B inspired eZine

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through fresh eyes I am delighted to be joining the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship - Caribbean family for a few months while our fearless leader, Lisa Lake, takes time out to welcome her new baby girl. Having followed the Centre’s story from afar since its launch, it is incredibly motivating to be here in this hub for aspiring entrepreneurs, committed staff and supporters. As we go into publication, our Cohort 4 entrepreneurs have completed 12 weeks of ‘Launch pad’ training and coaching, and are preparing to ‘Take Off ’ into the next stage of our development programme. In this issue, we give you a sense of their journey through the eyes of Vibes Cuisine’s, Michelle Jones. Her ‘Entrepreneur Diary’ gave me a wonderful insight to the personal and professional impact the Centre has on our entrepreneurs’ lives. Reflecting our ongoing engagement with entrepreneurs from earlier cohorts, we are also pleased to share stories emerging from our mentorship program, and recent opportunities to send some of our entrepreneurs abroad as ambassadors for their businesses and the Centre. In working to expand our model in the Caribbean, these and other stories reflect our efforts to continuously strengthen our offerings around access to knowledge, networks, markets and resources, so that more entrepreneurs can propel themselves into ‘Orbit’. As always, by telling the stories of our entrepreneurs we aim to exhibit the amazing potential that exists and lessons to be learned about entrepreneurship in the Caribbean. Our regular ‘ThreeToWatch’ section features three more promising individuals whose businesses are making strides. We also feature a creative entrepreneur and cultural activist who is using poetry and performance art to make a social impact. And, in the spirit or sharing knowledge and lessons learnt, three of our entrepreneurs impart valuable insights on funding sources, relaunching a brand and formalizing a business. In closing we pay tribute to two of our entrepreneurs, Dwayne Morris and Henry Craig, who sadly passed away in April. We dedicate this issue to them.

Jennifer Bartlett Interim COO





Branson Entrepreneurs Accessing International Networks & Markets


Three To Watch


Mentorship Match Spotlight


Seascape Caribbean: From Donor Funding to Sustainable Profits


Richard Branson’s Top Five Tips for the Perfect Pitch


Randy McLaren: Performing ‘Art Surgery Across Jamaica


Michelle Jones: Entrepreneur Diary


Shelly-Ann Dunkley: The New Ecco Magazine


Shernette Sampson: Motivation Behind ... Formalisation


Remembering Dwayne and Henry

Branson Entrepreneurs Accessing International Networks & Markets


A group of five entrepreneurs from the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship – Caribbean, in April, went to New Orleans as a special delegation at Inc. Magazine’s GrowCo (Grow Your Business) conference. The five entrepreneurs represented a diverse range of local industries with global market potential. The group included Andrea Johnson (Serra Trading), a purveyor of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee; Joan Webley of Nanook Enterprises, which provides business and legal services to the entertainment sector; Javette Nixon (POINT Global Marketing Ltd) offers full marketing services to small and medium sized businesses; Wayne Jones (Skora Sports) uses technology to analyze and distribute credible sports data; and Allison Harrison who runs a video production and motion picture company called Factory 75. They spent two days at the conference “working the floor” and networking with other entrepreneurs and potential partners. They were also given special access to keynote speakers, such as John Mackey, co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. The links that these small businesses have made during their trip offer great potential, not only in possible future business and support for the entrepreneurs and their operations, but they can have a much larger ripple effect – bringing business and jobs to their suppliers and surrounding communities.

