Wed | Jul 17, 2019

Editors' Forum | 'A dream come true' - Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative opens door for expansion of local businesses

Published:Wednesday | November 7, 2018 | 12:15 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer

For some of the eight Jamaican participants in the most recent Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI), being selected for the programme came as no surprise as they believed their business strategies had an international appeal.

"The YLAI selection came as not much of a surprise to me because I was confident that the business and the approach that we have to include artisans is something that, once given the right support, can make an impact on people's lives," said AndrÈ Robb, who is co-founder and CEO of Braata Box & Company, which curates items made by local artists for sale.

He was speaking at a Gleaner Editors' Forum held last Friday at the company's North Street offices in Kingston, which was attended by five other YLAI fellows.

The YLAI involves placing young business leaders in cities across the United States where they work in businesses similar to their own for a six-week period.

Robb, who stayed in Chicago, Illinois, said that the experience gave him a lot of insight.

"Seeing how they structure their day-to-day operations, I learnt a lot from that. What sits with me now that I am back and away from all the excitement of being in Chicago are the conversations I had with the fellows that I shared the city hub with from various countries in Latin America and the Caribbean," Robb said.

Another participant, Gavin Lindsay, co-founder of Jamaican tourist company Merit Holdings Limited, told the forum that he believes his selection was based on his company's growth strategy.

Lindsay said a partnership between his company and the overseas travel agency would soon be formalised.

"It was very rewarding because we have a couple of deals. We're in the process of signing for her (the travel agent) to work with me in Jamaica and The Bahamas, so I would say it was a very rewarding trip for me," Lindsay said.