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[CONTENTS] [News] 5

your money lights

ezine

business summit

2012

high-

The third annual Your Money eZine Business Summit was held on July 25 at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge and Conference Center under the theme ‘50 Years of Entrepreneurship’.

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columbus cloud solutions enhance business performance for jamaican firms

Columbus Business Solutions (CBS), part of Columbus Communications Jamaica Limited, that also operates Flow, unveiled and showcased its latest portfolio of enterprise class cloud-based systems for local businesses on July 31 at the Knutsford Court Hotel.

[ c o v e r s t o ry ]

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anbell trade exchange introduces organised bartering to boost business capacity

When Andrew Pairman launched Intelligent Multimedia Ltd (IML), Jamaica’s first digital advertising platform, in 2002, he did a fair amount of bartering with companies that wanted to advertise on his screens.

[business lounge] 14 ‘mining’ technology in silicon mountain

When the global recession hit in 2007/2008, the first local sector to suffer was the bauxite/alumina industry.


[editor’s note]

[INSIGHTS] 17

jamaica must capitilise on the power of its brand

Our culture, colours and crafts are everywhere and jamaica has become one of the most recognisable brands in the world. Great news. What’s not so great is the fact that we have failed to truly capitalise on the significant economic benefits associated with the brand.

[do good] 20 st patrick’s foundation making a difference for inner city youth

The St Patrick’s Foundation is a non-governmental organisation established in 1983 to serve the communities of Seaview Gardens, Olympic Gardens, Waterhouse, Callaloo Mews and Riverton Mews.

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amaica’s eagerly anticipated 50th anniversary of independence is now in the past. However, the celebrations are expected to continue throughout the rest of the year. Additionally, there is even more to celebrate with the successes of our athletes competing in the London Olympic Games. In the spirit of the times, we pause to look back at how far we’ve come, but also to share some sobering thoughts on how much further we have yet to go in terms of making Jamaica an ideal business location. Gaining independence from British rule on August 6, 1962 sparked a great entrepreneurial revolution in Jamaica as several of the big companies that have anchored the country’s economy, including Pan Jamaican Investment Trust, the Insurance Company of the West Indies and Life of Jamaica (now Sagicor Life Jamaica), were created in the mid to late 60s and early 70s. Jamaicans wanted to be self-sufficient and that spirit saw them making moves to buy out British and Canadian firms that controlled the insurance and financial sectors. This was certainly the era of big business. Throughout the ensuing decades, a number of brilliant Jamaican entrepreneurs have defied terrific odds to create lasting businesses – names like Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, Michael Lee Chin, Lascelles Chin, Thalia Lyn, Audrey Marks, Audrey Hinchcliffe and Andrew Pairman immediately come to mind. Hundreds of other entrepreneurs, whether in big business or the micro, small and medium-size enterprises sector have helped to make this country what it is today, overcoming mountains of obstacles such as global economic fallouts, Jamaica’s own financial problems and the country’s unfortunate bureaucracy.

[ s ta r t u p s ]

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javette nixon helps smes get to the ‘point’ of marketing Point Global Marketing Limited may be only 18 months old, but 28-year-old founder Javette Nixon brings a solid decade of experience in various sectors of the industry every time he meets with a client.

[y-follow]

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jamaica

50

directory

At our Your Money eZine Business Summit last week, each of our three guest speakers, Richard Byles,William Mahfood and Gary Matalon, lamented the burdensome procedures involved in setting up businesses and how this negatively impacts the growth of the sector. It is certainly difficult to try to reconcile the fact that Jamaica is ranked fourth in the world for early-stage entrepreneurial activity by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, but 88th out of 183 countries for ease of doing business. In fact, the ranking has slipped three places since last year and a staggering 21 places over the last three years. This is discouraging for local aspiring entrepreneurs and a deterrent to overseas investors looking to set up companies here. It is something the government must address going forward, as it touts the economic benefits of small business creation. As we celebrate Jamaica 50, let us work on getting rid of the stifling red tape and other issues that plague our business sector and give our aspiring corporate stars a chance to shine. - Tracey-Ann Wisdom


