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tech now

HEART Geeks OUT

new college offers robotics, game design and more

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obotics fanatics and gameheads, rejoice! If you’ve ever harboured the dream of making robots or developing the games that capture the world’s imagination and rakes in the money (without leaving Jamaica), reality may be closer than you think. The HEART College of Innovation and Technology (HCIT), formerly the Caribbean Institute of Technology, has partnered with CISCO Systems, Sun, Oracle, Microsoft and IBM to offer certificate, diploma, undergraduate and post graduate diploma programmes in Robotic Technology, Gaming Technology, Mobile Application Development, Software Design and Development, Multimedia, Networking, Network Security and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Technology is a hands-on field, so get right into the thick of things with HCIT’s three signature elements, all designed to shape entrepreneurs: Productive Enterprise, which facilitates practical, industry-based training in a real life business environment; the Internship Programme will provide on-the-job learning and the Incubator Programme will help entrepreneurs set up and grow their businesses. HCIT also features INNOVEC, a business development centre offering full-scale technological services including website development, customised software packages, graphics and multimedia services.

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Philanthropy in action

The LAJ Foundation

Helping Inner-city Youth Advance

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here are people who ‘give back’ to their communities and then there are those like Kalpesh Patel who make social responsibility their business. He started the LAJ Foundation in 2009, while studying Finance at the University of Miami and since then, has worked tirelessly to help alleviate the effects of poverty on Jamaican students. So far, LAJ (Love.Altruism.Justice) has contributed to the Pauline Gentles Basic School and the Liberty School at the Priory, donating books and supplies. Computers were also donated to the Swallowfield Chapel’s Youth Reaching Youth organization and scholarships were awarded to two deserving students. What motivated you to start the LAJ Foundation? It’s hard to describe how I exactly got involved in charity, but the easiest way to put it in words is to say that as I drew closer to God, I began to feel commissioned to help others who were not as fortunate, especially those who had not been given opportunities in life to reach their full potential. After a few brainstorming sessions and conversations with friends and trusted advisors on how I could help, at 20 years old, I decided to start the LAJ. I was not sure where LAJ was going to go, but I decided to go out on a limb and trust God. What are some of the Foundation’s most recent projects? The first was the realization of a two year project in the donation of computers to Jamaican inner-city schools, which was a huge success. The second, I am really happy with, is the creation of an event dubbed “The LAAJ” (a variation of a Sindhi word meaning ‘simple’)…

Kalpesh Patel Co-Founder and President of the LAJ Foundation

“I was not sure where LAJ was going to go, but I decided to go out on a limb and trust God.”

How can Jamaicans get involved? I want to have another LAAJ event next summer. If we can raise JA $90,000 in eight days, then we can raise a few million with some organized planning, I have no doubt… Also, once we make the official switch over to JAMPACT, Jamaicans and everyone else who is interested in assisting can donate money online via credit card… If we can create a platform for assessing and showcasing the needs of the country, identifying solutions to these problems and then creating an environment for people to get involved through monetary donations, volunteering, etc., I think we will have a powerful entity that will contribute to the welfare of many underprivileged Jamaican youths. Find the LAJ Foundation on:

We hosted a hybrid banquet /club party which raised J$90,000, despite the fact that we only planned it in eight days. What are you working on now? We are currently working towards merging our operations with JAMPACT, a Jamaican non-profit organization based in New York City. This would be a great union as JAMPACT is well established and has been around for 10 years. The idea is that both organizations will work together in the realm of educational development to raise funding for scholarships. We are currently in stage three of the merger process, – so pending a JAMPACT board approval, the partnership should take effect later this fall.

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Business Lounge Real Business. Real Talk.

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all hail the king

how a friendly cookout became the newest player in jamaican fast food by Tracey-Ann Wisdom Photographs by Warren Buckle