Top left: Branson Centre entrepreneurs and Virgin Group Founder, Sir Richard Branson at GrowCo Top right: Michael Movery with Richard Branson in London. Bottom Right: Branson Centre entrepreneurs and Inc. President, Bob LaPointe in New Orleans

For most of the group, the highlight of their trip was getting to meet Richard Branson and hearing his story of survival and growth in business. “The unconventional approach that he took to getting started, made me feel empowered and inspired by what is possible,” expressed Joan Webley of Nanook Enterprises. Since its inception, the Branson Centre has supported over sixty startup businesses. Through its Virgin network and other partnerships, the Centre offers its entrepreneurs unique opportunities for international exposure and access to global markets. GrowCo is one example of this support mechanism. Michael Movery, another Branson Centre entrepreneur who runs a gourmet pepper sauce business called Coco Browns, participated in the Commonwealth Observance Day at Westminster Abby in London in March. Not only did he enjoy tea time with Richard Branson, he was able to network with other entrepreneurs, as well as meet with a potential exporter, with whom he had been cultivating a relationship from afar. Being in London gave him the opportunity to deepen the connection and Finalise plans for distribution of his sauce in the United Kingdom The practical training that they receive at the Branson Centre prepares them to capitalize on these networking and business generating opportunities, but their entrepreneurial spirit and character is what really seals the deal.



three to watch H

Here we highlight three Branson Centre entrepreneurs whose emerging businesses, and the stories behind them, have something special to offer. They may be at different stages of development, but each is on the verge of something big. Whether launching new operations or growing existing ones, we have our eyes on them and their businesses as their entrepreneurial journey unfolds and they transform into tomorrow’s business leaders. Read about Melarka Williams of Ingenuity Technologies Limited whose software development company is already operating and working with clients out of California’s Silicon Valley. Then, we take a sip with Kacy-Ann Walcott and drink in her transformation from a 12-hour shift to a home-operated ‘Chateau’ catering to all things wine. Jason Patterson is third on the list with his ‘futuristic’ charge on revamping the hotel industry, and by extension Jamaica’s, approach to energy consumption.

Note: The first 12 weeks with the Branson Centre is known as Launch Pad, where the entrepreneurs receive technical knowledge and practical skills needed to run a business. This prepares them for Take Off, where they begin accessing local and international mentors, business coaching, networks, professional services and other resources. Following Take Off they go In Orbit, where we continue to work collectively and individually with them to strengthen their businesses, and have them ‘pay it forward’ by sharing their knowledge and experience with the new cohorts.


“I want to help make a shift towards a more efficient nation.”

jason patterson

Improving The Avenir of Jamaica’s Energy conservation


At just 26 years old, Jason Patterson is going to change for the better the future of Jamaica’s energy consumption with Avenir Energy Solutions. Avenir, the French word for future, is a fitting name for a company that is offering real solutions for future benefit that make ‘going green’ more than mere buzz words. As the reality of Jamaica’s high energy costs and environmental decline become more and more of a crucial focus, Jason is entering the game at just the right time. Avenir seeks to revolutionise the Jamaican tourism industry, in particular. As one of the primary foreign exchange earners in the Jamaican economy, this billion-dollar industry has debilitatingly high energy costs. To set itself apart from competitors, Avenir will take a proactive educational approach. The company has identified its target market, and rather than waiting on organisations to adopt a more energy sustainable mindset, Avenir will be going out to educate and convince their target customers of the benefits and efficiencies in switching. From start to finish, Avenir can provide it all. From certified energy audits that assist hotels and other tourism entities to enhance their environmental policy and secure funding, to advising on how to make improvements that achieve greater environmental efficiencies and reduce energy consumption. As a one-stop shop, Avenir also sources and supplies energy-efficient tools and equipment, as well as provides the maintenance and oversight to sustain the ‘new’ energy approach.


