As a child, Mark Hart was exposed to the family business, and today, he is half of the brain thrust behind Caribbean Producers Jamaica (CPJ).
Established in 1994, CPJ is a member of the Hart Group of Companies, nationally recognised for the construction of the Montego Freeport. Initially in the apparel business, Hart produced attire for clothing giant Hanes and eventually operated several factories. After 10 years in the garment industry, he decided to focus on his education.
"Entering business school at the University of San Francisco, I was more focused on the ideas I would like to develop. My father had always been a strong influence, and having the benefit of his knowledge, I had a great deal of confidence and a clear vision of the path that I would take," Hart said.
After only one year of university, Hart decided to return to Jamaica on his mission as a businessman. Twelve years on, a thirst for more knowledge led him to reapply to the University of Miami. He struck up a close friendship with a psychology graduate student, Candace. A romance blossomed, and four years later, she accompanied him upon his return home in 1998. Marriage came a year later.
"The family business was a great learning experience, I was exposed to the accounting and financial sides. My father's early experience was similar to mine. He also left university after the first year and later became a successful entrepreneur," Hart said. When the garment industry began moving its production facilities to Latin America and China, Hart's focus changed. With founding partner Tom Tyler, they soon recognised that the increasing demand for international wines, spirits, and high-end food products presented an area of rapid growth for the company. Today, CPJ offers a "one-stop shop" for most internationally known brands and has firmly established itself as a preferred vendor to all the island's top hotels as national distributors for global brands. CPJ also operates a frozen beverages factory as well as a pasteurised liquid eggs manufacturing plant.
Hart says if you believe you can, you probably will as success can come quickly and easily or it may take awhile. "If you pursue your dreams and give them your all, you will have the best chance for success.