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jamaican youth look for opportunities abroad

“W

hat a nice place fi live, sweet Jamdown/the only problem is, dollars nah run.” These lyrics from the popular Tony Rebel song ‘Sweet Jamdown’ were recorded in 1993, but for many Jamaicans, they still ring true 18 years later. As a result, few were really surprised when the 2010 Jamaica National Youth Survey (JNYS) revealed that over half the country’s youth - a staggering 60% - thought they would be better off living overseas. The consensus among young people from various walks of life is that Jamaica lacks significant opportunities for them to make good lives for themselves. The survey was conducted among 5,426 young people between the ages of 15-24. One part of the survey dealt with young resident Jamaicans attached to households. More than 50% of the young people interviewed indicated that they would prefer to live in the United States, England or Canada. The second phase of the survey focused on young persons living and working on the streets. An even greater number of these participants believed migration was their only option for better lives, with over 80% indicating a preference for United States and England, while Canada placed third. Only about 29% of youth attached to households thought their lives would improve if they moved to another Caribbean island. Samuel Coates, President of the Young Entrepreneurs Association (YEA), pointed out that there is a certain level of ignorance about living abroad

More than 50% of the young people interviewed indicated that they would prefer to live in the United States, England or Canada. and how things work in the countries named. However, he agreed that local opportunities are limited to some extent, especially when it comes to finding employment. He stated that entrepreneurship is the key to creating the opportunities young people feel they are currently lacking, but too has its challenges. “For those who are entrepreneurial-minded, it is difficult to get financing from various institutions and there aren’t any venture capitalists around,” he said. The CEO of Coates Logistics explained that prospects do exist for those young people who are prepared to take advantage of them. He noted that generally, there is interest among young

people in creating opportunities for themselves, but many lack the requisite discipline to make their business ideas work. “Sometimes they might start a business and as they make some money, they buy a Lexus or a Benz instead of reinvesting in the company,” he said. He also added that many also lack the technical skills to gain and keep jobs. The JNYS findings certainly support this. The survey revealed that less than a third of the youth polled received some form of job training and more than half had not passed any form of examinations: 14% passed one to three GCE O’ Level, CXC or AEB subjects, 11% passed CXC basic, JHSC or SSC subjects, while 11% had four or more GCE OLevel, CXC or AEB subjects. Less than five percent of youths had passed higher examinations.

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jamaican youth look for opportunities abroad For these young people, it is especially critical to build their capacity through education or vocational skills training, Coates said. There are numerous opportunities to attain these qualifications, including the HEART Trust/NTA, which offers various levels of training and assessment in several areas such as food preparation, dressmaking and design and cosmetology. The organization also has an Entrepreneurial Skills Development Unit, which seeks to develop a culture of business ownership throughout its programmes. There are also various social intervention programmes that provide remedial education and skills training for participants. Coates pointed to the Youth Upliftment Through Employment (Y.U.T.E.) initiative undertaken by The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), which provides training, mentorship, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for young people from depressed communities. “There are opportunities out there, but people are not making use of them,” Coates stated. He advised young people to accept the jobs that are available, even if they are not directly linked to their goals. This will help them to gain invaluable work experience which will be beneficial later on. For those who want to start businesses, he recommended focusing on filling a need, not just starting a business for business’ sake. He also advised that young people start businesses together, which will give them more human and financial re-

There are also various social intervention programmes that provide remedial education and skills training for participants. Coates pointed to the Youth Upliftment Through Employment (Y.U.T.E.) initiative undertaken by The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), which provides training, mentorship, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for young people from depressed communities.

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sources. “This way you are creating a management team that you don’t have to pay for,” he said. “It is also critical to get support and mentorship to help maintain a long term vision, not just to ‘get rich quick’.” Look out for Part 2 in next week’s Your Money! yourmoney ezine


insights by Tracey-Ann Wisdom

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Reinventing Your Brand

he maxim ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ is the hallmark of entrepreneurship as new businesses are created to fill the gaps identified in the market. What many entrepreneurs don’t readily realize, however, is how much it takes to keep a business afloat after this initial burst of creative genius. In addition to quality products and services, the capacity for reinvention is a necessary component of business success – and not just small businesses, either. As many large companies crash and burn in this tight economy, we see just how important it is to not only broaden your business horizons but to do it right. Every year, the website 24/7 Wall Street compiles a list of companies that will fail in the short term. Last year, the site was spot-on with its predictions for major American brands T-Mobile and Blockbuster, which have both been acquired by direct competitors AT&T and Dish Network. Among the companies expected to buckle this year are Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Sony Pictures, Soap Opera Digest and MySpace. Nokia If anyone had mentioned five years ago that the venerable Finnish brand would be on the brink of extinction, that person would have been laughed out of the room. The products were top-quality and the company seemed fully capable of keeping up with the latest trends in technology. Until the smartphone boom, that is. Nokia has been steamrolled by the Apple iPhone and Google Android, losing virtually its entire market share in the United States. The Microsoft part-

