20 entrepreneurs now in second phase of JBDC Accelerator Programme

Friday, June 08, 2018

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Twenty entrepreneurs from various sectors were officially inducted into Cohort 2 of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) Accelerator Programme at a ceremony held recently at Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.

The six-month intensive developmental programme began on Monday and will expose the participants to 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 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.

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 $90 million, is currently in negotiation for a $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, which include entrepreneurs from manufacturing, agro-processing, mining, medical research, bio-science, physiotherapy, fitness, health & wellness, ICT and media and communication, 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 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 businesswoman 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.

The JBDC Accelerator Programme, which is the only one of its kind locally, was announced in November 2016 during Global Entrepreneurship Week. The JBDC's programme is unique in that it offers a comprehensive suite of business development services which are available together only at JBDC.

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