The Business District: affordable office space comes to Kingston


Friday, December 16, 2011

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THE Business District located at 22B Old Hope Road, Kingston, offers a professional and affordable option for businesses and persons looking for business accommodation and services in the corporate area.

The furnished offices are modern and attractive and one can rent a unit for a matter of hours, days, months or over a year on flexible terms. The Business District offers offices, meeting rooms, website hosting, telephone, faxing and Internet services. In short, it offers a bespoke service for those looking to operate their business without incurring high operating costs.

The Business District is the brainchild of Maria Jones, a former Air Jamaica executive and a former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education. It was initially formed in the early 90s but the then local financial sector meltdown forced Jones to shelve it with a view to relaunching the office business at a more propitious time.

That time is now, and this year Jones and her partner Marjorie Fyffe Campbell resuscitated The Business District which is once again open for business.

Speaking with Caribbean Business Report from The Business District, Maria Jones said: " We found this building courtesy of Ravers Limited and decided to go for it. Fourteen years later we have revisited the idea and business is looking good. One can come in and start operating an office with everything needed provided by The Business District."

Jones's partner Marjorie Fyffe Campbell, who serves as Executive Director of The Business District, has also had an illustrious career. She has spent close to thirty years in executive management at the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) at the level of policy leadership. She is also a chartered accountant who is in the process of completing her doctorate. Her area of specialty is corporate governance. She sits on the Board of Caribbean insurance giant Sagicor both locally and internationally. Campbell is the financial brains behind the Business District while Jones takes care of the operational side of things.

Maria Jones cemented her reputation as a savvy operator as the CEO of the Management Institute for National Development (MIND) and she also holds a seat on the Board of Capital & Credit. The picture is one of two dynamic successful corporate women who have now gone out on their own, bringing their respective levels of expertise to a venture aimed at entrepreneurs and those heading Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

"When you think about starting a business the first thing you think about is the capital outlay, the cost of setting up. That particular cost tends to prevent many people from executing good business ideas. Capital outlay has proven to be a major obstacle for many small businesses operating in Jamaica.

" Now if you begin at The Business District you can walk in with a briefcase and get started. Everything is in place and the prices are reasonable, because it is shared services for the most part and you get all the standard operating facilities without paying an arm and a leg. You are assigned a unique telephone number and we provide an answering service with that. You also get access to a receptionist, a business address, a fax number -- everything one needs to run an enterprise. The entire building is an Internet hotspot. In fact we are able to assist people who are downsizing and looking to rationalise their business. Also we cater for overseas companies looking for a corporate presence in Jamaica."

So what kind of rates can one expect to pay for using The Business District? Well, it is a serviced office business which now offers introductory rates. It runs from J$40,000 a month for a fully furnished office with air conditioning and all business mod cons included. The double office facility goes up to J$70,000 a month. If you want an office to interview someone for a couple of hours, then The Business District can accommodate you. One can start for as little as J$350 an hour. The introductory rates will last until the end of this year.

The plan is to take The Business District into Montego Bay which is now seeing plenty of development. Jones has earmarked sometime next year after both she and her partner have expanded the facilities in the existing building.




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