Entrepreneur in expansion mode —readies to open her fifth business

BY KARENA BENNETT Business reporter bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

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FOUR-time business owner and concierge banker at Sagicor Bank Antoinette Ennis is gearing up for the opening of another business venture next month.

The 37-year-old, who is already the proud owner of two mini mart/cafes, a beauty house and a business solutions company, is expanding her business to include another mini mart on Hagley Park Road, Kingston. The expansion, she says, is part of a larger goal in being recognised as one of the top five successful businesswomen in Jamaica over the next
two years.

"I intend to be involved in a global programme so I can gain international experience to take back to Jamaica," Ennis told the Jamaica Observer. "And I am very excited about officially launching a foundation that will seek to mentor and support at-risk children and youths who have a drive for success."

After moving to Caribbean Estates, St Catherine, in 2008,the past student of Camperdown High School saw the opportunity to earn revenue from the opening of a mini-mart and cafe, now known as Caribbean Desires. Shortly after, she decided to give up her job as an insurance broker at Sagicor Jamaica Limited to properly structure the operation.

Business flourished and in 2009 she ventured into artiste management and music production, ultimately expanding the business to include Reggae on the Beach in Negril, Desires Diner on South Camp Road and Head over Heels Style Club in Portmore, St Catherine.

Head over Heels Style Club is a members-only salon and spa located at Caribbean Estates' business complex. The club offers cash-back rewards for members, with additional discounts form partner stores including Image Fashion, Enigma, Ignite and Jewels Resort Hotel.

"As an adult, my experiences in business enterprise and life insurance led me to the conclusion that I am an entrepreneur. It was during this time that I came to terms with the reality that I am not your average person, but someone who usually thinks outside the box. It is natural for me to come up with innovative concepts as well as new and creative ways to get the job done," she told the Business Observer.

"I am no stranger to hard work; from my genesis in the work world you would find me doing at least two jobs at any point in time. So after my first 12 months and my fair share of mistakes at Sagicor, I became a member of the Million Dollar Round Table and went on to breaking several records in the corporate circle branch of Sagicor Life before making my exit," the Camperdown High past student added.

Currently, Ennis employs over 20 individuals and is also looking to recruit another eight people for the operations of the Hagley Park Road mini-mart.

Whilst she had the mindset of an entrepreneur, Ennis continued to seek the guidance of professionals and experienced individuals prior to making final decisions. But not only did the frequent conversations assist in the success of the ventures, the networking with experts in business management, accounting, project management also led to the development of a team for another business dubbed SWOT Business Solutions. SWOT provides groundwork and development services for individuals looking to start an operation.

"This mode of operating has served me well on my business journey, as I learnt very early that the more informed you are, the better the decisions will be. During my time in business I have analysed many small businesses and I have recognised a few things to be consistent, and those include courage, creative thinking and good management," Ennis stated.

The young entrepreneur now plans on expanding her footprint across Jamaica.





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