Behance’s action Work Method
s a growing company, or as an individual looking to stay organised and on top of various projects, task management applications can be a lifesaver. Here at eZines Limited, we’ve been trying several solutions and look to have settled on Action Method by Behance, as have other rather larger companies like Apple, Yahoo! and Miramax Films. “A relentless bias toward action pushes ideas forward.” – Behance CEO Scott Belsky Behance is the organisation behind the Behance Creative Network whose mission has been to empower notoriously disorganised creative professionals and make them as ordered as the bureaucracies they often provide services for. We were introduced to it via the book ‘Making Ideas Happen’ by Behance CEO Scott Belsky. The main strength of his approach is its simplicity, which has three steps: (i) Action steps, or what needs to get done; (ii) References, the information supporting those action steps and (iii) Backburner, action steps archived for the future. Belsky recommends that it is best to assign action steps at a physical meeting between staff where they can also be discussed and affirmed. For Action Method to be efficient, your staff or whoever is working on a project will also have to sign up. Logging into the application, Belksy’s paper concept is faithfully recreated. You can create Projects or a Group of projects and then beginning Action Steps. Keeping track of the project is relatively straightforward from thereon. Action Steps allow you to set deadlines. You can choose to send a Nag if someone is not meeting the deadline. Likewise, when they do meet the deadline, you can send an Appreciate for a job well done; or just a plain Message. References allows you to share links within the project. However, you will have to pay to upgrade your service if you want to upload data besides communication via Discussions.
Backburner allows you to archive future Action Steps. Energy Line is another useful feature, which allows you to plot how much time is necessary to complete certain tasks and allocate resources efficiently. You will also notice that Action Method is not integrated with email. Behance reasons that integration is unnecessary because email can be a distraction and should remain a communications platform and that Action Steps should be a separate ecosystem in order to ensure productivity. The Action Method application can be downloaded free for web, iPhone and Android. There is no BlackBerry app. The iPad version costs US$1.99. www.actionmethod.com
Events allow you to plan and keep track of the meetings necessary to coordinate deadlines for Action Steps. yourmoney ezine
When investing in youth
brings new jobs
ast September, Tamark Douglas delivered a rousing speech at a Sagicor Life Jamaica staff motivational event, receiving a standing ovation from his colleagues and a congratulatory hug from SLJ President and CEO, Richard Byles. The 25-year-old is now an accomplished motivational speaker – a world away from the life he once led as a teenager in Arnett Gardens, where was heading down the wrong path before the intervention of a mentor, business consultant Dr. Henley Morgan. “I was at Camperdown High and not doing so well in school, so Dr. Morgan moved me from there to Ardenne. I started to focus and excel in school,” Douglas said, recalling moments when his mentor would drop in unannounced to talk to his teachers. Dr. Morgan’s investment in him has paid off, as Douglas not only completed high school but an associate degree in Business Administration at the University College of the Caribbean (UCC). He is now a filing clerk at Sagicor Life Jamaica, handling research and queries on insurance claims. He is now planning to return to the UCC next September to start his bachelor’s degree in marketing. Many people wait until they have ‘made it big’ to give back, but Douglas, who walks from Arnett Gardens to New Kingston every day, has been working in his community since his days as a founding member of the Miracle Club, a mentoring organisation developed by Dr. Morgan in 2006 out of his Agency for Inner-City Renewal (AIR), also based in Douglas’ community. The club uses a three-dimensional development strategy, focusing on the spiritual, professional and academic growth of its members through mentorship, involvement in the work of Dr. Morgan’s Praise City International Church, schol-
Tamark Douglas (left) with Sagicor Life Jamaica President and CEO, Richard Byles (right).