Like any great venture, Avenir has had its setbacks. Most recently, a South Korean supplier based in Kaesŏng Industrial Region was hampered by the North’s industrial shut down proving an unforeseen challenge to delivery of key supplies. This led him to seek new suppliers in different regions, which has resulted in more reliable and better-priced solutions. Another challenge Jason faces is limited access to the right networks. Not a problem exclusive to him, he points out that it is a common reality for young entrepreneurs. In spite of all this, he recently sat on a panel at the Sustainable Travel Leadership Network conference held in Montego Bay to examine the move towards sustainability directed at an audience within the hotel industry. Other speakers on the panel included the General Manager of Half Moon, the Director of Environment for Royal Caribbean Cruises as well as the Founder of Chukka Tours. The company is finalizing its marketing campaign to fully launch its operations, but the back end is ready to go. In the long term, Jason wants to get the message out “that sustainability isn’t just a thing for big multi million dollar organisations.” He believes that there is impact to be had even at the community level. “I want to help make a shift towards a more efficient nation and increase efficiency throughout Jamaica.”


Take a Sip...with

Kacy-Ann Walcott

K “I took a chance on myself and my dreams to make Kacy’s Chateau a success.”

Kacy’s back, Jamaica, and she has every intention of attracting a new audience to wine, educating us and encouraging the notion that wine is for everybody. Having left Clarendon for the UK at 15 years old, she returned to work in event coordination and then 12-hour shifts at a security firm five years later. Kacy was working full time when she started her business, but had ‘the hustler mentality’ and so tried to juggle both. After a few months her passion won over and she took the leap of faith and resigned to “focus on making my business work. I took a chance on myself and my dreams to make my Kacy’s Chateau a success.” Out of a deep desire to break from the mould, Kacy’s Chateau was born in March 2012. Her Chateau offers wines on their own or packaged in luxury gift baskets. Added to this, Kacy coordinates wine tasting events to allow customers to sample different types of wines while networking and socialising. “With a growing interest in Jamaica for wines and wine-tasting experiences,” Kacy explains, “more people are curious and we are here to solve this problem by being a one-stop shop. “ Having been featured on the popular television series “The Innovators”, Kacy has used her propelled popularity to do good. In March 2013, she hosted a fundraiser wine tasting event and the proceeds were dedicated to a local charity in the Blue Mountains called Lil Raggamuffin Summer Camp. Currently, she is a nominee for the Jamaica Observer’s “Mogul In The Making” competition and is working on taking her business to the next level with the help of the Branson Centre. Being a part of Cohort 4 at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship has not disappointed and Kacy speaks highly of the center and applauds them for the impact they have made in her life and those of other young entrepreneurs. “Before the Branson Centre experience, I had little sense of direction or structure for my business. Over the 12 weeks of training I have learnt what is required to have a successful business. They have taught me that being an entrepreneur is much more than just providing a product or service.”


“Since 2009, Ingenuity Technologies has built an impressive client portfolio, both locally and internationally...”


Perhaps when you think about software development, Jamaica isn’t the first place that comes to mind. Melarka Williams is changing that with Ingenuity Technologies Limited. This software development enterprise offers mobile banking, mobile marketing, mobile payment and customer relationship management products, as well as customized solutions built from ‘scratch’ for just about any scale of business.

Melarka Williams ...Building Jamaica’s Go-To Software Development Enterprise

After an Electrical Engineering major and a Communications and Electronics minor from the University of Technology, Melarka worked for six years as an Engineer with Digicel and Ericsson, the largest telecommunications vendor in the world. While working on a freelance project to develop a polling system, it struck a spark that customizable software development could very well become his bread and butter. Since 2009, Ingenuity Technologies has built an impressive client portfolio, both locally and internationally, including Amway and Boom in North America, the JDF Credit Union, Students Loan Bureau, National Health Fund and University of Technology in Jamaica. His core team of six are a mix of software developers, sales and marketing professionals and project managers who complement his extensive training in software engineering in Canada, Brazil and Ireland. Boom, a remittance company out of Silicon Valley, California, needed a solution to improve customer’s acess to store locations and Ingenuity Technologies answered the call. They built a customized software location finder to be used by Boom’s customers and customer care agents to find the nearest Boom location from a specified point, and the data collected by the software is used for business intelligence. Locally, Ingenuity Technologies Limited has conducted a successful pilot of their Mobile Banking and Mobile Marketing software with a leading financial institution. It allows banking subscribers to conduct financial transactions from their mobile phone and the mobile marketing side of the software allows for personalized communication using text messaging and email all on one platform. The first inclination for many Jamaican businesses is to farm out a software development project to overseas companies. Ingenuity Technologies shows that the talent and quality of work are right here in Jamaica. An advantage of this is that customer support and licensing is localized, enabling a more hands on management of the software versus depending on internationally-based support. Melarka and his team strive to be the go-to software development company in Jamaica. The software built for Boom, the mobile payment solution for Amway, as well as the mobile banking platform marks three of Ingenuity Technologies’ primary accomplishments to date. They are now actively targeting businesses with their All-In-One SMS (Short Message Service) Marketing and Email Marketing Software and continue to make strides with their customizable corporate software solutions.



