Teen entrepreneur eyes Caribbean investments

BY SHAMILLE SCOTT Business reporter scotts@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, March 14, 2014

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MONTSERRAT'S 14-year-old entreprenur Warren Cassell Jr is toying with the idea of starting an investment company after high school.


He and his friends from the Leaders Investment Club — a group of global teen investors, traders, and entrepreneurs — are discussing potential investments in and acquisitions of Caribbean companies that have the potential to grow steadily over the long run.


"We plan to start the company with our own funds and then based on our returns seek additional money from the public, but that's just an idea at the moment," he told the Caribbean Business Report in an e-mailed response.


It might seem a pipedream for a teenager, but he already operates two businesses - a website development firm and a publishing company. Plus his first venture - Emerald Greeting Cards, a personalised greeting cards business which is no longer operational - was started when he was eight years old.


"I wanted something to do with my time but I was just never interested in the other activites my peers liked," he said. "I always had a love for business; my dream was to start my own company."


From the initial stage, his parents were quite receptive to the idea of him starting a business. They gave him the capital to start the venture and provided feedback.


"I worked constantly to make a name for myself and my business," Cassell recalled. "I would tell everyone whom I could find about my business. If my mom took me shopping, I would give out business cards and talk to shoppers about my business and convince them to get cards."


He especially got a kick out of shocking people with the level of professionalism he operated on.


He later went on to learn web design and started Chupz Business Solutions that provides domain names and marketing services for clients in Jamaica, Trinidad, the Philippines, US, Montserrat and the UK.


"When I started to show people what I could do, people and organizations asked if I could design a website for them," he said.


By the time he was 13 years old he started investing in companies, and currently holds shares in Running Palmz, Sagicor Financial Corporation and the Bank of Montserrat.


"When I read about a lot of wealthy people it became very clear to me that you can't become wealthy by keeping money in a bank account," he said.


Even so, his friends at the investment club spend much of their time talking about new investment opportunities and have discussions about the markets.


Cassell recently published The Farm of Wisdom: 25 Unforgettable Tales that Will Ignite a Wiser You1, a book which shares twenty-five life lessons through stories set on a fictional farm as well as Swim or Drown -- that are published by his company, ZapSocial, that also features content from contributors.


He's currently working on producing more content for ZapSocial and has an eye out for more investment opportunities.


The fourth form student at the Montserrat Secondary High School, studies Spanish, economics, principles of business and accounts, information technology, geography, biology, maths and English Language.


He plans to pursue a degree in Economics.


He added that he has Jamaican business connections, notably Bianca Welds and David Mullings, who give him business advice.


"Do what you love doing, be eager to get advice and when you hit an obstacle look for opportunities," he advises potential investors.


Despite never meeting Michael Lee Chin, the teenager says he looks up to the local business titan.


"I admire Mr Lee-Chin for many reasons; he is humble, he gives back and he is a very wise man," said Cassell.


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