“I was at Camperdown High and not doing so well in school, so Dr. Morgan moved me from there to Ardenne. I started to focus and excel in school.” --Tamark Douglas arships and an employment programme. The Club, which currently has 83 members, is open to residents of the Trench Town and Arnett Gardens communities between the ages of 18 and 30, who have completed high school. “Our relationship began before the club was formed. He was not doing well in school, but had great athletic ability,” Dr. Morgan said of his mentee. “Tamark is the classical individual the club is geared to assist. You don’t have to have great academic performance, but he exhibited
a hunger to succeed.” Douglas’ desire for success also extends to his fellow residents, whom he works to inspire. The Miracle Club is currently in capacity building mode, seeking additional mentors to join Dr. Morgan in the programme. Douglas also shared that they are developing a Junior Miracle Club to reach students at the primary level. As someone from the community who has made it, he sees himself and others like him as role models to the other young people and noted that it is important for them to give back, as this helps to remove the stigma attached to their communities. “Others are encouraged to think, ‘I can do it. I’m not limited by anything at all’,” he said. “The persons in the community might not have the financial resources. You as [someone] who has made it out can help. If you make it out and you don’t want to help, you’re not giving anybody else a chance to make it out.” yourmoney ezine
Business Lounge Real Business. Real Talk.
Brought to you by:
Business moves of 2011
*In no particular order
ATL’s Autobahn Acceleration Adam Stewart has stepped out of the long shadow of his father Butch Stewart and with a venture many thought his father was crazy to even sanction. With Audi a dot in the rear view mirror of Mercedes and the ever-popular BMW, the Cash Plus/Olint wave of luxury car purchases gathering dust on used car lots and Jamaica in recession, what did Adam do? He not only acquired the Audi and Volkswagen franchises but Land Rover and Jaguar as well. He revved up his liability with a marketing blitz that included the new ATL-Audi auto-racing team. But behind all this hype, he and his team simply picked up the phone and relentlessly sold new cars to business contacts, friends and anyone they heard might be interested in a new vehicle. The results, notwithstanding a successful lobby to reduce import duties, are impressive. Audi is now number one in the luxury market and with every next red traffic light increases the chances of a VW, Land Rover or Jaguar pulling up alongside you.
REDjet - Movement for the People Jovial Irishmen arrive in the Caribbean to break up a monopoly amid local bemusement. Sounds familiar? Like Digicel, the REDjet livery is red, but the father and son team of Ian and Robbie Burns have had to endure a far more turbulent first few years in business than their distant relative. Wanting to base itself in Jamaica, the low fare airline was thwarted by a government wanting to protect a pre-privatisation Air Jamaica. Other regional state-owned airlines included the Trinidadowned Caribbean Airlines (CAL) and LIAT, owned by seven Caribbean governments. It did manage to establish its hub in Barbados and finally Jamaican routes. Meanwhile doubts about its safety as a new airline have perhaps been obscured by two recent accidents by CAL and American Airlines passenger planes. The dream is that REDjet will make affordable travel and therefore free movement under the Caribbean Single Market and Economy a reality. Reports are that REDjet needs further funding of US$8 million to continue, but then team Burns has safely piloted the airline through more than a few Caribbean storms already.
Island’s Mysterious Finances (IMF) Four quarters have passed and Jamaica has still not passed the tests mandated under its standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund. With the likes of Japan, Italy and Greece crowding the capital markets, the government will have to turn to the multinational institutions for balance of payments support. With the December 29 elections delicately balanced and timed, whichever party takes up the reigns must somehow navigate between a promised public sector wage increase against the IMF demand that the overall public sector wage bill be cut. The Jamaica Labour Party government has been able to tout a relatively stable economy with falling inflation and interest rates, a stable currency and high reserves. However, there has been little trickle down benefit to the country’s poorest and unemployment rose from 11.6 to 12.3 per cent between July 2010 and July this year. While the government has declined to reveal the state of the IMF negotiations the opposition People’s National Party, while scaremongering, is similarly yet to detail how its much-hyped JEEP can reverse the country away from trouble. Voters would doubtless like to have more information when they vote on December 29. yourmoney ezine
NCB’s Stock Continues to Rise This might just be the business story of the decade. When Michael Lee-Chin bought National Commercial Bank in 2001, many scorned the ambition of the onetime door-to-door insurance salesman who declared that he would overtake Scotiabank as the most profitable Jamaican stock market company. And when his other business interests suffered during the global financial crisis, many believed that NCB was significantly at risk. However, credited also to a much coveted management team in place at the bank, NCB not only reached this landmark in 2010, but this year hit a new record of J$13 billion in net profit. Now Jamaica’s largest bank with assets of J$358.8 billion, Lee-Chin might surpass himself should next year’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange go according to plan.