business lounge

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t’s the tail end of the 12-to-2 pm lunch hour block on a Tuesday afternoon and the Oaklands Plaza WingKing outlet is quiet and mostly empty, disturbed every now and then by a loud buzzer as customers come in to place their orders. The small, tidy waiting area doesn’t have space for dining, but customers can use the communal eating area outside. This is a marked contrast to the constant bustle that characterizes the flagship Liguanea branch, located in the Sovereign Centre food court. But don’t worry. By the time Friday evening rolls around, you won’t be able to find breathing space inside. A wing and a prayer Jamaicans love food and they love chicken, so co-founders Christopher and Marsha Morgan were definitely on to something when they launched WingKing at Sovereign Centre in January 2011. Christopher says his chicken wings and signature sauces were the talking point at a Christmas Eve 2009 get-together for 20 friends and members of the Go for God Family Church, which he pastors. These gatherings soon became weekly events as word travelled, and the couple found themselves catering for up to 100 diners, even making deliveries. They eventually began charging to cover their costs and as the number of customers continued to increase, Christopher got the chance to fulfill his longtime dream of opening a finger food restaurant. Fast food restaurants are basically a dollar a dozen in Jamaica, particularly in the teeming Kingston and St. Andrew metropolis, but WingKing has not only cornered a niche - it has mass appeal, from residential customers hosting parties to hungry high school and college students on budgets. Wings aren’t exactly new ei-

Christopher and Marsha Morgan Founders of WingKing

“We’ve been really demand-driven the entire time. We never went and invested millions of dollars and then started; we started over a period of time and saved and reinvested and saved, so it’s a blessing.” ther, as at least two other fast food chains have them on their menus; but it’s the sauces that make these wings different. WingKing makes 14 ‘top secret’ sauces, including the original ginger, garlic parmesan and lemon pepper flavours, plus the top selling guava jerk and novel straw-

berry barbeque. They also offer boneless wings (chicken breast tenderloin) and up next is ‘lollipop chicken’, which is meat pulled back from the bone to resemble the namesake confection. “[W]e’re coming out with lots of sides that can go with it, so we do macaroni and cheese balls, rice, coleslaw, rolls, and we want people to fall in love with our sides as well,” Christopher said. Baby steps WingKing’s success thus far has been based on the sheer volume of demand, which led to the opening of the Oaklands store. “The Sovereign store, we’re in an agreement with Jimmy’s Ice Cream Shop, so it’s kind of a half a shop, but we’re doing great sales,” Christopher explained. “This is our first store by ourselves, but it definitely isn’t the last!” yourmoney ezine


business lounge

From Left: Damion McKenzie, Manager; Sasha Gordon and Michael Whyte, Cooks; Rojay Lalor, Cashier with Christopher and Marsha Morgan at the Oaklands Plaza WingKing outlet.

Certainly not. But the Morgans are approaching their expansion plans somewhat cautiously. “It’s not only going to be wings once we… move into a store that can facilitate growth in terms of product development,” Christopher said. “The dream is to be everywhere, and the plan is now beginning. We’re kind of taking our time, but we have wonderful opportunities, great options. Half-Way Tree is a great place. Portmore central is a very good place. We can’t go down there unless we’re ready though, can’t go to Cross Roads unless we’re ready.” In other words, the plan is not simply to have a number of small outlets all over the place, but to open facilities large enough where customers can enjoy a full dining experience. They are also focusing on further expanding the product range so that when opportunity knocks to go into other locations, they will be ready. “The plan

now is we want to have a larger centralized store in one of the major areas, like a Half-Way Tree, Cross Roads or New Kingston. It would be good to have that by early next year,” he added.

movements towards Portmore and the north coast, like going to Falmouth and then Ocho Rios and Mo-Bay. We’d set up in Falmouth and then provide for both regions on the north coast.”

“The dream is to be everywhere, and the plan is now beginning.”

‘Best New Food Innovation of the Year’ One interesting aspect of the Morgans’ success story is that neither Christopher nor Marsha has much experience in the culinary arts. However, Christopher spent many of his teen years working at Pizza Hut and other fast food restaurants overseas, even making it to a managerial post while “just goofing off.” But experience or not, he certainly knows his way around a kitchen, as demonstrated by the tasty success he has concocted in less than two years of operation. He has also won the 2011 Observer Food Award for ‘Best New Food Innovation of the Year’, which, he said, has helped to garner respect in the restaurant industry.

Capital is also an issue to consider. So far, the Morgans have managed to open both branches without taking a loan, using what they make from sales to run the business. They are hoping to continue this model when they start to open additional outlets. “We’ve been really demand-driven the entire time. We never went and invested millions of dollars and then started; we started over a period of time and saved and reinvested and saved, so it’s a blessing,” Christopher stated. “It would be good by summer to have

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business lounge

Corporate Governance and the junior Market

contributed by NCB Capital Markets LTD

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he issue of good corporate governance has received little attention locally, despite its importance in equity investing. As companies transition from being privately held to being publicly traded, the need for a good corporate governance framework becomes even greater. The Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Junior Market has welcomed 10 new companies between January 2010 and now, while the imminent listing of the highly sought-after General Accident Insurance Company Limited will bring the number of listed companies up to 12. Local investors have jumped at the chance to buy into these companies: all listings have been oversubscribed, with the most recent being oversubscribed by over J$575M. Despite strong interest, it is likely the case that most investors have not given much thought to the issue of corporate governance. Investors in emerging markets tend to place greater focus on returns rather than the governance framework within which companies operate, despite

Despite strong interest, it is likely the case that most investors have not given much thought to the issue of corporate governance. the fact that the absence of a solid governance structure could adversely impact a company’s long term performance. As such, the need to develop and adhere to a proper corporate governance framework should not be ignored when investors purchase equities. What is Corporate Governance?