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Kerry, meet Conrad. Conrad, meet Kerry. T

The new mentorship matching approach facilitated by the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship – Caribbean was much less superficial, of course. The recently launched platform, called B Engaged, brought together mentor, Kerry, with mentee, Conrad, as well as more than 20 other matches between entrepreneurs and experienced business professionals. Through an online survey combined with 1:1 phone interviews, the Centre gathered key information from both the mentees and potential mentors. Similar to an online dating tool (think eHarmony for entrepreneurs), the data was entered into a sophisticated web based application that generated matches based on a needsto-skills and personality fit pairing. For Conrad, the application identified Kerry as his ‘best fit.’

“Conrad could not be more eager for the help in streamlining his business, bouncing off deas and getting support from someone who has first-hand knowledge of the challenges he faces. This isn’t Kerry’s first stint as a mentor, and she sees it as a win-win situation.”


Conrad Allen hails from Montego Bay and is a young Branson Centre entrepreneur from Cohort 3. His company, Cover Me Up Tents, offers full service in commercial tent rentals and event infrastructure. Kerry Jackson-Rider lives in the United Kingdom where she operates her own business, Kerry Jackson-Rider Luxury Wedding Planning. She has over 10 years experience in wedding and event planning and her business handles all aspects of wedding and event design and management, including coaching, workshops, and student mentorship. Kerry “felt an affinity with Conrad and his values straight away” and is “very proud to be able to help develop and grow his business and work towards achieving his goals of successfully marketing to wedding couples and wedding planners in the US and UK.” Marketing is one of Kerry’s areas of expertise and is primarily what Conrad needs to grow his business right now.

Kerry and Conrad regularly communicate through Skype, email, text or phone to discuss issues and set out objectives. As he works through things, Conrad keeps Kerry informed of progress and new developments. Their relationship has flourished, despite having an ocean between them, and Kerry has already assisted Conrad to take real action in his marketing campaign. Conrad could not be more eager for the help in streamlining his business, bouncing off deas and getting support from someone who has first-hand knowledge of the challenges he faces. This isn’t Kerry’s first stint as a mentor, and she sees it as a win-win situation. From Conrad she gains “a renewed energy and a fresh eye for her own business and marketing strategy, as well as the thrill of being able to watch his business move forward month by month in measurable strides.” The mentorship programme is the first part of a broader build out which will be virtual and regional. Post-matching, the pairs are facilitated and monitored by the Branson Centre for a period of six months, but the relationships between mentors and mentees are in their own hands and can continue as long as both agree.






