doing well.

Lead by its founder’s philosophy of giving back from the profits made, the corporation has made numerous and continuous sponsorships and contributions to various areas of nation building, The National Policeman, Nurse, Teacher and Principal and Pharmacist of the Year Awards, are just a few of the many such programmes that LASCO has been associated with over the years. It contributes to various school feeding programmes, school related competitions, it makes donations to various government programmes, mothers and various charities. In return LASCO has gain customer loyalty which keeps the wheels of their business turning.

The LASCO brand is currently a household name, synonymous with the provision of healthy nutritious and affordable products and services. According to its website, “LASCO is renowned for its quality beverages, cereals, canned meats and sauces, personal care items, household products and pharmaceuticals. The company has pioneered a range of products, which utilizes soy protein and delivers to the consumer a highly nutritious product at an incredible low price”. Future Outlook In the earlier operations of his business, Lascelles Chin was supported by is then wife Audrey Chin and other family members at different points along the journey.

Today, his eldest daughter holds a senior position in one of the divisions. The LASCO business is a going concern and will remain that way whilst it continues to offer and deliver the kind of products and services that has led to its significant growth over the last two decades. The core business has grown from offering three products to over an hundred items. Its consumer and pharmaceutical lines continues to grow with the addition of a range of products each year. The LASCO brand now includes the LASURE, LASCARE and LASMED range of products.

Its focus is still on the provision of “best quality for the consumer’s money”. Steps have been taken to expand their warehouse and distribution plant in White Marl. They have also invested heavily in a new information technology system. Their distribution network continues to spread across the Caribbean, Latin and Central America, The UK and Canada. Though it is dogged by constant competition from major players in the respective markets, LASCO continues to carve out a niche for itself by being the low cost, and value for money supplier of consumer and pharmaceutical products within Jamaica.

Conclusion and Opinion of the entrepreneur’s journey Lascelles Chin journey has been one that strongly demonstrates the power of determination mixed with consistent effort in spite of adverse circumstances. Though he has won numerous awards and worn various civic hats including, The Order of Jamaica, The 2001 Business Leader of the Year, The 1997 Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Jamaica Institute of Management, The President of the Jamaica Exporters Association and is considered to be one of Jamaica’s leading philanthropists, he remains humble in his quest to make “Living Affordable “for the Jamaican people.

He is an inspiration to all; he has in no uncertain way demonstrated that much can be gained, even with a small start. His entrepreneurial prowess were not garnered in academia, but were nurtured nonetheless by a quest to understand the business landscape and environment ensuring that he understood clearly what he was shaping and the factors that would ensure a successful execution of those ventures.

He was unsuccessful in some of his ventures but was not deter from his quest to make a valiant contribution to the development of Jamaica. If I were to have taken the journey taken by Lascelles Chin, before I understood his process and his strategy for success, I probably would have stopped from the 1970’s and become a part of the massive tide of migrants leaving the island for a better opportunity elsewhere.

I believe I have a bit of persistence and perseverance but probably would have been deterred from pursuing ventures geared towards improving the quality of life of the Jamaican society by the negative elements within the same society who would have pilfered by business place. The challenges presented by the lack of effort from the different governments to preserve manufacturing or keep the exchange rate stable or exercise the measures needed to curb crime and criminality would have probably led to my “locking shop” and leaving Jamaica.

However, based on the lessons learnt from the journey of Lascelles Chin who started out with his savings, made prudent decisions, braved the economic times and conditions, focused on his goal of improving the quality of life of the poor and needy, through various economic, governmental and technological and social changes, I would take up the mantle of entrepreneurship, having the understanding that success can be achieved, through perseverance, determination, clarity of vision, whilst taking one step at a time, spending less than I earn and treating each failure challenge or obstacle as an opportunity to advance.


  1. Ellington Barbara May 22, 2006, The Monday Interview: Lascelles Chin – Brand Domination at its Best. Retrieved on June 17, 2010 from http://www. jamaica- gleaner. com/gleaner/20060522/business/business1. html
  2. Ellington Barbara May 22, 2006, The Monday Interview: Lascelles Chin – Brand Domination at its Best. Retrieved on June 17, 2010 from http://www. jamaica- gleaner. com/gleaner/20060522/business/business1. html
  3. Ellington Barbara May 22, 2006, The Monday Interview: Lascelles Chin – Brand Domination at its Best. Retrieved on June 17, 2010 from http://www. jamaica- gleaner. com/gleaner/20060522/business/business1. html
  4. Ellington Barbara May 22, 2006, The Monday Interview: Lascelles Chin – Brand Domination at its Best. Retrieved on June 17, 2010 from http://www. jamaica- gleaner. com/gleaner/20060522/business/business1. html
  5. Kumar, S (June 2003), Transformation: A Journey. Retrieved on April 26, 2010 from http://www. caibinc. org/files_custom/3176_2350. df
  6. National Commercial Bank Annual Report 2009, Retrieved on May 04, 2010 from http://www. jncb. com/docs/NCB_Annual_Report_2009. pdf
  7. http://zenithbrokers. com/about_us. html
  8. https://www. jamaicaobserver. com/news/161017
  9. http://www. jamaica-gleaner. com/gleaner/20060522/business/business1
  10. html http://www. lascojamaica. com/site/company-profile. htm

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The Journey of a Jamaican Entrepreneur: Lascelles Chin. (2017, May 08). Retrieved from

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