Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Made in Manchester...Female entrepreneurs building brand Jamaica

Published:Thursday | March 31, 2016 | 3:00 AMTamara Bailey
PHOTOS BY TAMARA BAILEY Owner of Aviola Accessories Melissa Preddie
Business partners of Chic La Vie (from left ) Collin Dyer and Suzan Ashton-Smith.
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MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

For years, women have been holding their own and securing their places as leaders and business operators across the globe sometimes with little to no recognition for their efforts, these women still prove to many why they are deserving of any accolade.

Just under 30 women were present for an expo held in the parish recently, dubbed 'Made in Manchester'- an event that targets female micro business owners.

The expo planned and coordinated by Annette Salmon of 20Twenty Strategies, brought together a wide array of businesses representing the areas of; art, decor, food, jewellery designs, consultancy and furnishings.

"It's a great start, for the first year. It's really good to see so many people showing initiative of a Jamaican perspective, creating stuff because let's face it, we can't import everything and we know how creative we are, look at our culture, this is the beginning of great things," said Kevin O'Brien Chang, guest speaker and CEO, Fontana Pharmacy.

He added: :We want to see Jamaica businesses prosper. It is important to look for openings in the market, things that are in demand that are not being supplied. Making products look professional and trying to have a story behind your products."

Chang promised to place the products of those interested on his companies e-commerce website as well as stocking products in his chain of pharmacies. He commended the women for a job well done.

"In this world, there are plenty talkers, but to get anything done, you need drive ambition and imagination. You are creating something, you are building Jamaica, our music can conquer the world so why can't our products."

With the EXIM Bank on board as the main sponsors, 25 of the women present were able to showcase their products under booths subsidised by 50 per cent of the actual cost.

Noting that their success is dependent on each other's support, Bridgette Barrett, owner of RADAR Consultancy Service encouraged her fellow colleagues to keep their goals in sight.

"Being female business owners is not an easy task, sleepless nights blood sweat tears, but at the end of it, it is a rewarding effort. I want to encourage you, despite the struggles, we should look at the light at the end of the tunnel and take comfort in knowing we are living our passion."

"We stepped out of our comfort zone, we left our 9 to 5 jobs, we have invested all the money in the bank and are broke, but we believe in what we do and we are committed to our product and services ... stay steadfast, remain focused and let's continue supporting each other," she charged.

rural@gleanerjm.com