Jamaican ICT Takes to the Clouds It is a measure of how Jamaica is embracing information communication technologies that for most of our readers, the term ‘cloud computing’ – whereby shared resources (software, information, etc.) are delivered via a network rather than being installed on your device (laptop, iPad etc) – will be ubiquitous. Making for more efficient, ondemand and cheaper delivery of services, cloud computing stands to do for ICT services what the liberalisation of the telecommunications sector did for mobile penetration. Students can now have access to software that the education ministry might otherwise be unable to afford while small businesses can have access to an ICT infrastructure typically associated with a much larger enterprise.
JMMB Loves Banking With its emphasis on ‘love’, JMMB has always been a rather different financial institution, living up to the ethos of its founder, the late Joan Duncan. This was the opportunity for Jamaicans of more modest means, perhaps a few thousand dollars to invest, and to do so as if they were lodging a sum multiple times that amount. And while JMMB has always coveted a banking license, the established banking sector would prefer otherwise, what with its more rootsy image likely to stand out against its larger and more corporate rivals. The acquisition, pending regulatory approval, of Capital and Credit has given JMMB not just a banking capability to issue debit and credit cards but also critical mass with operations also in Trinidad and the Dominican Republic.
Scotia Widens Credit Card Access It says a lot about relative marketing clout that while First Caribbean was the first to launch a Visa debit card, it was Scotiabank who took the bull by the horns. The bank reported in September that it had so far issued 130,000 Scotia Visa Debit cards and it currently has a total of 500,000 cards in circulation in Jamaica. Bank account holders who might have been unsuccessful in applying for a credit card can now enjoy the convenience of the facility, without running into debt. Point-of-sale purchases are free with the card, whereas a fee of $15 per transaction had been charged with the regular debit card. Customers can also make payments online but with a fee of 2 per cent per transaction. Of course, it also reduces the need for users to carry so much cash around and marks a welcome addition to Jamaican retail banking services overall. yourmoney ezine
Digicel Digs Deeper Depending on your point of view, the merger with Claro has seen Digicel reverse the monopoly of Cable & Wireless through sheer innovation and hard work or handed it dominance of the telecommunications market it helped liberate ten years ago. The deal marks the latest expansion by Digicel, which, having begun operations in Jamaica, expanded throughout the Caribbean and then into the Pacific. Digicel will embed itself further in the social fabric when it relocates to its new headquarters in downtown Kingston next summer, a move which could spark the regeneration of the old business district and deprived surrounding communities. As for the deal itself, this not only hands Digicel a 3G GSM network similar to that of LIME, and superior to its own 2G network, but the expanded infrastructure is expected to be the eventual springboard for the island’s much-anticipated first mobile 4G network in the New Year.
A Rum Deal or Not? No business deal is perhaps as finely balanced and with so much at stake as the attempt by the Black Sands consortium to buy Lascelles de Mercado – owner of Jamaica’s famous J Wray & Nephew, which makes Appleton rum – from the financial conglemerate CL Financial (which had to be bailed out by the Trinidadian government last year). Previously accepted by the Financial Services Commission and Jamaica Stock Exchange, the Supreme Court has asked Black Sands to resubmit their bid and satisfy that it has the necessary finances to complete the transaction. The deal comes just two years after former Lascelles Managing Director William McConnell and others sold the company for a figure of around US$750 million. Black Sands, of which McConnell is a part, is now offering significantly less and promises a management shakeup.
All-inclusive of Food, Drinks... and Hospital! Thanks to the late Steve Jobs of Apple, perhaps the biggest theme in business this year is the benefit of controlling as much as possible: in his case hardware (Mac); software (iTunes) and distribution (iTunes Store). It is dubious to suggest that it was the Apple model which inspired demand among Spanish hoteliers for health services catering to tourists – but that demand has been met. While the scale of a Spanish hotel such as the Grand Palladium resembles a miniature city, private hospital group Hospiten has added another dimension to the meaning ‘all-inclusive’. On Monday they will open a clinic in Falmouth catering to cruiseships, which will be their 11th facility in Jamaica. Hospiten also operate eight clinics in hotels, one at Donald Sangster International Airport and have also acquired MoBay Hope Hospital. With another Spanish company, Albertis also operating the airport in the second city, it is anyone’s guess what will be the next service the Spanish will acquire to support their country’s massive investment in the Jamaican tourism industry. yourmoney ezine
brings new jobs Phillip Gore, chairman of the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO),
ob creation will be top priority for whichever party wins the election and continues the recovery the global economic recession. With unemployment at 12.3 per cent as of July, job creation will be as vital as ever. The current government is banking on foreign direct investment (FDI) with several inflows expected over the next three to five years, primarily in the information and communication technology, tourism and energy sectors.
