Wed | Sep 20, 2017

The future is bright for Jamaican entrepreneurs

Published:Monday | October 17, 2016 | 10:00 AMJanelle Oswald
Jennifer Bailey

A leading professor from a top university ranked "No. 1 undergraduate school for entrepreneurs in America" by U.S. News & World for the 20th consecutive time, has celebrated Jamaica's talent stating, "the future is bright".

Founder and course developer of Operations for Entrepreneurs, Jennifer Bailey, who is based at Babson College, a private business school in Wellesley, Massachusetts, shares her enthusiasm and applauds the unique talent coming from Jamaica.

A leading management consultant, who expertise includes operations management, project management, innovation management and entrepreneurship, Bailey tells The Gleaner why she is excited about Jamaica's innovative entrepreneurs.

"What excites me about entrepreneurship in Jamaica and the Caribbean is this opportunity to leverage our unique challenges and our indigenous resources to create globally competitive businesses."

Start-up businesses bring innovations, new jobs and economic growth, injects new competitive dynamics into the economic system and adds value of proactivity into the society.

Bailey continued, "There are a growing number of entrepreneurs breaking through traditionally complex industries or creating their own niche industries and putting Jamaica on the map. For example, Oral & Allison Turner, the co-founders of Turner Innovations, who have invented and commercialised a sorrel harvesting machine. Or Carol Lue, the founder of the CaribShare, a Jamaican start-up that produces biofuel from organic waste.

Both of these are complex technologies and industries. On the other hand, Kenia Mattis, the founder of ListenMi Caribbean, won a global start-up competition, based on her digital storytelling initiative, which creates culturally relevant content, such as 'League of Marooons', which is unique to our local history.

Bailey who has a PhD in operations management and lives in Boston, said, "Jamaicans are creative people. The information, technology and creative economies present an ideal opportunity to leverage our skills and talents."

Entrepreneural consultant

Revealing how she became an entrepreneurial consultant at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurs, Bailey explains it was all down to her entrepreneurial and networking luck.

"I attended the finale event for the NCB Capital Quest Reality TV show, where Jamaican entrepreneurs were competing for equity investment. I was invited by a close friend. At the event I met Lisandra Rickards, who is the programme director at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, who said the centre needed a course developer who could train in operations management for entrepreneurs and the rest as they say, is history."

A firm believer that you should "own your difference", Bailey what inspired her is that, "I don't think I made a conscious decision to become a woman in business. However, I do think attending an all-girls high school allows you to develop a strong sense of self-confidence and eliminates many of the internal biases and limitations, which as women we sometimes have, regarding possible career aspirations and options."

Her next trip to Jamaica will be to work with the iCreate Institute, an initiative focused on training the next generation of creative Caribbean entrepreneurs.

Bailey who spent her early professional years as a chemical engineer at Alpart bauxite processing plant in St Elizabeth, says, "The future is bright for entrepreneurs because they light up the pathway for Jamaican business. I am excited to continue working with our Caribbean entrepreneurs and creative people by offering additional workshops for entrepreneurs in the region and doing research in the areas of operations management and innovation management and entrepreneurship. "

janelle.oswald@gleanerjm.com