Seascape Caribbean: From Donor Funding to Sustainable Profits


When you consider the phrase “environmental rehabilitation and restoration” or “social entrepreneur” you may automatically think of treehuggers, people who work for a cause and are not motivated by money. You would be wrong. Well, partially wrong. Restoring damaged sections of our ecological landscape is an engineering problem, as well as an environmental one. Engineers cost big bucks. Our environmental scientists, who offer similar value, should be rewarded commensurate with that value. Instead, historically, they have had to turn to multilateral agencies as sources of funding for their projects. The major benefit of using donor funding is that, unlike a loan, the money does not have to be repaid. Some funds have money earmarked for social or environmental causes, which helps to reduce competition, and due to disbursement often being reliant on meeting deadlines, this provides added incentive to complete projects on time. Andrew Ross (Cohort 1), Director of Seascape Caribbean – an ecosystem restoration and development company – has been successful in attracting multilateral funding to finance coral reef restoration projects. However, he is moving away from a grantbased model to developing profitable revenue streams that create value for private companies.


The grant process begins with proposal writing in response to a Call for Proposals from the funding agency. Depending on the level of detail required, this stage can take anywhere from two weeks to two months. If successful, the proposal is approved 3 to 6 months later with mobilization payment and the start of work. The money is disbursed over the course of the project according to milestones laid out in the proposal by the proposal writers. Project reports may be required at set intervals and can range from short write-ups with a few photographs, to published documents. Andrew has typically gone after smaller grants (less than US$50,000) due to much shorter turnaround times of 3 to 6 months, compared to larger grants that can take up to three years to develop and mobilize. His biggest concern is that donor funding is project-based rather than goal-based. The value placed on the programme from the donor’s perspective varies from Andrew’s. As a business that has a long term goal, receiving funding that is based on a specific project within a specific time frame has little ongoing value. Now, Andrew is pushing towards profitable revenue streams rather than seeking out donor funding. Hotels in Jamaica face a significant beach erosion problem. Excessive wave energy comes to shore due to coral reef degradation. Andrew proposes that the chronic costs associated with beach repairs can be avoided. Through a patented technology, Seascape Caribbean regenerates coral on the reef in order to reduce coastal damage. Hotels also benefit from green branding and additional revenue from having beautiful reefs that facilitate snorkeling, diving and other related activities. “I went private on purpose. What I want to achieve in the long term is better served by attracting private clients because I am able to work from a value basis rather than according to a project timeline. A hotel is working on a 5-20 year timeline, compared to a project with a oneyear timeline.” “We are trying to extend the concept of landscaping into the sea and beyond the shore. Yes, it results in a sensible aesthetic and returns on tourism goals, but for me it’s more about conservation and the restoration of ecosystems.”



Richard Branson’s Top 5 Tips for the

Perfect Pitch

If anyone knows what it means to give a good pitch, it is Virgin Group Founder, Sir Richard Branson, who has even managed to convince his investors and fellow directors to go into space. Here are his top 5 pitching tips!


Two Three

Explain how the new business will make a difference to customers and provide a compelling alternative to competitors. Show a new way of doing things to shake up the market, and explain it in short, sharp, entertaining fashion.


Ensure you are grounded in expert knowledge of the industry. If you are going to launch anything, you need to demonstrate a solid understanding of the market and how you can disrupt it.

Make sure you’re in it for the long haul. Pitches latching on to the flavour of the month are all well and good, but they need to communicate how the business could grow sustainably and develop in the future.

Have a realistic plan. While high concepts are fine, pitches need to illustrate how a company could work practically. The most engaging pitches manage to combine passion with pragmatism.


Show your strongest hand. Pitching is all about selling your idea and your business as an exciting place to be. Highlight the strengths, and don’t be afraid to talk up your prospects.

To read the full article by Richard Branson here. Follow Richard’s blog


Randy McLaren


Performing ‘Art Surgery Across Jamaica


Randy McLaren is a self-professed ‘country boy.’ Born and raised in St. Thomas, his voice is currently one of the loudest and his messages the strongest in the performing arts arena. Of both, he is proud. Randy describes his business as a “creative social enterprise, which offers entertaining and informative dub poetry, edu-tainment and edu-drama.” A vibrant mix of entertainment, creativity, culture and social change is at the core of his self-titled business. He operates in the ever expanding and diverse creative/cultural industry and offers the best in live performances, live events, artiste management, bookings and edu-tainment.