“We have many attributes [necessary] for the ICT sector: we’re next door to the US; we have a very good telecommunications infrastructure ... and we have the labour force – bright young people coming out of our high schools and out of HEART who are ideal candidates for working in these areas,” --Sancia Bennett-Templer
Speaking at the Mayberry Investor Forum in November, Phillip Gore, chairman of the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), noted that the country remained competitive in attracting FDI due to its comparatively low labour cost, proximity to North America and economic infrastructure in key sectors, such as information technology and tourism.
JAMPRO has made the expansion of the ICT sector its top priority for attracting overseas investments. The local ICT sector currently houses 26 companies in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry and employs almost 11,000 fulltime workers. Gore said that the sector can expect several significant investments from “large players” entering the market and doubling the number of employees in
by TRacey-ann Wisdom Photography by
Warren Buckle the sector in the next three to five years. One such large player is Convergys Corporation, which will invest several million in setting up its call centre in Montego Bay and employ 1,000 persons. Headquartered in Cincinatti, Ohio, Convergys is one of the largest agent-assisted customer service companies in the world. According to JAMPRO president Sancia Bennett-Templer, the ICT is being emphasised because existing infrastructure allows jobs to be created quickest in that sector. “We have many attributes [necessary] for the ICT sector: we’re next door to the US; we have a very good telecommunications infrastructure ... and we have the labour force – bright young people coming out of our high schools and out of HEART who are ideal candidates for working in these areas,” said Bennett-Templer. yourmoney ezine
Anticipating the expansion, the government recently launched a US$20 million infrastructure loan facility through the Petro Caribe Development Fund to develop some 350,000 square-feet of ICT-ready space to accommodate operators in the sector, which is expected to generate approximately 10,000 new jobs. The facility will provide up to US$5 million per project, representing up to 70 per cent of the project cost. The loans are being made available at interest rates of 4.5 per cent per annum, payable monthly up to a maximum of 12 years. The tourism sector, which has long been the mainstay of the local economy, has weathered the economic storm and is also primed for further investments. Gore noted that the sector has constructed an additional 10,000 rooms in recent years and also commended plans by Spanish luxury chain, Fiesta Hotel Group, to open a new hotel in Hanover. These expansions have generated US$700 million in FDI inflows to date and further developments should also yield additional investments. However, Bennett Templer pointed out that they are also looking into untapped opportunities in the burgeoning health and wellness tourism sector, particularly in the development of retirement communities. Besides ICT and tourism the widening of the Panama Canal in 2014 should facilitate greater trans-shipment in the Caribbean. Gore noted that investments have already been made in the Port Authority of Jamaica, which will spend US$130 million on dredging operations and a further US$120 million, provided by the CMA CGM shipping group, has already earmarked for expansion, in time for the opening of the canal. In mining, the Cement Jamaica project is projected to deliver some US$340 million in capital expenditure. Plans are also
JAMPRO president Sancia Bennett-Templer
Bennett Templer pointed out that they are also looking into untapped opportunities in the burgeoning health and wellness tourism sector, particularly in the development of retirement communities. in place to create a West Kingston Power Plant, which will run on oil/diesel but can be adjusted to run on liquified natural gas (LNG). This project is set to begin by the end of the first quarter of 2012 and should generate US$127 million, creating 155 jobs. Additionally, Jamaica is still eying the lucrative offshore financial services industry, which currently is currently valued
between US$5 and US$7 trillion globally. Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Christopher Tufton, recently created the Jamaica International Financial Services Authority, to develop and promote the island in this area. FDI inflows have long been a major economic driver, contributing US$201 million to the Jamaican economy last year. However, the amount of overseas investment dollars coming into the local economy has also been hit by the recession, causing figures to drop from the high of almost a billion and a half dollars in 2008 â€“ before the slump hit â€“ to the current level.
