Sun | Dec 17, 2017

Clarendon Youth Information Centre empowers entrepreneurs

Published:Thursday | November 23, 2017 | 12:00 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston
Melanie Wynter of iSpur and Jason Clarke of Idea Lab shared ideas on getting ahead.

Current and aspiring entrepreneurs recently enjoyed a one-on-one session with outstanding, young, emerging leaders in the business world. The seminar was held last Saturday at the Clarendon Youth Information Centre in May Pen.

The four panellists - Melanie Wynter, Kelli-Dawn Hamilton, Paul Stennett and Jason Clarke - held the audience enthralled as they opened up on taking risks, networking and capitalising on existing problems to base their business ideas on.

Melanie Wynter runs her company iSpur, which focuses on business development and assists entrepreneurs to navigate to success, using technology, sales and marketing to grow their business.

Kelli-Dawn Hamilton, who works with the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority, as well as a company she operates called Let's Assist, said the idea for her company came about after speaking with the head of a major corporation who didn't have the time to do some of what he wanted to. That led to her taking on not just that job, but working for other corporations with similar needs.

 

AGENTS OF CHANGE

 

Jason Clarke is the co-founder of Idea Lab, a company founded by himself and Sheldon Powe as a business incubator to fast-track the growth of small businesses, specifically those focused in technology. Clarke encouraged participants to be agents of change by looking at challenges that exist and how, as an entrepreneur, the challenges can be addressed.

He advised them to steer clear of copying what others are doing, but to be creative.

Paul Stennett, entrepreneur and host of the weekly podcast, 'The Transformation Blueprint', warned against procrastination in going after your dreams.

The question-and-answer session that followed the presentations gave entrepreneurs and prospective ones the chance to get added information. Questions ranged from opportunities for funding, coming up with a business idea, how to launch out, and making a success of the venture.

Youth empowerment officer at the centre, Chevelle Campbell, told Rural Xpress later that the idea to host the seminar came from wanting to help young persons in rural Jamaica to access information on starting and growing their businesses.

"This is especially since the need for entrepreneurship is greater in rural areas due to lack of job opportunities," she pointed out.

Campbell disclosed that since the seminar, she has been receiving significant positive feedback, as many participants said they had gained knowledge and insight.

"We have entrepreneurs who are saying that their eyes have been opened to ways of increasing their revenue. And persons starting up said they have a clearer understanding of where to begin," reported Campbell.