A fire in 2009 at the Armadale Juvenile Correctional Centre in St. Ann claimed the lives of seven wards of the State and negatively impacted the lives of up to thirty young girls. This is the basis of Randy’s latest outreach project and using what he calls “creative activism”, he seeks to bring the issue back into the consciousness of Jamaicans at home and abroad. Last year Randy staged a forum to examine the consequences and impact of the Armadale incident as well as organized a day of therapy for parents of the girls. Today, they are preparing to establish a fund to assist the families in a more sustained way and align the young girls with mentors.

Trained in drama by the Jamaica Youth Theatre, Randy seeks to address common issues surrounding sexual abuse, human trafficking, climate change, rural development and gender equality in Jamaica, and has made it his mission to affect and effect change using the arts. Motivated by the desire to ‘give a voice to the voiceless’, he engages his audience with poetic vibrations that uplifts and inspires. Using the arts as a vehicle for social change is at the core of what he does and being a socially responsible entertainment business sets him apart. Fully understanding that cultural practitioners are indeed role models, they act accordingly. The goal is to spread positive messages far and wide in creative and engaging ways.

Randy has been involved in a seemingly never ending list of projects revolving around social change, such as, using street theatre to engage the UWI population on sexual and reproductive health for a ‘Be HIV/AIDS Aware’ campaign, acting as Facilitator for the Office of Children’s Registry providing edu-tainment across the island on critical childrelated issues and looking at how art can be used to engage unattached youths (Project Groundings). With his involvement in so many areas, this ‘art surgeon is doing his best to fix Jamaica one step at a time.


Entrepreneur Diary

It has all Come Together Like a Jigsaw Puzzle

Michelle Jones


I have a very strong feeling that over the next few weeks, I’ll for the first time in my life suffer from withdrawal symptoms. We have come to the end of our lifeenlightening course at the Branson Centre and what had become weekly therapeutic sessions for me. The space allowed us to be our true selves with no judgment. We each brought with us a uniqueness, boldness and tenacity. Without a doubt we are all going to succeed in whatever we do. The weekly interactions and energy that each person has for their business ignited my fire to press ahead with mine. There are a lot of issues that young entrepreneurs face, and we often have no resource to help flesh them out. The training both internal and external was invaluable - not only from the Branson Centre trainers, but we also pulled off each other’s varied skill sets, whether we needed advice on marketing, branding or even what to wear to a meeting. Each individual at the Branson Centre wants the other to succeed beyond his or her wildest dreams. We see this peer support in the way everyone has opened up their network to help everyone else. We all take our businesses very seriously, and feel as though we have a stake in each other’s success as well. The way I see it, our therapy sessions in a classroom environment may have ended, but the bond between us as friends, individuals and entrepreneurs will remain. It will be incumbent on us to stay in touch, hold each other accountable for our actions and our dreams and make sure that we put into life daily what has been instilled in us over the past twelve weeks. Unfortunately while half way through, we lost one of our fellow entrepreneurs in a most tragic way. It had a profound effect on each of us. It reminds us that each day is precious so use it wisely, “screw business as usual” and do something good for change. That single unifying experience, which we endured as a family, made this ‘Branson’ jive resonate even truer. It was difficult to find the proper words to quantify what this experience meant to the group and to me. Now that it is over I know that at the very least the experiences we shared in such a short time has made each of us grow. The teachings and readings, although at times tedious, came together like a jigsaw puzzle by the end. Much appreciated Branson Team...much appreciated.