insights by Keresa Arnold
Social Media Democracy: The Rise & Fall of Leaders
directly involved in the protests were still able to watch videos on YouTube, follow real-time updates on Twitter and pledge their support by joining groups on Facebook, ultimately taking advantage of an increasingly interconnected world.
hat do Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Syria, Yemen and Algeria have in common? Yes, they’re all located in the Middle East but there is another common factor. In the past year, they’ve all experienced uprisings against oppressive regimes. Amazingly, social media played a huge part in the way these were organised and orchestrated.
Though not all protests resulted in a change in government, it highlighted the immense power of a frustrated and unified public and the power of social media as a tool to raise awareness. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter were used to galvanise support, arrange meeting locations, and in many cases, were the only forms of communication when governments restricted access to the internet in an attempt to control protestors. This unique alliance is what some social media strategists and international relations pundits have begun to call ‘social media democracy’. It’s an interesting term that speaks to the changing nature of communication and the increasingly important role of social media in our everyday interactions. In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak, who governed with an iron fist for 30 years, was forced out of office after weeks of intense protests by citizens, many of whom were unemployed, tech-savvy youth who wanted a say in the way their country was being governed. It’s the same across the rest of the region. It’s what many termed the Arab Awakening, speaking to an increase in consciousness that lit a fire in the hearts of the masses.
This awakening resulted in varying degrees of changes in approximately 15 countries within that region. Yemeni Prime Minister Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to step down, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia resigned, and most recently, Libyan Prime Minister Muammar Gaddafi was killed by rebels after months of intense fighting and intervention by the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO). Bolstered by the sweeping changes brought about by their neighbours, citizens in the Middle East used the protests as a catalyst to pressure their leaders to make changes within their own countries. Oppressed and silenced for decades, the people had finally found their voice and were ready to shout their demands.
With general elections scheduled for December 29, many Jamaicans have already started to realise their importance to the electoral process via information, whereby information sharing is greater and partisanship threatened. Politicians are forced to work harder to engage them. Many have already taken to Twitter and Facebook, with both major political parties and individual candidates using social media to broadcast their messages, refute claims made by other parties and interact with individual voters in an attempt to make a connection, which they hope will translate into votes. Some persons are also using social media to keep the candidates honest by challenging their clams and manifestos.
Conveniently, while the protests occurred, many persons across the world were watching; some with disdain while others were taking notes. This resulted in similar uprisings by equally motivated and oppressed citizens. Though not all protests resulted in a change in government, it highlighted the immense power of a frustrated and unified public and the power of social media as a tool to raise awareness. Many persons who weren’t yourmoney ezine
Filing Annual Returns by C&E Innovational Services Ltd.
s we approach the end of the year and our country prepares for a general election, companies, partnerships and sole traders must not forget to prepare for the filing their of annual returns. What is annual return? Annual return is the submission of employees’ contributions deducted from their salaries and paid to the different collectorates during the year. There are a number of annual returns to be filed yearly: Companies Office Companies are required to file annual returns with the Companies Office on the anniversary of their registration date. Filing annual returns at the Companies Office now stands at a cost of $5,000 for form 19A (company having share capital), or form 19B (companies without a share capital) for $2,000.
Filing company profit tax Companies are required to file income tax returns, which is 33 1/3 percent of the profit made the previous year. This filing must be done by March 15, 2012 and should be accompanied by the company’s balance sheet and profit and loss statement. Filing declaration of estimated income tax payables Based on the revenue of the previous year, a company is expected to estimate the coming year’s revenue and calculate the income tax payable and make the necessary quarterly payments. Adjustments can be made at the end of the year, based on the accrual profit made. This filing is also due by March 15, 2012.
