The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) officially inducted twenty (20) entrepreneurs from various sectors into Cohort 2 of its Accelerator Programme at a ceremony held recently at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston. The six-month intensive developmental programme begins on June 4, 2018.
Cohort 2 participants include entrepreneurs from Manufacturing, Agro-Processing, Mining, Medical Research, Bio-Science, Physiotherapy, Fitness, Health & Wellness, ICT and Media & Communication. Over the six-month period, the participants will benefit from a boot camp, mentorship by business experts, advisory panel of professionals, pitch deck curriculum, financial management, business valuation, among other areas. This follows on the heels of the successful execution of Cohort 1 which graduated sixteen (16) entrepreneurs in November 2017.
“The main objectives of the programme are: (1) improve entrepreneurship abilities; (2) improve strength of connectivity; (3) market development and (4) preparation for equity investment,” explained Althea West-Myers, coordinator and Manager of the Business Advisory Services Department.
Mrs. West-Myers pointed out that the participants from Cohort 1 have already begun to reap the successes of the programme. “One business, which was valued at JMD$90 million, is currently in negotiation for a JMD$70 million investment. Two participants have partnered with an established manufacturing company and eight new jobs were created by two participants. Additionally, as a result of the external exposure, one participant is now exporting to the Dominican Republic,” she said.
Cohort 2 participants were visibly ecstatic at the launch event and took to social media immediately afterwards to express their gratitude. O’Shane Bryant posted on his Instagram and Facebook pages: “I can’t believe that O’Shane Bryant Fitness has been selected to be a part of what is Jamaica’s prestigious business development programme…I am eternally grateful and humbled to be among the selected entrepreneurs to benefit from this programme. It’s yet to sink in. Five (5) years ago I wanted to participate in a JBDC Expo to learn, but was unable to because of financial, among other reasons. Today, I’m shaking hands with a lady I admire (CEO of JDBC), Wow!”
The launch event was also attended by Cohort 1 participants who shared their journey to motivate the new cohort. “I had just moved to the country and decided I did not want to start the Accelerator Programme when I received a call from none other than Michelle Chong, CEO of Honey Bun, who had been assigned as my mentor. I could not believe she was calling me! We spoke and she told me about her experiences as a business woman and essentially inspired me to go on. Today, I have no regrets. It has been incredible,” said Shalane Lee Chin, Managing Director of the Newtown Bakery Limited.