[news]

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he third annual Your Money eZine Business Summit was held on July 25 at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge and Conference Center under the theme ‘50 Years of Entrepreneurship’. The event opened with a keynote address by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, who also launched eMedia Interactive Limited’s upcoming 50 Years of Entrepreneurship documentary. “I’m excited by what our young entrepreneurs are doing in the ICT [information communication technology] field and the impact which their innovations will have on various other fields including in education and in the generation of new businesses,” he stated in his address. “I’m also encouraged by the support and solid advice which they receive from the longer established business persons, so you see we are working as a family in our nation.” Guest speakers William Mahfood, Managing Director of the Wisynco Group; Gary Matalon, Director and CEO of the Kingston Live Entertainment Group and Richard Byles, President and CEO of Sagicor Life Your Money eZine

Jamaica shared their stories with the audience, consisting primarily of young entrepreneurs and professionals who eagerly paid attention to their words of advice. One of the key messages they imparted was that there are still many entrepreneurial opportunities available in Jamaica, despite the burdensome bureaucracy involved in starting a business. Mahfood noted that there is tremendous potential in snack manufacturing, citing the fact that Trinidad currently exports 70 per cent of it total production to Jamaica because there is a huge market for it. He noted that snack production doesn’t require expensive technology or capital expenditure; however, “it is very high energy demanding, so you would need to find ways to reduce energy cost.” A similar opportunity exists in beverages and agro-processing. Matalon, a vocal proponent of Brand Jamaica, stated that the lifestyle and entertainment industry, where his ventures Fiction and Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records operate, is “a blank canvas”.

LEFT – Governor General Sir Patrick Allen delivered the keynote address at the 2012 Your Money eZine Business Summit. RIGHT– Guest speakers William Mahfood, Managing Director of the Wisynco Group; Gary Matalon, Director and CEO of the Kingston Live Entertainment Group and Richard Byles, President and CEO of Sagicor Life Jamaica with eMedia Interactive Limited’s President and CEO, Tyrone Wilson.

“In some of the more developed, more competitive markets, you will find the volume and standard of the offerings are amazing… In Jamaica, we’re definitely moving towards that and KLE strives to deliver things that would rival anything like it in the market,” he said. In terms of financing, Byles noted that PanCaribbean, the banking arm of the Sagicor Group, is always looking for opportunities to invest in new businesses. He also sees opportunities for expansion in the tourism sector, highlighting the fact that Sagicor owns two large hotels. “Many of us don’t know, but the tourism industry is a very thin-margin, volumedriven business, very cost sensitive. So anything that can improve our image and bring tourists here to pay just $50 a night more, certainly would help tremendously,” he said. For pictorial highlights of YMeBS2012, visit our Facebook page. www.ezinesreader.com

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olumbus Business Solutions (CBS), part of Columbus Communications Jamaica Limited, that also operates Flow, unveiled and showcased its latest portfolio of enterprise class cloud-based systems for local businesses on July 31 at the Knutsford Court Hotel. The CBS team along with international partners Glowpoint, Touch Point and Metaswitch, demonstrated solutions for voice, video conferencing and IT security.

“Our new cloud solutions deliver real benefits to businesses by eliminating the need for capital expenditure to acquire hardware and reducing the total cost of ownership of IT resources,” said John Clear, Vice President of CBS explaining the significant benefits of the solutions. “What makes ours different from all the other cloud solutions available here is that Columbus customers can be completely confident in the capacity, reliability and stability of the network that powers these services.”

Cloud voice

Video conferencing

Cloud security

This provides the benefits of a multi-functional, feature-rich PBX system without the hardware installation, maintenance and costs that are typically associated with such systems.

This enables real-time, face-to-face communications, saving businesses the time and cost associated with travel for business meetings and training. Columbus’ HD quality video conferencing solution can be used from anywhere securely and openly and allows as many as 50 persons from anywhere in the world to participate. Columbus’ cloud video conferencing can be used from conference rooms, desktops and even mobile devices.