Effective corporate governance allows transparency in disclosures regarding performance, risk and a company’s financial position, protecting the shareholders’ rights and interests. Governance has two levels: at the regulatory or legislative level,

it entails the requirements stipulated by law and regulatory bodies, while internal governance standards adopted by individual companies are intended to support these regulatory requirements. Junior Market and Concentrated Ownership

Despite having the opportunity to raise between J$50M to J$500M in equity capital at Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), Junior Market companies have so far raised an average of $125M, which results in little equity dilution and allows them to retain considerable ownership despite their now public status. Currently, with only one exemption, Junior Market listings are closely held as founders and connected parties retain at least 80 per cent of outstanding equity. This cripples the ability of minority shareholders to influence the direction of the company through active participation, and the enactment of resolutions is limited because shares are not widely held. Minority shareholders operate at the behest of majority shareholders. yourmoney ezine


business lounge

Local companies still have much work to do in developing and implementing proper governance standards. Notwithstanding this, the Junior Market has performed creditably considering the 60.82 per cent year-to-date return on the Index. However, the importance of corporate governance cannot be discounted as the long term performance of these companies may be adversely impacted if governance issues are not clearly addressed. While short term returns are undoubtedly desirable, the absence of strong governance could have negative implications on long term returns considering that governance and performance are the yin and the yang of successful organizations.

Junior Market Rules

However, the fact that most Junior Market companies are closely held does not automatically translate to weak governance, as Junior Market Rules 503 and 504, plus company level governance standards should assist in strengthening the operating framework. Rules 503 and 504, which speak to Mentor Requirements and Board Level Requirements add some element of structure to the operating frameworks of the companies and assist in addressing possible violations that could arise from concentrated ownership. All Junior Market companies must have a Mentor who acts as a compliance advisor to their respective Boards. The Mentor’s duties and responsibilities include establishing procedures and controls to ensure compliance. Among them: holding regular Board meetings, establishing Board committees (Audit and Remuneration), good fiscal discipline and adhering to Junior Market Rules. While the mentor’s duties and responsibilities assist in forming a good base for governance, the requirements set by the Junior Market are limited and are not as well articulated as the rules of international stock exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Given the less-than-comprehensive nature of the Junior Market’s regulatory standards, the strength of governance rests with the internal standards established by individual companies. The less-than-favourable framework existing in these companies allows for contravention of best practice standards. One such standard recommends that 75 per cent of the Board be independent and that the roles of CEO and Chairman be separated, but at least one company currently violates the latter recommendation and no company has appointed a truly independent director. Non-executive directors are not necessarily independent as individuals in this

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category may be connected through family ties, which is an observable trend on the Exchange. Sub-committees such as Audit and Remuneration are intended to strengthen the company’s operating framework. The independence of members is an important factor in evaluating the degree to which these committees are dedicated to achieving what is best for the company and its shareholders and to avoid improper influence by management and other insiders. The autonomy of the subcommittees could potentially be compromised if there are insufficient independent directors. In fact, in at least one company, two directors sat on both the Audit and the Compensation Committees, which undoubtedly opens up the possibility of an impairment of governance. yourmoney ezine


insights

Amazon Fires Up the Tablet Market

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he tablet wars have been freshly stoked with the arrival of the Amazon Kindle Fire. Naturally, it was immediately hailed as the next big potential challenger to the iPad. The 7-inch, full-colour device does pack a punch: At US$199, it is less than half the price of the Apple device, plus it’s smaller and simpler to use. But the real advantage is Amazon’s massive inventory – books, movies, television shows, audiobooks, software, games, apps and digital music, which makes the Fire a media consumer’s dream.

a savvy move as the magazine industry seeks to recapture its slipping market and grab ad dollars that are being moved away from print to digital publications.