Get Ready For The New ECCO Mag:

Shelly-Ann Dunkley


In 2009 when ECCO Magazine began, Jamaica wasn’t quite ready for it. But, that is exactly what drove Shelly-Ann Dunkley to begin the publication. After spending years in the United States and being exposed to the ‘go green’ changes that had been taking place there, Shelly wanted to bring this movement back home to Jamaica. She moved back to the island in December 2008 and began the process of creating ECCO. After a nine-month gestation period ECCO (Environmentally Conscious Consumer Operations) Magazine was born. ECCO Magazine took the form of a printed magazine with 2432 pages and was available free of cost to consumers. Trying to generate awareness for the environment in Jamaica, ECCO was left at strategic locations, such as schools, cafes, hotels and pharmacies. All places where potential readers could easily access them. Revenue from the publication


came primarily from magazine advertisements and sponsored events, but it all went straight back into printing and operational costs.

a full online publication. In addition to the online publication ECCO will host events and has other eco-products in the works.

As the first magazine of its kind in Jamaica, ECCO targeted everyone with its simple approach to going green. The magazine broke down the ways in which people could green their lives. Informing them of the choices they could make and the seemingly little changes that would gradually make a big difference and even save them money.

Just in time for World Environment Day, Shelly has already launched an exciting Facebook campaign and has started to lay the groundwork for relaunch by building consumer interaction and developing new content. Initially the magazine will be self-published and produced on a monthly basis featuring local and international writers. With an already active website, turning ECCO into a fully online ‘Green’ experience is only a step away.

Five issues (published between 2009 and 2011) and a couple of events later, Shelly felt it was time to go back to the drawing board. With internet access and capabilities growing rapidly, as well as the high costs and distribution limitations of print magazines, Shelly took a hiatus on publishing. Over the last two years she has strategized and planned for the re-launch of ECCO as


Tell me about your company

The Fifth Course produces value-added exotic chocolate products made from high quality Jamaican cocoa and local ingredients. Chocodots is our line of truffles.

How did you come up with the company name?

The original name for the company was Chocodots, and the story of how I came up with the name is quite interesting. For many weeks I tossed ideas back and forth until one day I was in a meeting at my job, and feeling completely bored to death, I started to scribble in my notebook. After a few minutes, I found myself astounded at what was crafted in front of me. It was the name Chocodots and my logo of nine little chocolate dots. The name Chocodots for me is like the cliché “connecting the dots” - creating a business that connects exotic flavors of Jamaica through quality chocolate products.

What motivated you to formally register your business?

I registered Chocodots with the Jamaica Registrar of Companies shortly after I came up with the name in November 2009. Despite not being in operation as yet, I was advised by a senior entrepreneur that I shouldn’t wait to protect my identity and establish Chocodots as a valid company. I felt legitimate afterwards, like a real business owner.

You have since decided to change the company’s name. What led you to this decision?

I wanted to rebrand the company to have more international appeal. The new name, “The Fifth Course,” carries an image of prestige. It signifies the perfect ending to a meal.

What steps have you taken towards formalising the new name/brand?

Motivation Behind… Formalisation Shernette Sampson


I quickly purchased the domain name to ensure online brand visibility, and am still in the process of trademarking it with the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO). In the meantime, I used the “poor mans” method, which I learned about at the Branson Centre. I mailed myself a copy of my trademark. Additionally, I have tailored the product line and packaging to suit the new image of being sustainable, delectable and healthier.

How will you entice Chocodots loyal following to get on board with the new name?

I am confident that my present clients are on board with the name change, as the quality of the products and the guaranteed service has remained the same. The aim now is to capture new customers.


We want to match established business leaders with emerging entrepreneurs. Are you an experienced business leader and entrepreneur? Are you passionate about business and can give 1-2 hours a month to share what you know and make a difference to a young entrepreneur? Do you want to join a network of leading Caribbean and international change-makers? To become a Branson Centre mentor, contact partnerships@bransoncentre.org.