Benefits of filing annual returns - Both employees and employers can access pension and housing benefits - Filing annual returns is evident that your company is tax compliant - Contribute to the development of the country Important Dates - Income Tax Return March 15 - Filing of annual estimated return March 15 - Annual estimated income tax payment March 15, June 15, September 15 and December 15 - Employer’s annual return (statutory deductions) March 31
Annual return for statutory deductions Regardless of your legal structure, Limited Liability Company, sole trader or partnership, you are required to file annual returns once your employees are on the PAYE system; hence, NIS, NHT, PAYE and Education taxes must be paid. These returns are normally due on January 15th each year; however, this year, it has been pushed back to March 31.
connoisseurs As told to Ross Sheil Photography by Warren Buckle
he story of Coffee Connoisseurs is straightforward: at a church event, Dian Campbell dunked her ice-cream in the coffee of her friend and fellow congregant Sharon Thompson. From that act, a business partnership was born, based upon Thompson’s love for Blue Mountain Coffee and Campbell’s love for flavours. After product testing and then selling to members of their church, they began distributing the chilled coffee drinks further afield in September. The small operation, currently based in Thompson’s kitchen in Portmore, has sold over 400 units so far, and sales are growing. When Your Money eZine met up with the pair this week at John R Wong Supermarket in New Kingston, their drinks had sold out on the supermarket’s shelves. After gaining the necessary certification, they have already begun selling the drinks (priced about J$220 plus GCT) at various locations, including Kingston’s Wyndham Hotel and the Norman Manley International Airport. With the strong reputation of the Blue Mountain Coffee brand overseas, Campbell and Thompson are also optimistic of export success. “The blend of coffee that we use is the world’s best coffee, so it has a better quality than the other products out there and the blend of Jamaican flavours is more interesting – like the chocolate blend, which is a hit with new coffee drinkers,” Campbell said. “What we are finding is that more people are getting into drinking coffee and what is an Americanised culture. We find that the new generation of drinkers, they like variety; and our products are not necessarily like Starbucks because these are authentic Jamaican products and flavours.” They believe that Jamaicans’ growing taste for coffee is being driven by the demand for a restorative made with natural ingredients that is healthier than the popular energy drinks. They support this claim with the informal findings of their own tasting sessions and market research, in addition to the growing number of local coffee shops, a market they also want to enter.
Sharon Thompson (left) and Dian Campbell (right)
With the increasing number of businesses and government ministries relocating to downtown Kingston, most prominent among them Digicel, they want to open a cafe there, to capitalise on what they believe will be a large clientele, whom they also hope to feed with their soon-to-launch line of pastries. “Our passion is to have our own cafe... We aim to have a sidewalk dining experience where you’ll be able to come in and not only access our beverages but our other line of products. It’s going to be somewhere where you want to stay but you’re going to have to get back to work!” said Thompson. For the time being, as with many other Jamaican startups, Campbell and Thompson divide their time with existing employment. Campbell describes herself as being in ‘transition’ while Thompson is devoting 75 per cent of her working time to the venture – although she acknowledges, there are plenty of late nights included in that calculation “We’re financing it; we’re feeling it! I mean, if you’re developing you’re own product then how you demonstrate your belief is investing in it. As shareholders, our equity is rising every day,” said Sharon.