This provides businesses with a solution to manage the confidentiality and integrity of their IT network assets. Protection features include firewall, antivirus and anti-malware, URL filtering, anti-spam and email security.

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[news] The growth of the cloud has been the increased availability of broadband internet services at reducing costs. For the last six years, CBS has been building out its fibre-optic network across the island and delivering internet services to hundreds of companies that are now able to take advantage of cloud and other technology applications for their business operations. Today, CBS is the only company in Jamaica that operates its own end-to-end fibre network to power its cloud solutions. Clear said that this infrastructure enables CBS, with the support of partners Glowpoint, Touch Point and Metaswitch, to deliver the solutions that are scalable to meet the needs of all businesses regardless of size. “Our solutions are robust and rich with features suitable for larger enterprises while still affordable for small and medium sized businesses,” Clear said. Other significant benefits of the Columbus Cloud solutions include protection from obsolescence, since businesses will no longer need to own a considerable inventory of hardware that needs to be replaced every few years. Businesses will also save on human resource costs, since there will be a reduced need for large teams of in-house IT experts to support hardware and software.

Opposite page – John Clear, Technical Sales Manager at Columbus Business Solutions This page – Walter Moore, Regional Vice President of Sales for Glowpoint, demonstrating how the company’s cloud-based video conferencing system works.

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[business lounge]

r e a l b u s i n e s s . r e a l ta l k


Anbell’s senior team: (L-R) ATX Director, Paula Pairman; Anbell Group CEO, Andrew Pairman and Group General Manager, Sandra Bodden-Reid.

INTRODUCES ORGANISED BARTERING By Tracey-Ann Wisdom

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Photos by Warren Buckle

hen Andrew Pairman launched Intelligent Multimedia Ltd (IML), Jamaica’s first digital advertising platform, in 2002, he did a fair amount of bartering with companies that wanted to advertise on his screens. However, he soon noticed that IML didn’t always utilise all its available trade credit or entitlements with these third parties, so he looked for a better solution. Thus, the Anbell Trade Exchange was born. 10 Your Money eZine

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we take a look at what that company has to offer for the trade exchange, if it is of value to our members, and then we turn the coin around... “(Traditional one-to-one trading) limits you to that particular person you’re doing the transaction with, so we thought of expanding it and that led us to research how an organised trading exchange or barter programme works,” he explained. The idea gelled about 18 months ago as Pairman and his team sought to create an appropriate framework around a membership group and the ATX became a reality six months ago. The key to creating a reputable, successful exchange has been joining the International Reciprocal Trade Association (IRTA), the body that regulates and supports trade exchanges around the globe. “[This] pretty much opened the door for us. Some of what we had was actually being done in major economies around the world and we were able, therefore, to just expedite the value proposition, because they had the model already working,” Pairman said. How it works Pairman believes the ATX will be a boon to the local business community, especially as the economy remains flat. Companies and individual businesspeople who previously struggled with unutilised capacity – empty hotel rooms, unused billable hours, slow-moving goods, surplus items and so on – now have an opportunity to get these goods and services off their books while having access to items they need from other members of the exchange. What separates the ATX from traditional bartering is the use of a trade dollar, which equates to a Jamaican dollar.This helps to assign value to the transaction so Company A, for example, doesn’t trade $100,000 worth of paint for Company B’s $50,000 worth of car parts and lose money.“On a one-to-one platform, we trade each other’s goods and services, so what would happen is that I would take your paint and you would take my car parts. The auto parts store may go to the paint store and get paint, but the paint store may not necessarily need auto parts at all. What the system allows the painter to do is to store their credit so they can now use it anywhere they want within the exchange.They don’t necessarily have to deal with the auto parts store,” Pairman explained. Your Money eZine

