Growth & Jobs | Alex Morrissey: Young entrepreneur extraordinaire
STARTING A full-service digital media agency was nowhere near Alex Morrissey’s mind when he obtained his industrial design degree from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in Florida.
Now, seven years in as a young entrepreneur, the founder and director of Esirom Limited finds fulfilment in providing a space where skills in the creative industry can be nurtured, while at the same time providing content creation and social media services to clients.
“Honestly, starting the company was never a goal; it was something that sort of happened, so the main struggle was figuring out how to run a business – what are the rules, what are the laws for doing so. In school, I never did any business subjects, so it was all new to me. Also, starting a business when you have zero income is a challenge,” Morrissey states.
Through pushing himself to constantly evolve and gather business knowledge through networking, he would overcome this challenge to run a successful digital media agency that operates not only in Jamaica, but also in Singapore and Indonesia, with connections in India.
In Jamaica, the agency offers its services of social media strategy, online brand development, social media management, advertising and online campaigns, content creation through photography and videography, 2-D and 3-D animation, and motion graphics.
“For Singapore, we basically do service work, so people contact us to do 2-D and 3-D animation services; and in Indonesia, we offer strategy, brand development, and also photography and videography. In Indonesia, we actually have a small team of four persons there,” Morrissey says.
“Last year, we began working with companies in India through the Jamaica Promotions Business of Sustainability for Studios Programme. Through that programme, we were able to go to several conferences in France, the United States, Croatia, and India as well. On a trip to India in March 2019, I met with about 20 or so companies and we selected five of them to start projects with,” he adds.
These projects, he says, included the development of an app, a software, a game, and a website for internal projects at Esirom.
So easy was the process of communicating and working with the Indian companies, it resulted in a consultancy and partnership agreement between the entities.
The staff of Esirom would receive training from India in the areas the agency wants to explore and outsource jobs to India, while the Indian companies would outsource jobs to Esirom as well.
RECOGNISED FOR OUTSTANDING WORK
The Indian companies were so pleased with the partnership and work of Esirom that they nominated the agency for what would be its biggest recognition to date – the Global Entrepreneur of the Year at the International Business and Academic Excellence Awards in October 2019.
“In September, we found out that we were selected and would be flown to Dubai where the awards ceremony would be held. The entire team shared in the celebrations for the award even though only one person could go to Dubai,” Morrissey says.
“It was another good networking experience. Everyone there was carefully selected based on their industry. They had about 50 different types of awards, and they were won by people from all over the world. We were the only company that won from the North American region,” he adds.
Esirom Limited has won other notable awards for its work, including the Entrepreneur of the Year from Jamaica Chamber of Commerce in 2018 and the Caribbean Advertising Federation’s American Advertising Awards – Silver Award for Consumer Website in February 2020 for their work on the ‘Guinness Celebrates Dancehall’ campaign.
“The best thing is that we work with a lot of great companies that give us the opportunity to experiment with digital media, because it is one of those platforms that you have to try things to see how people are going to react to it,” the founder and director of Esirom Limited states.
“Just because you like something internally doesn’t mean your customer is going to like it as well. Whenever there are new or emerging technologies that we learn at conferences, we apply it to those clients that are willing,” Morrissey says.
Some of Esirom’s clients include Reggae Sumfest, Seprod, Supligen, Smirnoff, Johnny Walker, Guinness, Baileys Irish Cream, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
While meeting the needs of its various clients, Esirom also facilitates giving back to the creative industry through its Bali fellowship.
“We actually select four Jamaicans and send them to Bali for two months on a cultural residency programme in one of the creative fields. So if they are writers, musicians, dancers, once it falls under creative and they meet the other criteria as well, they are eligible,” Morrissey informs.
He further informs that the fellowship is open to anybody in Jamaica between 22 and 29 years old.
Being able to meet the needs of their various clients is something Morrissey says would not be possible without his creative local staff of 15. He adds that creating a suitable work environment with flexibility is also important.
Morrissey advises other young entrepreneurs and business hopefuls to “make a plan, but prepare for that plan to change. Do not worry about the scary details, just break that plan down into smaller bits and tackle each one by one like a checklist, and remember, nothing is impossible”.