Armstrong 1180

I’m extremely proud that Lenigas Cuba has been announced as one of Britain’s top 100 companies in Mishcon De Reya’s Leap 100 award for high growth companies.

It’s called The Leap after President John F Kennedy announced in 1961 that an American would walk on the moon within a decade.  That audacious ambition was realised in the Summer of 1969 when Neil Armstrong announced “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

The award was set up to shine a light on those companies that can demonstrate bold and audacious vision and the ability to make it happen.

Of course it’s a great honour.  In particular it gives recognition the dedicated and hard working team in Cuba, and in London, who have made Lenigas Cuba the dynamic and fast-growing business that it is today.

We’re the first specialist investment company in the world to focus on Cuba. And so far we have invested in five Cuba-based companies.

Lenigas Cuba is interested in tourism, accommodation, infrastructure, transport, commercial and residential property, technology, communications, manufacturing, retail, services, leisure, agricultural and natural resources.  We’ve already done a lot of deals in Cuba and are looking at many more. And there’s no doubt in my mind that as one of the last frontier markets, Cuba’s potential is extraordinary.

But the reason I think The Leap is so important is that it brings together like-minded companies, founders, and CEOs – the very best of British technology, leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Companies totally committed to growth and dynamism.

Leap is a fantastic network and Leap companies are companies to watch.  I shall enjoy getting to know them all during 2016.

 

 

toast 1180

You can’t sit in a London cab, go to the pub, or sit down at a posh dinner party these days without the dreaded Brexit coming up.

I’m an Aussie, with a non-British EU passport, so it’s none of my business really what the UK decides in June.  But as a businessman, with investments and staff on virtually every continent in the world, I’m interested in people’s views on the matter.

My pal James (the English spook) is obsessed by the new EU rules on toasters.  Apparently the French and the Germans have conspired to reduce the power of toasters so we’ll all be chewing warm soggy bread when they have their way.  That nails that then!

Mushroom 1180

It’s just been reported that a US maintenance crew made a hash of repairing a nuke.

It’s been a tough week for our chums across the pond. As well as bodging the nuke job, they also lost one of their top of the range, laser-guided anti-tank missiles. They sent it back from Spain on an Air France jet, but instead of Florida, it ended up in Cuba. Serves them right for trying to save on the postage.

You wouldn’t want to be sat near that fella in first class.

Mind you, it would be more interesting than some of the people I’ve met. Take James, our friend trying to bring the e-cigar industry to Cuba. As much business vision as a packet of pretzels and the personality to match.

cuban-houses 1180

Dave’s Tip No1: Understand the local flow and do business with people who ‘get it.’

Graham Greene’s ‘Our Man in Havanais brilliantly funny.  Written in 1958, he takes the mickey out of the British secret service’s MI6.  They were shown up to be gullible and inept, falling for a Pommy bullshit artist, Jim Wormold, who fooled them into thinking sketches of vacuum cleaner parts were plans for a ‘supergun’.  The secret service lads were given the run around over a supposed Missile Crisis, four years before one actually happened for real.

I think I met the real Wormold on my trip to Cuba last week.  James (for that was his name), a Scotsman, sat next to me on the short flight from Cancun to Havana.  From his bag he proudly produced a stash of ‘Cohiba’ branded e-cigars. You couldn’t make it up.

E-CIGARS!!!!  Now call me an old traditionalist, I just about get the whole e-cigarette thing – helps you give up, only problem is you look like a dick sucking on a fairy-lit Christmas tree.