$1-billion venture

$1-billion venture

iCreate expands into real estate through joint venture partnership

Observer business writer

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

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Jamaican listed firm iCreate is expanding into real estate with an initial capital outlay of more than $1 billion.

Founder and President Tyrone Wilson, who confirmed the development, said the company has already acquired a property in the New Kingston area that will form its first creative city real estate development.

The venture is being arranged through the company's second division called Opportunity Ventures, which was established for acquiring business opportunities aligned with building the digital and creative economy.

The company's first division, iCreate Institute, provides for digital and creative training throughout the Caribbean.

“This will be a six-storey development and we will make our partners known later,” Wilson said, adding that several investors are interested in the commercial real estate project.

“There are also ongoing conversations to start a new project in Montego Bay,” he added.

The building, Wilson said, will be a mixed-use space comprising an iCreate campus on the first floor, offices, co-working space, Gjam live music studio, Reggae Sunsplash museum, and penthouse suites to service the music studio and museum.

Additionally, under the Opportunity Venture division, iCreate is looking to acquire eCommerce company Mobile Edge. The acquisition will be confirmed at the end of the first quarter of 2021.

The submission of the final funding of the creative city is to come at the end of the second quarter of 2021.

Upon its successful listing on the JSE Junior Market, iCreate has built partnerships and is expanding its markets in order to position the start-up company as the premier digital and creative training institute in the Caribbean. This translated into iCreate recording its first net profit of $1.25 million at the end of the first quarter of 2020, while recovering from a net loss of $45.95 million booked at the end of 2019.

However, recent financial reports show that the company suffered a net loss of $2.26 million as at September 30, 2020.

Nonetheless, iCreate's strategies in 2019 remain unchanged, as the company focuses on increasing students per course, entering more locations, driving profitability, and on the product side, creating more than 20 creative and digital courses.

Additionally, iCreate said it will be disciplined in its focus on profitable market share expansion and creating a core leadership team with business development and financial leadership.

In 2020, iCreate was given the opportunity to host live events by its parent company, eMedia, resulting in the firm hosting Reggae Sunsplash with over 330,000 viewers.

While the festival broke even, iCreate didn't make a profit “but going forward the company plans to apply its unique and forward-thinking model to Reggae Sumfest [in] virtual form, with the hope to make some profit”, declared Wilson.

iCreate earned $17.25 million thus far this year from utilising its investment in video production by creating content for educational institutions such as HEART/NSTA Trust.

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