Tortuga shares the business of baking on school tour
Tortuga opened its doors to teachers and students of Camperdown High School to share its rich history, business model, and innovations in manufacturing through a Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) outreach initiative.
On Tuesday, May 21, as part of the JSE’s 50th anniversary activities, the students visited the listed company’s plant near Cross Roads, Kingston, as part of an educational programme for secondary and tertiary institutions.
For Tracey Wynter, JSE depository services unit officer, the goal of this exchange for the students is two-fold.
“We are trying to get the students to have a broader understanding of the markets and the relevant players within the capital markets, and to be made aware of the products and services offered by listed companies, registrars, brokers and regulators,” Wynter said.
Jamaica Producers Group Ltd (JP), an established international specialty foods group, made a strategic investment in Tortuga International Holdings Ltd in January 2012.
The grade-nine students were allowed to tour the SQF Level II certified bakeryfacility under the guidance of Florence Reid, head of manufacturing. They were also able to sample the newly launched JP St Mary’s Banana Bread in the original flavour, baked at the Tortuga factory, after a short corporate presentation by Lorraine Brown, Tortuga purchasing and administrative officer.
“We embraced the tour as an opportunity to showcase the skill and productivity of a Jamaican-owned business so that this generation can see first-hand what an entrepreneurial exploit can blossom into,” said Jermaine Robinson, Tortuga’s regional commercial manager.
“Tortuga emanated from the entrepreneurial pursuits of its founder, Robert Hamaty, but today, it’s contributing to the growth agenda of our country. We are creating jobs and continuously investing in our nation,” Robinson said.
Robinson also said that introducing students to finance and best practices in business at an early stage serves as a great source of empowerment.
“We want students to get invested in business not only from an employee perspective but from a business owner’s perspective as well. How Tortuga came into being is the easiest and probably the coolest part. However, to become an award-winning international brand and product, in addition to becoming and maintaining a profitable business, takes much dedication. We hope we showed that to the students we met today,” Robinson said.
According to Janiel Jackson, business education teacher at Camperdown High School, she hoped her students walked away with higher business acumen.
“I hope they learnt about business models and processes, how to manage a business, as they got the opportunity to speak closely with the head of Tortuga’s manufacturing and are aspiring to work in a business organisation at her managerial level,” Jackson said.
She also emphasised the importance of reinforcing theory with practice.
“We teach business theory in the classroom, but the practical experience is better for them. And we often speak about value-added experiences. This is one, and it is always good for students to capture,” concluded Jackson.
Grade-nine student Paris-London Dennis soaked up quite a bit from the Tortuga experience.
“I enjoyed the tour of the facilities. It was fun. So many cakes, so many things happen before it gets into the box. Personally, my takeaway was they are many ways of processing food, but the most important thing is to keep your environment clean,” Dennis said.
The day of outreach began at the JSE, with a formal presentation to the group about the history, roles,and functions of the JSE and its subsidiaries. At the JSE, the group was exposed to trading, research and how brokers fit into promoting a sound financial eco-system.