The iPad is a one-stop-shop, offering the functionality of a desktop/laptop computer in addition to media services such as books, music, games and videos. These iPad apps are unique to Apple and there are thousands of them, but if apps are what you’re looking for, you can also get those with the Fire, which runs on the app-loaded Android platform. What differentiates the devices is that the Fire will focus strictly on delivering Amazon’s media services. Other tablets like the HP TouchPad and the Blackberry PlayBook have failed to even compete with the iPad because they tried to duplicate it. The Fire doesn’t even try: there are no cameras, no GPS, no 3G and only eight gigabytes of storage. By sticking to what it knows and appealing to its already huge customer base, Amazon has virtually guaranteed the Fire’s success.

The mission of the Fire might be different, but of course, any challenge to the iPad will no doubt be welcomed by Amazon principals, namely Jeff Bezos, the mastermind CEO behind the company’s tech revolution. Overall, despite the chatter, industry experts generally agree that the Kindle Fire won’t take away Apple customers but rather expand and diversify the marketplace.

Although it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the iPad, the Fire has ‘Silk’, the fastest browser in the tablet market. Silk is one of Amazon’s cloud-based technologies, and since many popular sites use its cloud services, downloading apps and other services is a breeze. It also runs Flash, which the iPad doesn’t - something users have bemoaned since that device was first launched.

Although these and other factors make the Fire a worthy opponent of the iPad, the device that is most in danger is the Nook, Barnes and Noble’s answer to the original Kindle. The Nook Color has been available since last October, the Fire will offer more than books and magazines and, at US$50 less, which will surely undercut that device’s sales.

By sticking to what it knows and appealing to its already huge customer base, Amazon has virtually guaranteed the Fire’s success.

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The Fire has also found favour with major magazine publishers like Condé Nast, Hearst Corp. and Meredith Corp., which has seen them partner with Amazon to make titles like Esquire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Martha Stewart Living and Glamour available on the device. It has been reported that Amazon was not averse to sharing customer information with the publishers, which Apple was reluctant to do, making them more competitive partners for the magazine companies. Partnering with the publishers is

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small biz accounts

with c&E Innovational services ltd. money management for the entrepreneur

“P

enny wise and pound foolish” is the phrase often used to describe someone who spends money foolishly. To prevent this, there are tools designed to assists business owners to practice good money management techniques. A key ingredient in operating a successful business, money management offers business owners insight about what goes into the company and what comes out. Poor money management can lead to hasty short-term decisions that may be beneficial at first, but costly in the long run due to unseen circumstances and long-term consequences. Two tried-and-true techniques are the use of a cash flow projection and a budget. Cash Flow Projection This shows the income and expenses anticipated over a specific period of time. It shows where you are and where you will be in the future. Regular review of your cash flow projection will enable you to: - See when problems are likely to occur and prevent them from happening - Identify any potential cash shortfalls and take appropriate action - Be aware of your financial status

For start-ups, a cash flow projection will give you a better idea of how much capital investment your business idea needs, whether it is a good credit risk and whether there will be enough cash on hand to make your business a good candidate for a line of credit or short term loan. Budget A budget is an itemized financial plan that shows both income and expense for a set period. Your budget can serve as: - An indicator of the costs and revenues linked to each of your activities - A way of providing information and supporting management decisions throughout the year - A means of monitoring and controlling your business, particularly if you analyse the differences between your actual and budgeted income.

Money management is a strategic technique employed at all levels of business. The idea of money management is to allow businesses to focus on all areas of the company’s operations and strategically implement measures that will ensure proper control of revenue and expenditure. To be on the safe side, seek professional help before making decisions that will impact your business in the long run, to prevent the “whys” and the “ifs”.

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start ups

Naomi Cowan

says, AddMe FollowMe

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aomi Cowan studied Radio and Television Arts (Minor in Law) at Canada’s prestigious Ryerson University, but she also has one keen eye trained on the ever-changing social media landscape. Her five-month-old New Kingston-based company, AddMe FollowMe, helps local businesses keep up with the times.