There are currently 130 companies on the ATX, divided into categories such as restaurants and food service, accommodation, advertising and media, automotive, entertainment, health and beauty services, manufacturers, wholesalers, rental companies, office supplies and retail outlets. “After just six months of being in operation, have covered all major categories, so what we’re trying to do as we grow is balance the categories,” Pairman stated. “We want to make sure that we provide value to our members.We also ask our members for feedback as to any categories they would like on the exchange.” A range of benefits The ATX usually approaches companies its principals think will add value to the operation, but businesses also approach them to trade. “We take a look at what that company has to offer for the trade exchange, if it is of value to our members, and then we turn the coin around and we look at how the trade exchange can bring value to that prospective member. It’s an easy proposition because we have a valuable advertising and public relations category in the system,” Pairman explained. Members are assigned monitor all their transactions, see the other members, check out what’s available in the marketplace and initiate deals. The brokers are also available to make transactions for them and answer queries. Being a part of the IRTA, the ATX benefits from operational and regulatory guidance, including assistance in dealing with government agencies. However, the biggest benefit is the vast global network of similar agencies, which allows ATX members to trade with international companies. “The trade credit that they have earned from unutilised capacity here in Jamaica can now be used for something in another country that they would have had to pay not just cash, but foreign currency for,” Pairman said. “Similarly, especially regarding our hospitality sector, our local hotels can better utilise their excess rooms by allowing us to do a deal with other trade exchanges to bring in visitors to fill that capacity.”

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(L-R) Ron Whitney, Executive Director of the IRTA; Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Andrew Pairman at the official ATX launch on June 29

Economic impact The overarching advantage is that the ATX gives companies an opportunity to utilise their full capacity. For instance, a member from the hospitality sector who usually has many empty rooms in the off-season can make transactions with another who organises events, which could see the hotel being able to fill its rooms on a more regular basis. The organiser could then leverage his trade credits with that same hotel or with another member for goods or a service it needs. This allows companies to operate more efficiently and earn while saving money on these exchange services.

ATX was launched. In fact, the IRTA will be hosting its annual convention in Jamaica in September. Pairman beamed with pride as he pointed out, “It’s the first time it’s being held in the English-speaking Caribbean, so it’s a big thing. And it’s the very first time that a new exchange is hosting a convention, so it’s a lot that’s happening and it’s happening during Jamaica 50. We could not have asked for a better time to do it.”

“You can use these to take care of some expenses you would have normally paid for in cash,” Pairman said. “You’re going to use these trade credits to build your business by maximising advertising. You’re going to approach new customers nationally and internationally and these are not just barter customers – these are customers coming to your business with cash.”

The ATX was officially launched on June 29, with Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller and Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton in attendance. Hylton expressed great interest in the exchange and has since been in dialogue with Pairman and his team. “There’s an idea of utilising some elements of our existing platform in terms of a commodities exchange that [the ministry] is going to be putting forward,” Pairman shared.

“Our GDP [gross domestic product] can grow because instead of having idle capacity sitting down, you’re having this massive influx of trade that’s going on and being recorded,” he said. “Over time, this has the capacity to really impact our GDP positively while providing tangible benefits. If a company is operating more efficiently, they can probably employ new staff or keep the ones that they have.” Jamaica to the world, the world to Jamaica The attention from the international trade exchange community has also been squarely focused on Jamaica even before the

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The potential spinoffs from this convention are many, especially for Jamaica’s tourism product and members of the exchange in that sector.

His big vision for the ATX involves expanding its capacity to 200 per cent over the next year, modifying the categories currently on the exchange and getting into the community trading network with small farmers and retail outlets. “The government is very interested in it, as Minister Hylton pointed out,” he said. “The city of London is looking to engineer this process on a government level, so nothing that we’re doing is new. It’s just that we’re now catching up.”

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hen the global recession hit in 2007/2008, the first local sector to suffer was the bauxite/alumina industry. All across the country, pockets of the population that depended on mining began to struggle as operations slowed down or ground to a complete halt. Such was the case in Manchester, when UC RUSAL ceased production at its WINDALCO-Kirkvine plant in 2009. Left without a major industry, central Jamaica has focused its energy on forging a new path for job creation and has chosen technology as bauxite’s replacement.You’ve heard about Silicon Valley in San Francisco where many of the world’s largest tech companies, such as Apple, are based. Well, Jamaica is working to replicate the same level of success in ‘Silicon Mountain’. “All of Manchester is known as Silicon Mountain.We have pockets of innovation all over in the schools: Northern Caribbean University, DeCarteret College, Belair School, Knox Community College and Manchester High,” explained Kerrie-Ann Richards, project administration manager for ICT4D (information and communication technology for development) Jamaica. In a speech to the Manchester Chamber of Commerce in March of this year, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell identified the Greater Mandeville area as one location possessing the necessary human resources, health, education and infrastructure to create a thriving near-shore information communication technology (ICT) industry.