Building Jamaica’s Capital Markets T

he Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) will be seeking to list its Ordinary Shares on the JSE Main Market soon. The lead broker and financial advisor for this IPO will be Stocks & Securities Ltd (SSL). It is anticipated that this will be SSL’s 5th IPO listing as it recently closed the IPO for Caribbean Cream Ltd. (Kremi) in May 2013. Prior to Kremi, past IPO’s for SSL include AMG Packaging and Paper Company, Caribbean 2 World (C2W) Music and Consolidated Bakeries Ltd. under the brand Purity. Marlene Street – Forrest, General Manager for the Jamaica Stock Exchange sat down for an interview to talk about the JSE listing and what makes it an attractive investment opportunity.

Why is the JSE seeking to do an IPO? The Jamaica Stock Exchange is pursuing the path of an initial public offer as part of its strategic direction to substitute debt capital for equity capital. The Exchange also sees this as a way to enable a wider participation of Jamaicans into this company, which plays such a critical role in the economy, especially in the area of capital formation. The proceeds of the IPO will be used to further develop the technology of the Exchange and drive the development of new products and services. This main market IPO will only offer twenty percent (20%) of the Company to the public by way of shares for subscription but investors will have an additional (7%) as an offer for sale.

Why should the public purchase the JSE shares? The JSE is a household name having been around and providing excellent service to the market for over 43 years. The Exchange Group which includes the Exchange and its subsidiaries, the Jamaica Central Securities Depository, and the JCSD Trustee Services has been on a growth path, providing new and exciting products and services which have diversified our revenue streams. Markets such as the Junior Market on which now seventeen (17) companies are listed since inception in 2009, the US Dollar denominated market, expansion of the registrar and trustee services are just some of the areas that have been started or expanded in recent years. Future services including new markets will further improve the profitability of the Exchange.

This Q&A session was conducted by Stocks & Securities Limited exclusively for the Branson Centre eZine. For more information, please visit our website: www.sslinvest.com

How has the JSE grown over the years and how will this upcoming IPO help to sustain success? The Exchange has grown significantly in respect to the number of products and services offered and also in the area of its governance structure. The Company which is now demutualized, has an excellent corporate governance structure that allows for detailed attention to every aspect of our organization. We have expanded the number of member dealers as we move to ensure that the investors are well served. The JSE now serves the public in the areas of primary and secondary market activities, educational programmes, such as workshops and seminars, and an e-Campus as well as depository, trustee and registrar services. The upcoming IPO will enable us to continue to allow this growth trajectory as we encourage through

our product offerings more investors and companies to take part in the market. Who is the lead broker and financial advisor for this IPO and where can people get more information? Stocks & Securities Ltd. (SSL) is the lead broker and financial advisor. You may contact SSL or your own broker for information. You can get more information by calling the General Manager and Deputy General Manager of the Exchange or by visiting our website: www.jamstockex.com

Remembering Dwayne & Henry: In April 2013, the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship – Caribbean lost two of its promising entrepreneurs suddenly. Their passing reminds us that we should live each day to the fullest – doing good and doing what you love. Their passion, drive and dedication continue to be an inspiration.

“The reason I chose to start my own business is because I always loved art. It was like just having fun. To me entrepreneurship means a lot. It is nice to know that individuals (can) come up with some nice innovative ways to solve problems.”

“I have really always wanted to do my own thing. Entrepreneurship to me is an opportunity to positively impact lives. I have had the opportunity to travel and live abroad, but I decided to stay in Jamaica to assist in my own way in the development of the economy.”

Dwayne Morris

Henry Craig

Imagine Designs Hopewell, Jamaica


Signature Graphics Montego Bay, Jamaica


Lisa Lake

Chief Entrepreneurship Officer

Jennifer Bartlett Interim COO

Sharon Jarrett Centre Manager

Melissa von Frankenberg Partnerships & Communications Manager

Kerrie-ann Richards Entrepreneur Development Trainer

Lisandra Rickards

Entrepreneur Development Trainer

Alison Tanker

Project Manager – Regional Expansion

Donnelle Christian Relationship Manager

Maria Lunden

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