The idea was birthed from a conversation in August 2010 with one of my mentors, who encouraged me to utilize my passion and effectiveness in Digital Marketing and Social Media by creating a business venture out of it. Therefore, I recognized trends internationally, realizing that companies who fail to evolve have lost out on the opportunity to remain relevant to consum-

ers and can be easily surpassed by their competitors if they fail to sync a digital marketing strategy with their current marketing strategy. The internet and internet-connected devices have become so important in today’s world that I decided to start a company that is the source of ideas that solve problems for companies entering this space. We offer Digital Marketing strategy and campaign execution, Social Media Management services, Web Video/TV Production, Mobile/ Web Applications and Website Development. Our target customers are local and international brands, products, businesses and personalities who value the power and effectiveness of Digital Marketing. We worked on the Dream Entertainment Smirnoff Dream Weekend project this summer… It required consistent monitoring of the accounts; I actually brought on an additional team member to ensure that it was monitored and managed around the clock. Additionally, we had to ensure that there was Social Media presence at the Dream Events - the parties, Uber Fridays, etc. It was a lot of fun and we are thankful for the opportunity. The vision is to be the source of ideas that solve problems through Digital Marketing Strategy. AddMe FollowMe is creating a business solution that will seamlessly sync Digital Marketing Strategy with current marketing strategies.

by Tracey-Ann Wisdom Photograph by Warren Buckle yourmoney ezine


start ups

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Ways To Streamline Your Social Media Presence

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t can be hard to get a handle on the everexpanding social media landscape, especially if you’re just beginning to figure out what exactly the term ‘social media’ means. For the uninitiated, it can be loosely explained as the web of electronic communication tools (eg. blogs, Facebook, Twitter, foursquare and LinkedIn) that people use to share information. These vast networks are made up of unlimited potential customers, and many businesses now take to the internet to interact with their clientele, hoping to drive sales and cement rapport. Whatever the nature of your business, whether it is technology-based or customer service oriented, you could benefit from maintaining at least one profile on each network. However, it can become a bit difficult managing all these profiles simultaneously, so here are some tools to help you streamline your social media presence:

Seesmic Manage unlimited Twitter accounts as well as Facebook, LinkedIn, foursquare and Google Buzz accounts from a simple dashboard. Seesmic, another free tool, also publishes trending topics, making it easy to join popular conversations.

TweetDeck

Twitterfall

It’s easy to see why TweetDeck calls itself the ‘airport control’ of Twitter. This free platform lets you manage your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, foursquare and other profiles from one simple interface. You can see updates across feeds at once, tweet more than 140 characters and post links which are automatically shortened.

Twitter is the online equivalent to a market on Saturdays, so you’ll need some help wading through the constant swarm of tweets to find those concerning your company. Twitterfall tracks mentions of your brand, offering useful information that can help with your social media marketing efforts. It has a long list of features which, for instance, allow you to curate your tweets or those mentioning your brand, block spam, find details behind trending topics and map where your mentions are coming from.

Actionly

Hootsuite Hootsuite also lets you manage multiple profiles, but it goes beyond the basics to let you schedule messages, manage multiple users and assign tasks, as well as monitor your social media impact with analytics reports. Hootsuite has a free basic version, but you have to pay for the more advanced features.

This multi-dimensional tool allows you to manage your Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Youtube, Google Buzz, plus blog and news accounts. Going beyond that, you can also create custom searches to find out what customers are saying about your brand online, assess your company’s social activity and connect to Google Analytics to measure return on investment. You can test-drive Actionly for a week, but full plans will cost you between US$20 and US$100 per month.

Threadsy If your company has several email accounts in addition to a social media presence, Threadsy’s easy-to-use dashboard will help you access everything from one place. This is another free platform, but best of all, it doesn’t require a download, saving space on your hard drive. yourmoney ezine


y-Follow

reasons to follow

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he social media landscape is a congested space these days. Everybody – major companies and brands, celebrities, consultants and the like – is trying to get your attention, but not everybody warrants hitting that ‘Follow’ or ‘Like’ button. With our exciting new section, we’ll wade through the bulk of information and recommend companies and industry persons who we think deserve to get that ohso-important follow or like.

Tech on the brain. Kingston Beta unites some of the most forward-thinking players in the Jamaican and Caribbean technology industry with the aim of encouraging technological entrepreneurship. The bi-monthly events have spawned 70 startups during its four-year existence. Get on the road to digital rock stardom. Got what could very well be the technology business idea of the century but no capital to make it a reality? Sign up for BETA Pitch! and share your plan with angel investors and others who can help you get started. Kingston BETA is aimed at local and regional players, but if you live overseas, you can still sign up for BETA Pitch! and participate as long as you are of Caribbean descent. Learn the ropes. Get great business advice from those who have been there and done that. And if you are already a digital rock star, share your knowledge with the up-and-comers. Network gold. Get a chance to join the right business circles by hobnobbing with the movers and shakers - entrepreneurs, investors, developers, designers, bloggers and other tech junkies. It’s FREE. Need we say more?

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Your Money eZine  

October 2011 Issue