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Diaspora market wide open for local businesses

Published:Monday | October 19, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Irwine Clare
Louis Grant
Bobby Clarke

With an estimated one million Jamaican nationals in the diaspora living in the United States, the market is wide open for local businesses looking to increase market share. It is against this background that New York-based Irie Jam Media Group has taken the bold step of presenting its Corporate Mixer at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston today, where company executives will provide an overview of their current media platforms and outline specific opportunities for businesses looking to get a foothold in the Caribbean Diaspora market.

Given the economic challenges and shifts in customer tastes, changes in traditional marketing activities are inevitable. Marketers are forced, now more than ever, to find creative ways to communicate with clients. Irie Jam Radio, with over 22 years of unbroken service to the community, is the main portal to the Caribbean diaspora in New York, and by extension, the tie in to markets of interest to businesses in Jamaica.

"There are tremendous economic opportunities for Jamaican businesses looking to market and promote their products and services in the diaspora," Bobby Clarke, chief executive officer of Irie Jam Media Group, told The Gleaner.

"Our goal is help local businesses and bright entrepreneurs step up their game and get even more exposure in the US," Clarke noted.

Local business leaders and entrepreneurs in Kingston have responded positively to the special call. Many have signed up to attend the mixer.

"We are excited to speak directly to the business community in Jamaica," Louie Grant, vice-president of Irie Jam Radio, said.

"This will be the first of many such events that we plan to host across the country that will provide media marketing solutions to companies. We are hoping that there will be important connections made and that new business opportunities and possibilities will emerge," he noted.




Irwine Clare, executive director of the Caribbean Immigrant Services, who earlier this month spoke at the 12th annual JN Outlook for the Future meeting in New York, said investment from the diaspora could be leveraged through improved links between local enterprises in Jamaica and investors/businesses in the diaspora, which he contends has not been happening at the level it should.

"We have not seen Jamaican businesses make that kind of inroad where they partner with Jamaican businesses overseas. I think the diaspora should be seen as more than a remittance source, as there are many businesses that need support to make inroads into the Jamaican market," he said.

Speaking at the same event, Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica President William Mahfood noted that his company had developed linkages with Jamaica-owned businesses in the US such as Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery, a franchise owned by Jamaica-born US entrepreneur Lowell Hawthorne.

As part of Irie Jam's presentation in Jamaica, one of its products, 'Moving Forward', the radio-show component will broadcast live for a few days from The Jamaica Pegasus.

"The programme format will feature interviews with a cross section of Jamaicans involved in commerce, sports, community philanthropy, politics, and youth," programme host Clare said.