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According to the minister’s speech, the local technology industry employs some 11,000 people across 26 local and international companies and is projected to grow by about 10 per cent annually over the next three years. In 2008/2009, for the first time ever, investments in ICT outpaced investments in tourism, at 43 per cent of total capital expenditure (J$32.34 billion) and accounted for 3,500 of the 9,089 jobs created. Richards believes that Mandeville is ready to become a business process outsourcing (BPO) hub. “The BPO industry is on the cusp of a huge boom. Jamaica has an advantage as we speak English, we have a huge population of under-employed persons with varied skills and call rates are coming down. The emergence of cloud computing as well reduces the cost involved in setting up BPO centres,” she explained. Silicon Mountain has certainly produced a number of stars recently, most notably NCU’s 2010 Imagine Cup champions Team Xormis. The university also won the tertiary prize in the inaugural Blackberry Developers Competition last December, where DeCarteret College claimed the top prize in the secondary section. Knox Community College also placed second in the EduVision 2011 app development competition, hosted by ICT4D Jamaica. ICT4D Jamaica, launched in March 2004, is a key partner in Silicon Mountain’s development. The organisation’s mission is to enable sustainable wealth creation, social and community development through ICTs. With a network of 450 members both locally and internationally, ICT4D Jamaica has already had a positive impact on the local tech industry. Its most recent project was June’s DigiJam 2.0 where the organisation hosted the Sports Hackathon workshop at the Mandeville Hotel, where coders prepared for the 24-hour competition.

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16 [insights]

JAMAICA MUST

CAPITALISE

ON THE POWER OF OUR BRAND

O

ur reggae/dancehall artistes and athletes have, for many years, flown the jamaican flag high.

it is often said that there is a jamaican in every

corner of the world, and that’s probably true. our culture, colours and crafts are everywhere and jamaica has become one of the most recognisable brands in the world. great news. what’s not so great is the fact that we have failed to truly capitalise on the significant economic benefits associated with the brand.

The stellar performance of our athletes at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China and the subsequent World Championships in Berlin, Germany, placed significant light on this in recent times, as seemingly everyone wanted to be associated with the black, green and gold, the jerked chicken, Rastafarianism and of course, Usain Bolt. If Jamaica were to look seriously into positioning itself to reap the greatest benefit from this popularity, we would be sitting pretty at the top. There are many ways we can benefit from the brand and it is important that our leaders, businessmen and women, athletes and ordinary citizens, understand that Brand Jamaica is the key to economic and social development. Individuals from other countries have figured this out and are smiling all the way to the bank. Jamaican-inspired restaurants owned by non-Jamaicans, as well as reggae artistes from Japan and Europe, are just a few examples of the ways in which others have adopted our culture. The question is, what is Brand Jamaica and how can we reap the greatest benefit from it? Easy enough question, but it requires a certain level of business shrewdness to put policies in place so that we’re financially compensated for the use of our brand.

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[insights]

Brand Jamaica is a goldmine of opportunity for entrepreneurship and business development. Just look at all the attention being lavished on our Olympians in London, from the media to the fans and even fellow competitors. During a video blog from London, one of our athletes said: “A Jamaica a wear now.” True.There isn’t a person in that Olympic village or stadium who probably hasn’t been impressed or influenced by some element of the Jamaican culture.

Both headphones use our national colours, but only one was designed by a Jamaican - Soul by Usain Bolt (right).