As many large companies crash and burn in this tight economy, we see just how important it is to not only broaden your business horizons but to do it right. nership has not helped either and both companies have suffered on the stock markets. Sony Ericsson Sony Ericsson hasn’t really turned up for the vital smartphone race. According to 24/7 Wall Street, “[sales] of Sony Ericsson phones were originally helped by the popularity of other Sony portable devices like the Walkman, [but its] product development lagged behind Apple and Research In Motion (RIM) which dominated the high-end smartphone industry

early.” Since being left in the blocks, the company has seen unit sales plummet from 97 million in 2008 to 43 million last year. Clearly, reinvention was needed a long time ago and only sheer genius will be able to rescue this brand. Sony Pictures Sony is just in trouble all around as so far this year, this side of its operations has been rattled by the Japan earthquake and tsunami disaster and the hacking of its PlayStation Network. In the lucrative ‘motion gaming’ industry, Sony’s PlayStation Move is being beaten by Microsoft Xbox Kinect and Nintendo’s Wii, which have practically cornered the market. The only valuable asset it owns is Columbia Tri-Star, which it acquired for US$3.4 billion in 1989. However, the studio has not produced any major blockbusters in a while.

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Reinventing Your Brand Soap Opera Digest Soap fans have been in a lather with the recent cancellation of long-running dramas ‘One Life to Live’ and ‘All My Children’. But this is just one of the magazine’s problems - its place as the go-to guide for viewers has been usurped by blogs and fan sites. In 2000, the magazine’s circulation was over 1.1 million readers. By 2005, it fell below 500,000, where it has remained. The magazine’s best bet is to go completely digital and become the go-to site for official, exclusive information. MySpace The “place for friends” has been poleaxed by Facebook, running on fumes since mid-2008. Admittedly, MySpace has revamped its image and purpose in an attempt to remain competitive, focusing on entertainment and celebrities. However, this has failed. According to 24/7 Wall Street, MySpace’s parent company, News Corp, has hinted that it will close the site if it does not find a buyer. In order to avoid these pitfalls, it is necessary to always keep your company on the cutting edge in terms of the products and services offered. This involves paying close attention to market trends, incorporating new technology where appropriate and knowing when you need to tweak your image. If you feel your company may need a shot of adrenaline, here are three key principles to follow: Innovate: Innovation doesn’t stop once your company starts; it must remain an on-going process. For instance,

Differentiate: Target used to be just like any of the other big discount stores in America, but in recent years, it has separated itself from the pack by offering high-end, fashion-forward products at low prices. The stores feature products by celebrity designers such as Isaac Mizrahi, Stella McCartney, Zac Posen and Thakoon.

In addition to quality products and services, the capacity for reinvention is a necessary component of business success – and not just small businesses, either.

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in 2009, automakers Hyundai responded to the economic crisis with two innovative assurance programmes, which allowed customers to return the vehicles they purchased that year if they lost their jobs and guaranteed US$1.49 per gallon gasoline to consumers who purchased vehicles during the summer. Broaden appeal: Apple was once known for high prices and hard-tomanipulate systems and software, which excluded the majority of the market. However, it launched the user-friendly iMac in 1998 and in 2001, introduced the world to the iPod and iTunes store. Since then, Apple has become the market leader for cutting edge, easy-to-use technology, which allows it to tap into new segments of the market. yourmoney ezine


Start Ups Read. Believe. Succeed.

Small Business Banking

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Dave Watson making Tred Laboratories the best in the business especially for the software development side of the business. Watson added that they would also like to further drive the service department to match up with sales.

t is often said that the true measure of a man is found in how he rises after a fall, and by this scale, Dave Watson, Managing Director of Tred Laboratories, is destined for great things. He was forced to watch his initial dream of building planes crumble due to financial constraints and failing physics at the CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) level, but he did not give up on himself. Instead, he turned to his second love, information technology, and has made a name for himself in that industry. Watson earned his stripes by working in several areas of IT before starting his own business. He was IT manager at Bluedot Contact Centre and later, group IT manager for Matate Holdings Limited. His responsibilities included procurement, implementation and management of IT equipment and infrastructure. Watson co-founded Tred Laboratories with three friends in 2007. The company offers a range of services including data recovery, software development, system administration, IT infrastructure design and remote data backup. There are numerous IT operations across Jamaica, so the young company has to ensure that it stands out. It certainly helps that Tred Labs is the only professional data recovery company on the island. “We pride ourselves on being the best at what we do and we only need to get in the door to prove it,” Watson stated. Tred Labs has indeed ‘proven it’, amassing a diverse clientele including musicians and producers, students, government agencies, loan companies and manufacturers.

Going forward, Watson is focused on adding to Tred Labs’ customer base. The company has created CASH EAGLE, a software programme for loan companies, as well as a school management package. Plans are also in place to host a small business seminar to teach the principals about the benefits of outsourcing. “We want companies to let us manage their IT needs so that they can concentrate on the other important aspects of their business,” he said.

Dave Watson, Managing Director of Tred Laboratories

“We pride ourselves on being the best at what we do and we only need to get in the door to prove it,”

Watson has a regional and international vision for the company and has already embarked on securing partnerships with major players in the IT landscape. In five years, “Our software department will have grown eventually to be a global player and we intend to have several IP software that will be packaged and offered over the counter,” he stated.

As with most other startups, things have not always run smoothly for Watson and his team. “Our greatest problem was capital. Initially, it stifled our growth because we could not go for those big deals or properly take care of our clients, so we embarked on an aggressive campaign to get credit from suppliers and a line of credit from our banks. We also had to shorten our credit period and take deposits,” he explained. There are other challenges, such as marketing, yourmoney ezine


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