Business

Helping small businesses get organised

BY DENNISE WILLIAMS
Contributor

Friday, May 25, 2018

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The growth of the entrepreneurship sector in Jamaica has created a demand for services that Malene Carr-Mullings is now meeting through her company Malaynia Project Consultancy.

Carr-Mullings, who after 20 years in the corporate world made the switch to helping small businesses with project management, accounting, and events coordinating, spoke with the Caribbean Business Report at the Small Business Association of Jamaica's Trafalgar Road headquarters recently.

Dennise Williams (DW): Tell us about your career background.

Malene Carr-Mullings (MCM): My career background has been of an audit nature (five years as external auditor with PricewaterhouseCoopers, six years as group internal auditor with Digicel, then nine years as revenue assurance manager in Digicel's Business Risk Department). I have therefore essentially been in a position where I help others to streamline processes and to close gaps. I have also been part of 'start-up' processes where I developed procedures for Digicel Jamaica for later roll-out to the other markets; developed and implemented the accounting structure for Digicel Jamaica Foundation; spearheaded projects such as the conversion to the automation purchase order system.

DW: Why not stay corporate? Why step out on your own?

MCM: I have developed many skills over the years, both in the corporate sector and in clubs/other organisations and have served in many areas contributing to the building up of the corporate sector (especially at Digicel). I now seek to utilise my skills to build and develop smaller entities and other individuals so that the wider business arena may be better served. Being on my own will allow the flexibility to partner with several entities and to serve in wider areas.

DW: How did you know that there was a need for your services?

MCM: Being a part of circles of various business owners and managers of small businesses I have been better able to become aware of the needs and challenges of business owners and to hear first-hand of the areas that they wish were better streamlined and areas which they are unable to give a dedicated focus, considering all their areas of responsibility.

DW: From a project management and accounting perspective, what is missing from the small business arena? What are business people doing wrong so that they are not able to access support from organisations?

MCM: In some cases, small businesses may not have the resources necessary to ensure that proper governance and accounting practices are maintained to be in a position of good standing for partnership with governing bodies and financial institutions. In other cases, businesses may simply be unaware of the formal procedures and practices which are expected of a business operation.

DW: Setting rates is a challenge for small business. What guidance can you offer to them to know how to bill for projects or consultations?

MCM: Projects/consultations are generally billed on an hourly basis. Rates should be set based on qualification and experience and a general comparison with similar industry standards.

DW: How would you see the support systems in the economic environment for small businesses?

MCM: I see a positive outlook and scope for support systems that small businesses should seek to tap into and become a part of via networking strategies. These include entities like the Small Business Association of Jamaica which have already partnered with other organisations, including financial institutions, that are willing to aid and support small business owners.

DW: What is your road map for the next five years?

MCM: I endeavour to grow my business name and to establish ongoing partnerships with a collection of industries. I would therefore become part of a much wider team that would enable even stronger support to new entrants in the small business market.

DW: What is your corporate social responsibility strategy?

MCM: My strategy is to offer my skills and services at preferred rates to entities that seek to, in turn, provide support to the wider business community and to the social environment. I will also seek to develop other individuals in areas of growth by later hiring them to be part of my business team.

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