Lanisia Rhoden founded Young Women and Men of Purpose (YWOP/YMOP). For over a decade, this non-governmental organisation has empowered young men and women to Realize, Embrace, and Achieve their Purpose (R.E.A.P.). The R.E.A.P. movement encourages young men and women to embrace their unique talents and abilities to achieve their goals.
The Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, Manchester, hosted the R.E.A.P. entrepreneurship conference in February 2023. This capacity-building project is geared towards the holistic development of at-risk youths in the parish of Manchester. One participant, Rachel Banton, said the Canada Fund for Local Initiative (C.F.L.I.) funded programme “…was inspirational. I left with a renewed mind, knowing that the word ‘impossible’ was merely a diversion to hinder me from attaining wealth and prosperity.”
The entrepreneurial spirit was unleashed as young men and women gathered for a purpose-driven conference to mark the end of a successful programme. Correspondingly, the speakers and networking opportunities throughout the conference inspired the attendees to continue their entrepreneurial journey. The event was a treasure trove of knowledge from successful entrepreneurs sharing their stories of overcoming obstacles. The experts also provided insight into the latest trends and strategies.
Ignite Young Men and Women
After the greetings by the Honourable Garfield Green, visionary leader and entrepreneur Odetta Rockhead-Kerr gave the Keynote. She did not disappoint, leaving valuable nuggets with her inspiration-hungry audience. “Don’t take advice from people who haven’t been where you are trying to go.” She also facilitated an impromptu Pitch Competition, which saw the participants walking away with U.S. dollars.
The conference focused on building community and fostering relationships. Participants were encouraged to make connections, exchange experiences, visit booths, and collaborate on projects.
After describing the event as ‘invigorating,’ P.I.O.J.’s Charmaine Brimm shared salient points with the eager audience. Charmaine suggested that relationships, research and understanding the regulatory environment are essential for developing strategic and lasting partnerships.
Other speakers included popular entrepreneurs Heneka Watkis-Porter, Gordon Swaby, Shawneil Bailey-Gordon, Simone Spence-Johnson, Javin Williams and Kalilah Reynolds.
Olinda Taylor, CEO of Natural Bliss Soaps n Bodycare, says, “The YWOP/YMOP programme and the conference have helped me immensely, providing informative training, tips and stories from successful entrepreneurs to assist in the growth and development of my business.”
A Packed House
The varied guest list included Custos of Manchester, the Honourable Garfield Green, Senior Political Advisor Roberta Ellis and the Youth Development Specialist at the Manchester Youth Innovation Centre, Charlene McLaughlin.
The Companies Office of Jamaica, the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), the Jamaica Stock Exchange (.JSE), the Manchester Youth Innovation Centre (YIC) and the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), among others, supported the initiative. Most sponsors had a booth with their representatives eager to provide information about their organization and services.
The YWOP/YMOP started thirteen years ago, and this is their second R.E.A.P. conference. It is amazing to see how it turned out. We look forward to what R.E.A.P. will foster as the years continue.