Usain Bolt is arguably the most well known Jamaican at present. His individual achievements have given the country a significant boost, with ripple effects being felt in every sphere of the country, from big businesses to the man selling on the street. People have a hunger for things Jamaican and it is up to us to fill that need. It is no longer acceptable for us to sit back and allow others to provide services and produce goods that we are more than capable of offering. Just imagine if we came up with strategies that saw us benefiting from an international programme of development for Brand Jamaica. The possibilities are endless! It is time that we look beyond sun, sea and sand for revenue and see brand jamaica as a realistic option to repay our debts and develop every sector of our society. These things don’t happen overnight; therefore, it is important that we begin from now to set the groundwork for what promises to be a significant boon to the country. Jamaica Trade and Invest and different entrepreneurs and agencies have made some strides towards this; however, we need an aggressive approach. It is crucial that as we celebrate 50 years of independence, we make the next 50 years about ‘Brand Jamaica’.

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[do good]

’S FOUNDATION YOUTH CITY

INNER PATRICK FOR ST A DIFFERENCE MAKING ott

alc rew W By And

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espite the competitive job market in Jamaica, many would disregard a call for applications to a social work position in an anonymously listed organisation. But uncertainty aside, 36-year-old Sandra Passmore-Rowe took a leap of faith and applied. It was only after being shortlisted that she found out it was the St Patrick’s Foundation, which was in dire need of her services. Accepting the position of Director of Fundraising and Development in April, Passmore-Rowe jumped right into a world of challenges and opportunities that has kept her busy since. The St Patrick’s Foundation is a non-governmental organisation established in 1983 to serve the communities of Seaview Gardens, Olympic Gardens, Waterhouse, Callaloo Mews and Riverton Mews. “The Foundation’s aim is to alleviate human suffering through empowerment, skills training, human development and education,” Passmore-Rowe said. The foundation has a daily impact on more than 1,000 persons through skills training and early childhood programmes, a remedial educational facility and a Golden Age home. Passmore-Rowe honed in on the skills training programmes, which offer instruction in catering, garment construction, cosmetology and woodwork. “The work the foundation does has a great impact on the community. The Youth Empowerment In Action Committee has also been a major instrument of empowerment within the community,” she said. The YEAC teaches young people skills such as disaster mitigation and violence prevention. The skill sets gained have even created a steady workforce for the foundation to continue to be effective. “One of our administrators is a product of that programme,” Passmore-Rowe boasted. The work St Patrick’s is doing would impress anyone; however, Passmore-Rowe was quick to identify challenges, including a lack of funding as both local and international donations have steadily declined. “We are currently working on a way to keep

19 Your Money eZine

St Patrick’s staffer Ingrid Coleman teaches summer school classes at St Margaret’s Human Resource Centre

the foundation afloat. Sustainability is now our main focus and we have developed Vision 2020 to help us get there,” she said. Passmore-Rowe was shared details of the project, which utilises the skills taught by the organisation to conduct revenuegenerating activities. So far, the foundation has offered catering services to the US Embassy and the Electoral Office of Jamaica, for which they have received positive reviews. They also produce items of clothing and woodwork for sale. To ramp up local support, Passmore-Rowe is targeting nearby businesses for partnership opportunities to go alongside traditional fundraisers, such as a Retro Party being planned for October and a Jamaica Night in Virginia, USA, which will include a dinner and a silent auction, with all proceeds going to the foundation. So far, Passmore-Rowe described her experience at St Patrick’s as encouraging. “Even though I studied tourism, I have always loved working with NGO’s,” she said. Currently living on her own, she has embraced the community as part of her family where “everyone works together to get things done. Like all families, we have our challenges, but we work it out in the end.” She is hoping that the foundation’s hard work in these communities will continue through increased support from generous individuals and businesses. She encourages anyone interested in getting involved or soliciting their services to visit the website at www.stpatricksfoundation.org. www.ezinesreader.com


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[ s ta r t - u p s ] Your Money eZine

