Mon | Sep 25, 2017

UWI student's stamina punch open doors to Brighter Life

Published:Thursday | January 19, 2017 | 1:00 AMShanna Monteith
Some of Sheldon Whye's Maratan Stamina Punch.
Sheldon Whyte with one of his products.
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WHITE HORSES, St Thomas:

Sheldon Whyte of White Horses in St Thomas is only 24 years old and already has his name on the title documents of a business.

Brighter Life Products is a food and beverage manufacturing and distribution company, which, if things go as Whyte plans, will employ scores of young people within the parish.

Whyte told Rural Xpress how his famous milk-based protein drink, known as Maratan Stamina Punch, opened doors for him.

"Things got tough financially in my second year at UWI (University of the West Indies) so I was looking for ways to make some extra funds to cover expenses. I was working on campus part-time, but I still couldn't make ends meet.

"One weekend, I went home to White Horses and I made some of the same Irish moss, oats and peanut beverage, for vitality amid my hectic university lifestyle. Friends and co-workers always beg some of the drink until I started to bring a bottle to sell, then few bottles, 'til I had a good customer base on campus," he said, adding that after selling up to 50 bottles per week, he came to the realisation that an increase in production would benefit him.

 

EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE

 

Whyte, who is pursuing a degree in biochemistry with hopes of transferring to medicine to one day fulfil his dream of becoming a cardiologist, explained that he had little to no knowledge of how to grow a business.

"So I took a course, Introduction to Entrepreneurship by Dr K'nife, and I did well. My mind-sight was awakened about my life purpose - an entrepreneur - plus I was struggling at the Faculty of Science and Technology. I started reading entrepreneurship books, sought mentorship from business people I knew, watched hundreds of YouTube videos of other entrepreneurship who struggled and are now moguls. Then I started to pattern these moguls' habits," he said.

With new-found knowledge and a better under-standing of how to go about building his business, Whyte replaced his usual repurposed liquor bottles with plastic containers labelled with his company's logo.

He revealed that subsequent to the registering of his business, Brighter Life Products' clientele tripled.

He said: "I took a loan from Progressive Microfinance Group (PMG) in 2015 to grow and officially established the business. PMG's Managing Director, Mrs Martinez, mentored me until I was chosen for the cover story for JAMFA's inaugural business magazine in August 2015. Seeing the early fruits of my labour, it pushed me to make Brighter Life Products achieve greater feats."

 

PLANS FOR FACTORY

 

Whyte, who works from home, told Rural Xpress that with his original product ready and more than 50 being tested, he is currently building a small factory in St Thomas which will be opened by the end of February.

The young entrepreneur expressed his love and respect for his parish, promising that he will play his part in its betterment.

According to Whyte: "I plan to start hiring especially underprivileged youth, after training them, by September coming. I love my parish. I'm strictly roots. Always proud fi seh I'm from St Thomas, but St Thomas has been neglected by government and private sector, so I am enthused to make Brighter Life Products HQ and major operations be in St Thomas, and a success overall to aid in the development of the parish.

"The company's slogan is 'Brighter Life Wi Seh', which conveys its mission to improve the quality of lives in Jamaica through my entrepreneurial endeavours. I have the philanthropic arm of the business to develop and give back in due time. We are the change that we have been waiting for."

rural@gleanerjm.com