Tony Thwaites Wing, UHWI
Dukanoo Den, NMIA
Lee’s Food Fair
Total, New Kingston
John R Wong Supermarket
National Entrepreneurship Week: Making Your Passion Your Business Henley Morgan, head of the Agency for Inner-City Renewal
he Young Entrepreneurs Association this year observed its second annual National Entrepreneurship Week (NEW) under the theme ‘Making Your Passion Your Business’, from November 20 to 25. “There were two areas of focus: to spread the spirit of entrepreneurship and to encourage individuals out there who want to be entrepreneurs to go for it,” explained Tyrone Wilson, chairman of the NEW 2011 and MD of eZines Limited. “Many people who go into business go into an area they are passionate about, while others have a passion they are not profiting from.” The week of activities kicked off with an opening ceremony and expo at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel, featuring Governor General Sir Patrick Allen as the keynote speaker. The expo saw over 20 companies displaying their products and services to members of the public. The Association also launched its philanthropy arm, YEA Cares, later in the week. The Association signed a memorandum of understanding with the Trench Town-based Agency for Innercity Renewal (AIR), committing its assistance to residents of that community, to start their own businesses. “This is our way of giving back, of encouraging our members to get involved in philanthropy and mentorship,” said Wilson. There was also an Entrepreneurs Breakfast, where Finance Minister Audley Shaw was the guest speaker. YEA members took this opportunity to outline several items they would like the
government to address, including focusing on solar energy in order to help reduce prohibitive energy costs. A black tie gala closed the week, at which entrepreneurs Marcus James and R. Danny Williams were recognised for their contribution to Jamaica. James was awarded Young Entrepreneur for 2011 and Williams, founder of Life of Jamaica (now Sagicor Life Jamaica) was awarded for being a pioneer in the field of entrepreneurship. Guest speaker Adam Stewart encouraged the entrepreneurs present to work to rectify the problems affecting the country themselves instead of depending on foreign aid. “Jamaica is ours. No one else is going to fix our problems as they are ours to fix,” he said. Stewart, the CEO of Sandals Resorts and deputy chairman of the ATL Group, advised the young entrepreneurs to go into businesses that have the ability to generate cash flow, adding that profit is not a bad word as a solid bottom line is vital in running a business. He also emphasised the importance of education in the development of the country, noting that businesses can play a part in this as the value they generate and their taxes should be reinvested in the people of the country to drive development. Stewart also urged the audience to give back. “Ask yourself, what are my tools and how can I use them to help others?” he said. “Philanthropy is easy. Get out of bed and decide to make a difference and do it.”
jamaican politics gives business
a social media lesson W
hile Jamaicans in the Diaspora remain unsuccessful in their lobby for voting rights, this election could see them having a larger influence on the outcome of the election due to their dominance of local internet and social media activity, a trend that could also influence consumer spending. Jamaicans in the United States alone account for roughly half of traffic to local news sites. This can be explained by the Diaspora’s reliance on the internet to keep up with events back home where there is a relatively lower level of access to the Internet. Meanwhile, events in Jamaica are going viral increasingly fast, not least the recent Vybz Kartel jailbreak hoax, which broke into the top 10 trending topics on Twitter worldwide. “Social media allows the message to go out to the Diaspora and then reflect to Jamaica because the Diaspora is influencing the local voter. A lot of these people here, while they are not internet savvy, when they are on the phone to their family, their families are telling them what they have been reading online,” said Trevor Forrest of 876 Solutions and Internet consultant to the JLP told Your Money eZine.
Julian J. Robinson, the People’s National Party’s candidate for South East St Andrew, has been making ample use of Twitter and updating followers about his campaign. He agreed that the Diaspora will play a role this election, as previously, but was more cautious than Forrest. “I know that a lot of people who follow me are abroad and yes they are informing their family members here. I think it will have an impact, but whether it will affect us electorally is a different question,” said Robinson. While Forrest has no web analytics or statistics available to quantify the Diaspora influence, he believes there could also be a direct link with remittance spending – total inflows accounted for US$171 million in September, 2011. He suggested that a Jamaican abroad could use not just informed debate but also their remittances as leverage to persuade an otherwise reluctant relative to vote for one party or another.
It is a lesson, he believes, that could apply to local businesses seeking to reach the Diaspora with hopes of directly or indirectly influencing consumer spending; just as political parties might want to use online and social media to persuade persons to donate. With the PNP and JLP close in the polls, both parties are competing more keenly online than during the 2007 election. Besides Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts they have relaunched their websites, are webcasting live video from rallies (in addition to YouTube) and have even beaten media houses to launching an Android mobile app – already widespread among the Diaspora but not yet in Jamaica.
• Parties have learned they can avoid their message being ‘distorted’ via the ‘media filter’ and instead interact directly with members of the public. • Political parties are increasingly challenged by younger, undecided voters who they cannot reach via ‘traditional media’ but can be engaged via their preferred social networks. • A social media policy is essential to guide best practice and stay ‘on message’ with an entity that has many accounts – like a political party with individual accounts for different candidates. • An entity’s website and social media accounts are increasingly seen as credible sources of information and a source of news by journalists and members of the public. • Uniform social media account names (e.g. adding PNP or JLP to the account name) will help signify a genuine party account – people have long impersonated Jamaican politicians via social media and could do so to your business. • Likewise it is prudent to quickly register your business on new social networks; otherwise someone else might take your name and use it.
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