START UPS Richard May and Echos: resonating success By: Andre’ Burnett
apAn idea is such that it persists as long as the holder of that idea wills it to persist. Near the end of the 20th century, a 21 year old Richard May had a 21st century idea that he and his brother, fellow director Craig, jokingly set up the structure for. The idea has been realized and Richard May speaks about the product of his hard work and ingenuity with a cool confidence usually exuded by a sage far more aged than the 33 Richard is. That idea, to the world is Echos Consulting Ltd, a company whose motto states proudly, “Fostering Sustainable Responsibility”.
While contending that his alma mater St. Elizabeth Technical High school is the best in Jamaica, Mr. May, a chemical engineer by trade, outlined his journey to entrepreneurship. “I worked for a Swiss company SGS Jamaica, a company whose responsibility lies heavily in the verification of shipped cargo, product quality”, related the husband and father, “I Richard May got introduced to the founder of Echos Consulting Ltd hotel industry through the SGS because the company started doing environmental audits”. Mr. May crossed sides when he was employed to the Sandals Group as their environmental manager mostly out of a desire to prove to the hospitality industry that it was possible to meet the standards set to them by the auditors. It was a point that was proven and after 10 years in the industry Mr. May decided that Jamaica and the world was ready for Echos. Echos took form in 2004 as a limited liability company in Antigua and was incorporated in Jamaica in 2007 where the company now calls home to its Caribbean wide operations. Mr. May serves as the managing director of the company which provides entities with assistance in developing environmentally sound and sustainable policies. With a resume that boasts Caribbean governments and international funding agencies Echos is well on its way to fulfilling May’s five year plan of being the premier com-
pany of the kind in the Caribbean. Mr. May shares with Startups his own unique perspective on overcoming the challenges of a small business which includes being very good at what he does.
even though Capital s to start Echos so al nd Sa at ok n io sit po structure. I did lo “I left an executive very solid income a e d th ha ely ll at sti I im t; DP but ult I was striking ou m Scotia and PS t fro no s e an sir lo de s e es th sin of into small bu me because ca et ck po of t ou hos ” decision to start Ec mate such as this. in an economic cli g in yth an e ow to ts are, identify The Startup t who your contac ou ng di fin ate s th on m all of your corpor “Spend the first 6 ing into, develop y go ad re re u’ e yo ar t u ke yo ar one call which niche m make that first ph u yo en wh at th material so ocks.” to fly out of the bl acts, between Marketing and industry cont th ou m y of rd wo en the hotel industr “Marketing has be s of experience in ar e ye ar 16 we e d ar se sh siness is focu Craig and I, we majority of our bu of e e er sid wh ut is O is th et. at dg and given th y marketing bu nstraint of a heav business.” able to slip the co needed source of h uc m r he ot an e id that referrals prov from the two diLabour employees apart e tim ll fu serin ted es all company, the “We are not inter etary. We’re a sm cr se ts. I ny an ult pa m ns co co e ctors and rectors and th offered by contra to be g y in sil try ea p n sto ca r ey fe th vices we of hired full time e ar le op By . pe em en th wh ove have noticed that company to impr s and rely on the selves more lve se em th em e th ak e m ov to pr g im nstantly tryin co e ar o ible people wh ss rs po cto st using contra ents with the be cli r ou e id ov pr to viable we are able their disposal.” nt information at rre cu t os m e th th wi
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BUSINESS LOUNGE Googling China: Search Engine Company threatens to pull out Your Money Reporter: Andre Burnett
obody starts a company simply for it to be adored by masses unless that warm fuzzy adoration can be turned into cold hard dollar signs written in black at the bottom of a balance sheet. This was the realization that struck many fans of popular search engine, Google, when the company announced that it was about to follow the lead of competitors, Yahoo and Microsoft, to yield to censorship in order to get a piece of the large chunk of cyberspace that is traversed by the Chinese daily. This was in 2006 when Google claimed “We’re in this for the long haul” and four years later a release on Google’s blog has announced that the company may pull out of China due to rising restrictions on free speech and a series of alleged hacker attacks which took place in Mid-December.
Search statistics from 2009 shows Baidu’s market share increasing from 75.6% to 77% from the second to the third quarter while Google’s share dropped 2% to 17% for the corresponding period. Would this be an easy market for Google to give up, cutting losses and at the same time reclaiming some of the lustre lost from its image? That’s something only a conspiracy theorist would come up with... or an accountant.
It would seem that a little of the dirt that was thrown on Google’s informal “Don’t be Evil” slogan, when many critics declared them hypocrites for bowing to China, $&/403&% has been cleared due to this uncharacteristic show of defiance to the Chinese government by a foreign company. Because of China’s rather large consumer base companies have accepted the stringent measures put forward by the communist government in order to get their share of the most populous internet market ignoring potential PR backlash. So is it that Google has used its Maps to locate their morals and commitment to free speech that they have pushed everywhere except China? The cheers of adulating bloggers everywhere supporting Google’s show of defiance is worth its weight in gold... well not really. Could Google’s reason for wanting to pull out of China have more to do with a struggling enterprise than its commitment to making sure the Chinese people can see pictures of Tiananmen Square without being filtered by Government censors? Well seeing that Google China has made almost no headway against domestic search giant Baidu in its four years of operation it wouldn’t take a cynic to think Google’s move was a little less than altruistic.
YOUR MONEY INSIGHTS
China: Bearing the burden? By: Andre Burnett
xport has been in the blood of the Chinese for millennia, most notably with the 7,000 mile Silk routes collectively known as the Silk Road which derived its name from the vast amounts of silk that China exported along these routes. Presently the world’s 3rd largest economy and looking to unseat the Japanese as number 2 behind the United States, China’s penchant for export has seen the demand for Chinese products worldwide skyrocket and a consequent boom in the building and manufacturing sectors of most populated country in the world.
es that China may have maxed out its capacity in terms of overproducing in areas where demand has stalled. Jim Chanos is a respected voice since he has become famous for predicting downfalls and betting accordingly but it must be noted also that as a short seller it is in his best interests to cause speculation in the market and make money off the market. But could it be that where there is smoke there is… a bear?
In 2009, China’s total exports exceeded $1.3 trillion surpassing Germany as the world’s largest exporter symbolizing the ability of Chinese manufacturers to still maintain attractive prices amidst declines in global demand due to the grating economic slowdown. Detractors will be quick to point out that the pegging of the Chinese Yuan (or renminbi) against the US dollar helped to keep the prices of Chinese exports down and as such created a leveraged situation for China. Regardless, China is number one and that is now indisputable yet there are shadows of unrest about China’s performance. A popular refrain to the common “more money more problems” complaint is that the problems that money brings are a lot more welcome than the ones that a lack of money presents. In that vein, governments of many countries would love to have the problem of too much manufacturing if there is such a thing. The economy is booming, never mind the fact that it is still one of the poorest countries in the world, so why has there been such fretting about the state of the red giant, most recently Jim Chanos’s ranting. Jim Who? Well, Chanos is probably the most well known of a little appreciated class of investors known as short sellers. Chanos made millions when he bet against the seemingly too good to be true financials of famous implosions such as Enron and Tyco. He has been in the news recently stating that China will be “Dubai x 1000” which will collapse because of its high government investment in unsustainable infrastructure and appearanc-
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January 13, 2010