Sat | Nov 17, 2018

Five young entrepreneurs nominated for JCC Award

Published:Sunday | June 24, 2018 | 12:24 AM
Kimisha Walker
Naomi Garrick
Michael Steele
Alex Morissey
(From left) Naomi Garrick, Michael Steele, Alex Morissey and Kimisha Walker.
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The Jamaica Chamber of Commerce celebrates its 36th Annual Awards Ceremony, under the theme 'People, Purpose and Passion'.

This theme boldly envisages the mandate of the JCC, to connect Jamaican people to the passions that will fuel them to their ultimate purpose. This year’s award ceremony celebrates the people and companies that are excelling in their pursuit of purpose and who have blazed a trail in the areas of financial performance, business growth and innovation throughout the year.

Five young entrepreneurs have been nominated this year for the prestigious Entrepreneur Award and we caught up with them to get some details of their entrepreneurial journey.

MICHAEL STEEL - TIC Joan Duncan School of Entrepreneurship

1. How does it feel to be nominated by the JCC for this year’s Entrepreneur award?

As Head of the Joan Duncan School of Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Leadership (JDSEEL) in the College of Business and Management at the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech), the staff and students of this noble institution are honored to be selected for such a prestigious award. The School is the first of its kind in the English–speaking Caribbean, to not only offer a specialised B.Sc. Degree in Entrepreneurship, but also the first to host a Business Incubator under its aegis.

 

2. What does passion mean to you as an entrepreneur?

Passion means everything to the true entrepreneur and its no less for an institution like ours whose passion is to graduate students who are ready to start new business ventures rather than seeking to 'find work' after graduation. Not only have our graduates provided for their own employment, but in doing so, they have also provided employment for others.

 

3. What made you take the awesome leap into entrepreneurship?

JDSEEL’s leap into entrepreneurship took its genesis from the direction of our nation, as expressed in the Vision 2030 Strategic Plan, which outlined the important role of this tool in national development. Utech expressed that vision in its own strategic document, long before other tertiary institutions saw the light and hence the School of Entrepreneurship was started in August 2010.

4. What are some of the major milestones that you have experienced with your company thus far?

We (JDSEEL) have graduated four cohorts of students with B.Sc. Degrees in Entrepreneurship to date and almost 50% of these have started their own businesses. This is a most laudable achievement. In addition, graduates from the business incubator have received many national and international awards while also attracting major funding from investors.

5. What’s next for your business over the next five years?

Our next major steps involve increasing the number of graduates in the Entrepreneurship Program at Utech, thereby improving the educational level of our entrepreneurs (the lack of which is one of the factors contributing to the failure of some businesses) as well as using the business clinic to support the Nation’s thrust in technology.

6. What is the one piece of advice that you would share with other entrepreneurs to start their own business?

Do not be afraid of failure, because it comes with the territory! The only failure comes from the one who is not willing to take a risk and try out that new business idea.

 

NICOLE MCLAREN-CAMPBELL, FOUNDER, AIM Educational Services

 

1. How does it feel to be nominated by the JCC for this year’s Entrepreneur award?

We were surprised and delighted, given the high standard of the JCC and other nominees in the category. Also, we have been putting in a lot of work and it feels good to be recognised and we are now even more motivated to continue making a positive impact on the lives of youth.

2. What does passion mean to you as an entrepreneur?

This is one of the main qualities that every entrepreneur; regardless of age, or experience, must have. To truly succeed, its imperative that an entrepreneur follows a passion. It could be towards a cause or a new project, but passion is key.

3. What made you take the awesome leap into entrepreneurship?

I was a volunteer interviewer for Princeton University and during one of the interviews, I had a connection with one of the prospective students where she had the right grades and involvement, but her application was not put together well enough to be selected. It was this moment that inspired me to take the leap from my 9 – 5 job at the Ministry of Education, to pursue educational consulting full-time.

4. What are some of the major milestones that you have experienced with your company thus far?

Exponential growth of team, increase in services offered and the launch of the AIM Higher Foundation, geared towards assisting low-income families to afford college.

5. What’s next for your business over the next five years?

Expansion of the company across the diaspora, to not just impact the lives of students in Jamaica, but globally on a larger scale.

6. What is the one piece of advice that you would share with other entrepreneurs to start their own business?

Research and understand your market (this is something that you continuously need to check in on as the needs of your customer may change with time) and be ready to put in the hard work. Always remember that you are the designer of your life and If there are parts of your life that do not fit well, you can make adjustments as you live and learn.

 

 

ALEX MORISSEY - ESIROM

 

1. How does it feel to be nominated by the JCC for this year’s Entrepreneur award?

I definitely feel surprised and humbled to be nominated by the JCC for this year’s Entrepreneur Award. Knowing the small size of my business and this large platform that it is being recognised on, is truly a phenomenal feeling.

 

2. What does passion mean to you as an entrepreneur?

Passion is the energy that inspires and keeps us filled with meaning and fuelled with excitement. It is the ultimate driving force behind success and happiness. Passion is a core value that is applied to all areas of my life which inspires people to believe in the vision I have for Esirom. In relation to entrepreneurship, passion defines the quality of work delivered to my clients which is one of the most rewarding feelings.

 

3. What made you take the awesome leap into entrepreneurship?

I started my first online business when I was 18 years old. After 1 year, it was sold and I relocated to Jamaica where I worked in the Marketing industry for over a year. I was able to identify a need for reshaping Digital Marketing. An opportunity presented itself to bridge the gap between traditional Marketing and new media (digital). I was able to focus on becoming a pioneer in the digital agency space and be an unmatched provider to social media solutions for small to large businesses. It is absolutely important for me to continue using Digital Media as a platform to allow businesses with any budget to achieve their objectives.

