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Expo’s ‘Jamaicanness’ wows PSOJ boss

Published:Saturday | April 21, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Mr and Mrs Gottgens (left) showcase their product, umium coconut chocolate spread, to (from left) David Martin, director, Jamaica Manufacturers' Assocation; Howard Mitchell, president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica; Dr Peter Phillips, leader of the opposition; and parliamentarian Peter Bunting at Expo Jamaica 2018 yesterday.

While expressing his joy at the quality of the products being displayed by small entrepreneurs at Expo Jamaica 2018, Howard Mitchell, president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), has urged them to demand more from the government in a bid to expand their reach.

Speaking with The Sunday Gleaner during the third day of the Expo yesterday, Mitchell said that there were many established business owners who were willing to offer help and advice to these start-up small businesses.

"My advice to them is to pressure the Government and to work with those big businesses that are willing to allow them to piggy back on the international market," said Mitchell.

"Take advantage of the opportunities that the State has offered. I think they are making an effort to now assist small businesses as I believe there's a growing awareness of that.

"Pressure the Government to do more because the (small business operators) can't do it without help. I certainly feel that's what we need to be doing. We don't need to try and reinvent the wheel, we need to learn from the experiences of others," added Mitchell.

The PSOJ boss argued that if enough is done to take advantage of the country's niche products, Jamaica can experience exponential growth in all sectors.

"I think in terms of the depth and the complexity of the exhibits, manufacturing is moving. What I also like is the 'Jamaicanness' of the exhibits. The fact is that a nation that does not produce of its own is not going to make it. This is a good start," said Mitchell.

"Another thing that I'm really appreciative of is the small businesses. We have to broaden the base, 12 big companies alone can't do it. We have to diversify the products and we have to take advantage of the niche values that we have," he continued.

Mitchell added: "We cannot compete in large-scale crops because we don't have large scale lands. Jamaica has a very high position in fine flavour profile. What we have to do to take advantage of those products and position those products at the high end of the value chain."

The Expo, which is being staged at the National Indoor Sports Centre and the National Arena, comes to a close today.


Yesterday Audley Shaw, minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries, Dr Peter Phillips, leader of the opposition, and Peter Bunting, member of parliament for Central Manchester, were among the scores of visitors to the show.