Imagine starting a business and not understanding why growth is not your reality. Everything on paper looks good, but, you just can’t get it past survival. Then you hear about a special programme. You join the program and next thing you know, you are being taken to success in six months. Having your hands held the entire way, making sure you learn new and powerful ways to level-up your business. Like being fed with an accelerator fire hose and benefitting from every drop.
In recent times there has been a spike in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector. With a mandate to boost MSMEs, the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) invented the Accelerator programme in 2016. The Accelerator programme is an intense six-month training programme, which is facilitated by Business Development Officers and industry experts who provide guidance throughout the start-up of small businesses. With market development, network expansion, access to financing and the development of entrepreneurial talent as their main focus, the JBDC’s Accelerator programme utilizes the lean start-up development model.
Since its conception in 2016, the Accelerator Programme has facilitated three cohorts, the last of which graduated last week Thursday. The graduation dubbed ‘Demo Day’ was held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.
Demo Day and Closing Ceremony
Taking the form of a mini-expo and networking event, the graduands’ businesses were the centre of attention; displaying their products and services to attendees, potential investors and clients. This year’s demo day featured 16 participants who completed the intensive training and workshops which they described as ‘hard but rewarding work’. ‘Building Synergies: Fostering Growth’ was the theme for the ceremony which was a mixture of emotions. Graduands were beaming with pride and excitement as their accomplishment was no easy feat. Some also expressed feeling bittersweet as they are going to miss seeing their BDO’s and batchmates on Thursdays. The spirit of love and comradery filled the room as it was evident that they have become apart of the JBDC family.
Delivering the opening remarks, JBDC’s CEO, Valerie Veria was delighted with the maturity and vast improvement of the sixteen organizations that participated in the programme. Not only did she convey her congratulations, but she also charged them to use the skills, advice and information that they garnered over the six-months to boost the economic sector:
Mr Almando Cox, CEO of Resolve IT Limited, did the reflection on behalf of the cohort. Overjoyed with the support and knowledge he received from JBDC, he confessed that even though he has been doing business for 15 years, he didn’t realise that he did not have proper business knowledge until coming to JBDC. Now confident that the has the correct and viable tools, he urged his cohort to use the knowledge received as a platform for building successful businesses:
The Keynote Address was given by Mr David Mullings, Chairman and CEO of Blue Mahoe Capital Partners. Mr Mullings had many lessons in his address but none more important than knowing what you want to do and actually going to for it. He let everyone know that no matter what, “If you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right”.
One of the lessons that he learned from a close friend was how to value himself before anyone else can value him. He explains this concept below;
Mr Mullings also made a point to express his expectations of the new cohort to change the image of doing business with Jamaican companies. The “soon come” mentality and practice need to stop because it is holding us where we are and keeping us from where we need to go. We need to make our business move at the same speed as our fastest man and woman on the track. We need to be known as a country that does fast business and delivers services faster than is expected. “It should not be a competitors advantage that they have good customer service. That should be a basic requirement.”
Mr Mullings also came with great gifts.
In 2020, the JBDC will launch its Scale-Up Community, a movement that will facilitate the continued scaling of enterprises that have participated in the various cohorts of JBDC’s accelerator.