 

4. What are some of the major milestones that you have experienced with your company thus far?

Expanding to the Asian market (Singapore and Indonesia) and overcoming cultural, language & different marketing strategy barriers. We are also Facebook & Instagram Certified, having an advanced-level proficiency with Facebook’s strategy and online advertising. In 2013 ESIROM executed the inaugural staging of the  Earth Hour concert, a first of its kind that marked the initiation of Jamaica's participation in the global movement. We were able to garner the support of over 3,000 patrons who enjoyed an evening packed with the natural mystic of live acoustic music and education about the greater cause.    

 

5. What’s next for your business over the next five years?

Over the next 5 years I’ve outlined three major objectives:

-To become known in the Caribbean as the ‘go-to’ agency for Digital Marketing.
-To grow market share in the Asian market while expanding to Europe.
-To continue to develop our corporate social responsibility programmes which includes: Making an annual contribution to environmental and youth empowerment programmes such as exploring the Bali Fellowship and the Scholarship programme at the Excelsior Community College School of Performing Arts.

 

6. What is the one piece of advice that you would share with other entrepreneurs to start their own business?

When starting your own business never be solely defined by your idea. A business should grow and evolve over time which means that you need to be very quick to adapt to changes in the market. In my own business, I constantly seek ways to improve quality, productivity and the environment for my employees because these are important in operating an effective business. Expand your knowledge bank with entrepreneurial books. Reading has been a very influential part of practicing success strategies of other entrepreneurs. Never limit yourself and always be open to the possibility of winning.

 

 

 

KIMISHA WALKER - ADAM & EVE DAY SPA

 

1. How does it feel to be nominated by the JCC for this year’s Entrepreneur Award?

It is always a humbling and rewarding feeling to be nominated. And having being nominated for the JCC Entrepreneur Awards, says to me that our company has been impactful in a positive way in nation building and gives me the drive to push even further to make this brand an exceptional one.

 

2. What does passion mean to you as an entrepreneur?


Passion for me means- what drives me to be creative, a strong desire and determination to achieve every goal set before me and a love for my business, staff and my clients that I serve.

 

3. What made you take the awesome leap into entrepreneurship?

I was born an entrepreneur and have always loved to cater to individual needs. So when my vision to open a Spa came into being, it felt natural to further fill a need of providing exceptional service offerings, a place for relaxation and also to make my mark in the beauty industry.

 

4. What are some of the major milestones that you have experienced with your company thus far?

There are so many. However, two such milestones that comes quickly to mind would be, being able to manoeuvre and expand through all the economic crises over the last 11 years and still remain profitable; to the point that we are able to project future plans of further expansion.

 

5. What’s next for your business over the next 5 years?

We are presently in a 5,000 sq ft facility; within the next two years, we are planning on doubling the size of the spa so that we can create a broad base collection of services that, when utilised together, can produce a significant economic impact in our community and country on a whole.

 

6. What is the one piece of advice that you would share with other entrepreneurs to start their own business?

For any entrepreneur, remember it’s not all about you. Team work makes the dream work; because there is no I in Team! Don’t ever procrastinate…GO FOR WHAT YOU WANT! Don’t let naysayers impact negatively on your vision. Always have a 'Positive Mental Attitude' (PMA).

 

 

 Naomi Garrick, Lead PR Chick, Garrick Communications

 

1. How does it feel to be nominated by the JCC for this year’s Entrepreneur Award?

Our initial reaction was a complete surprise and I can say that on behalf of the entire team at Garrick Communications, we are truly humbled and honoured to be nominated for the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce’s Entrepreneur Award for the 36th Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony. To be recognised and acknowledged in this way brings great pride not only to our immediate team, but to our suppliers, clients and members of our extended community that continue to support us and that have also been impacted by our work.

 

2. What does passion mean to you as an entrepreneur?

'Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you' – Oprah Winfrey.  When I think of passion as an entrepreneur, I think of this quote – for me passion means getting up and doing something you love every day. It means finding a way to inspire others, it means never giving up even when you come across major roadblocks, it means believing in something bigger than yourself.

 

3. What made you take the awesome leap into entrepreneurship?

My son was really the driving force behind starting my own business, I wanted the freedom and flexibility to be involved in his day-to-day activities while still being able to support my family financially. I also come from a very entrepreneurial minded family, both my parents are entrepreneurs and I’ve always admired the passion and dedication that they both put into their individual endeavours.  

 

4. What are some of the major milestones that you have experienced with your company thus far?

Just moving from a company of one to actually having an amazing team of PR Chicks that are equally as passionate about our brand, our clients and our company as much as I am, is very significant for me. A major milestone for us would also be that we recently moved into our new “GC Nest” which has already provided us with an opportunity to partner with one of our suppliers and gives opportunity for growth throughout our company.

 

5. What’s next for your business over the next 5 years?

Over the next 5 years we plan to increase our reach across the island and also in new countries as well as expand our service offerings through more strategic partnerships.

We also plan to launch our Garrick Communications Foundations that will focus on (2) major initiatives: Little Women – workshops for young girls and women living in inner city communities across the island, and The Nest – a safe place for young women transitioning from adolescence to the business world to develop the necessary skills to help them succeed in life.

 

6. What is the one piece of advice that you would share with other entrepreneurs to start their own business?

I would say follow your dreams, be intentional about your greatness and your purpose and never give up.  Learn from your mistakes and move forward.