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believe

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oint Global Marketing Limited may be only 18 months old, but 28-year-old owner Javette Nixon, brings a solid 10 years of experience in various sectors of the industry every time he meets with a client. One of those years was even spent in the United States, where Nixon worked after completing his Economics and Political Science degree at the University of the West Indies. It was this stint abroad that opened his eyes to elements that were missing from the marketing mix in Jamaica and sparked the idea of starting a business. However, it would be four years before the plan fully crystallised and Point became a reality. The company was launched last February, targeting businesses in the SME sector. “Most start up firms, they want a professional setup; they want a strong brand strategy; they’d love to have strong visuals and strong messages communicating the services they offer, but they really cannot pay an in-house marketing department… and they can’t hire a big agency, either,” Nixon said. Small operations, big visions Coming from a family of small business owners, Nixon understands fully the challenges these companies face. He and his team have worked hard over the past 18 months to become the go-to agency for these small operations with big visions, not only acting as their marketing departments, but “we have to deliver to them for less than it would cost to hire one marketing professional.” Point now serves a roster of 10 permanent clients, in addition to offering one-off design, ad placement, public relations and other services.

Point global management’s core team: (L-R) Bobette Bolton, Business Development Officer; Javette Nixon, Founder and CEO and Karelle Phillips, Vice President and Chief Operations Officer.

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The company offers four packages with an array of services on three-month, six-month and oneyear contracts. The comprehensive Point Ultra is geared towards new start-ups; Point Premium targets already established businesses that need web and mobile strategies; Point Basic offers the core services every company needs, like PR and content development, and Point Social covers all social media platforms and blogging services. All packages offer ‘multimedia development hours’, where clients get specialised attention in advertising, graphics and creating video blogs. “We offer integrated strategies. We’re a socially integrated marketing company. Social is not only web; social is how you do business, being a more personal type of company,” Nixon said. www.ezinesreader.com


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you have to use all the media at your disposal: social, online or traditional. structure your messages in such a way that people recognise the business, The company also recently launched Point SMS Solutions and is developing its email marketing platform, as well as an online marketplace called BuyYard. “We’re developing a lot of tools for developing mobile marketing. We’re not a tech company, but we have a lot of tech solutions,” Nixon stated. Starting a business while working full-time is no easy task, but Nixon formed an early strategic alliance that provided him with a steady stream of clients and income that enabled him to create the company that exists today. Nixon approached his friend, Domonic Strachan of Uru Multimedia Limited, with the idea and Strachan became the first client. Through a bartering arrangement, Nixon did Uru’s marketing while Uru helped build Point’s website. Uru’s web clients were also eager for good content creating and management services, so work came in at a steady pace.

than having a great product. “How are you communicating with your market? What kind of message are you sending? How are you selling the product? What kind of value are you adding to customers’ lives?” Nixon asked. “You have to convince people who don’t know you to take money out of their pocket and spend with you.” Bolton added that many small start-ups also tend to rely solely on the owner’s network, which works for a while, but isn’t sustainable. Owners also tend to mistake marketing themselves with marketing the business and products, which doesn’t help to bring in new customers. The Point approach is grounded in research, focusing on the type of product or service being offered and devising the best strategy to get it to the designated market. Once you know the characteristics of your core market, then you choose the right tools to communicate with them. “You have to use all the media at your disposal: social, online or traditional. Structure your messages in such a way that people recognise the business,” Nixon said. With its comprehensive approach already reaping benefits for its clients, Point is aiming to become “the marquee marketing company in Jamaica” within the next five years, according to Nixon: “It doesn’t necessarily mean we have to be the biggest, but we must be the best at what we do.”

Nixon invested about half a million dollars of his personal funds to initially get things started and booked his first paying client within a month. “Over the first year, that client gave us about half a million dollars worth of business. My overheads in the first year were minimal, basically operating from my house at first. Splitting things with Uru helped out as well,” he noted. The Point team has grown to include business development officer; Bobette Bolton; vice president and chief operations officer Karelle Phillips, who handles the PR; accountant Tanya Thomas and an off-site web development and design team. All team members are kept in the loop through monthly meetings. The Point difference One of the cornerstones of the Point marketing philosophy, something both Nixon and Bolton say many Jamaican companies struggle to understand, is that it involves more Your Money eZine

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