A key player in the international animation industry is encouraging Jamaican youth to think seriously about starting their own local animation businesses.
President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canada-based Toon Boom Animation, Joan Vogelesang, said entrepreneurship is the way to go.
"Think in terms of being entrepreneurs and try to find a way to hook into that international network that is out there. It doesn't have to be a big company. It can just be two or three of you coming together," she advised.
Vogelesang was speaking on Thursday at the inaugural staging of the I Believe National Youth Consultative Conference held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.
The event, held under the patronage of Governor General, His Excellency, the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen, was geared at engaging young people on a number of issues, including employment, training, entrepreneurship, and education.
Vogelesang, who attended high school in Jamaica, said her dream is to see a vibrant and active animation industry established in the country and has vowed to work with the Government and other stakeholders to make this dream a reality.
Her company, Toon Boom Animation, is a digital content - and animation - creation software company present in more than 122 countries across the globe and has helped to develop major animation sectors in countries such as India.
Vogelesang said the US$222.8-billion animation industry continues to evolve, and there are endless opportunities for Jamaica to tap into the sector.
She cited GSW Animation Limited as a clear example of the possibilities available, pointing out that the local company recently landed its second major international contract.
She is, therefore, encouraging young persons with an interest in the industry to get educated and trained in the field of animation so they can take advantage of the many opportunities when they arise.
"We need to make sure that we can adapt to the quality and the timing of the industry. We need to develop qualified manpower based on the principles of animation because when the productions come in, we are going to need hundreds, if not thousands, of people, ultimately to fill the jobs that are going to be required in this sector," she said.
Vogelesang noted that technology has allowed animators to do business all around the world without having to leave their home country.
"So we can build a great and vibrant industry here with studios resident here, providing good jobs for young people right here at home," she noted.
Scores of young people from all 14 parishes, hungry for information on training and employment opportunities, turned out for the event, which forms a major part of the I Believe Initiative.