Sun | May 24, 2020

Growth & Jobs | Develop strong networks – Jarrett

Published:Tuesday | January 21, 2020 | 12:00 AM
Jeffrey Smikle, one of three principals of Toad Stool Jamaican Gourmet Mushrooms, shows Earl Jarrett, CEO of The Jamaica National Group, some of the products displayed on the company’s Instagram page. The company is based in Hatfield, Manchester. Smikle and his business partner, Peter-Gaye Tyrell, were part of a round-table discussion hosted by JN Bank recently to engage youth on several issues.

One of the country’s premier financiers, Earl Jarrett, chief executive officer of The Jamaica National Group, has encouraged young entrepreneurs to spend time nurturing their networks as it is vital to rooting their start-up operations and creating opportunities for their business.

The business leader was speaking to some 25 young entrepreneurs from different parts of the country during a rap session recently at the JN Bank Half-WayTree branch in St Andrew, as part of JN Bank’s collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Information.

“One thing I have discovered, over the years, is that a network is more valuable than gold,” he said.

“With a network of people, you can call upon them to help you to think things through. To help to access people, both locally and internationally, is of great value, and, you should invest some time in building that network,” he said, encouraging them to network among themselves and to organise.

“In my life, it has always a network that has pulled me along,” he mused, as he told the story of his own rise to success.

However, the JN Group CEO also stressed the importance of maintaining a core set of values and ethics, as the single unit around which one establishes a network.

“You should always stick with a set of core values and work the network,” he said, telling the story of his relationship with Desmond Blades throughout the ‘90s at the Musson Group and his eventual calling to The Jamaica National Group.

Jarrett noted that a good means of building one’s network is through volunteerism.

“Volunteer for something that is beyond yourself because by so doing, you’re going to meet a lot of great people who will help you along,” he advised.

He made the point that creating networks also provides opportunities to obtain capital investment beyond financing from traditional sources, as there is opportunity to attract investors.

The JN Group CEO highlighted other characteristics and capacity young people should also work to build to be successful. He noted that while Government is putting in place the policy framework through the introduction of the MSME Policy and improved bankruptcy laws, among other regulations and guidelines, young people should maintain a high level of confidence, as it will assist in their recovery from setbacks.

“Insolvency laws and rules have been put in place so that when you fail, as you will sometimes, it’s not a permanent failure, but one from which you can bounce back because, as you know, most successful businesses came out of trial and error, failure and restarting; and it’s your personality and confidence level that will keep you going because you’re not going to hit the jackpot in round one.” he advised.

Advantage of youth

He noted that young people have the advantage of youth, and should, therefore, use the opportunity to absorb and understand fully the opportunities created by the current policy change and use their capacity and numbers to advocate for further changes.

“Use your leverage to influence the Government to put in policies and change some of the old laws, which were all centred on property and assets, to laws that would encourage persons to leverage their own skills,” he said.

He reminded them that they have a voice, and they should use the media available to them to make it heard.

“Write letters to the editor. Write letters to your parliamentarians. Write letters to your senators. Use the medium available to you today that I never had, which is social media.

“The president of the United States of America gets the world’s attention at 4 o’clock every morning when he logs on to Twitter. You also have that opportunity. The world is really flat where access to the media is concerned,” he informs.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Alando Terrelonge, also encouraged young people to lobby their members of parliament (MPs) to move motions on their behalf in the Lower House.

In response to a concern posed by mushroom growers and business partners Peter-Gaye Tyrell and Jeffrey Smikle of Toad Stool in Manchester regarding antiquated laws, which they say have posing a challenge to their business’ growth, Terrelonge encouraged them to engage their MP.

He noted that beyond having the MP submit his constituents’ issue to Cabinet, the MP can also move a private motion in Parliament.

“Take, for example, this rather controversial law as it relates to abortion.

Juliet Cuthbert Flynn raised the private members motion because there were women and young girls in her community who were dying,” he said.

“If it’s a concern in the nation’s banking interest, that is something that the Ministry of Finance can in fact, look at,” he concluded.