YOUNG entrepreneur Yaneek Page is behind a new training programme aimed at boosting innovation at local companies.
Through her training company, Business Boot Camp, Page has introduced Intrapreneurship to corporate Jamaica.
Intrapreneurship is short for corporate entrepreneurship, whereby employees act like bold, savvy entrepreneurs on behalf and for the benefit of their company. Within an organisation, 'intrapreneurs' create or take on new ideas and turn them into profitable new products, services and operational procedures. It is said to be one of the most effective ways for organisations to innovate.
Page held her first training session in May 2012, with employees of blue chip company, GraceKennedy Limited.
"Innovation is a key focus for GraceKennedy as we strive to continuously create great products that meet the needs of our consumers. Intrapreneurship fits well with our strategic objectives, as it promises to help us maximise the creative capacity of our people," said Michael Ranglin, CEO, GK Foods.
"The project is currently at the pilot stage but already we are pleased with the energy, enthusiasm, and new ideas that have emerged from the process," Ranglin said.
Intrapreneurship has been successfully employed worldwide for over two decades and has been a game changer for companies such as Apple, Google and 3M in their quest to achieve innovation and growth in a dynamic and highly competitive global economy.
Page decided to introduce the concept to Jamaica formally after her participation in the International Visitor Leadership Programme in 2011. She spent three weeks in the US visiting and learning about programmes and institutions aimed at developing entrepreneurship and small businesses in the USA.
After what Page said was an eye-opening visit to acclaimed US non-profit Jumpstart in Ohio, she realised that many companies have employees who are "sleeping innovative giants" just waiting to unleash their ideas. Jumpstart aims to accelerate the success of entrepreneurs and their high-growth companies through the creation of an appropriate ecosystem for their support.
Intrapreneurship, Page said, is not your typical training programme.
"It is not about mundane power-point presentations, long-winded discussions or countless training papers, booklets and handouts. It is specifically designed to break free from the everyday, ordinary and uninventive, and instead engages participants in fun and effective activities and exercises that develop creativity and entrepreneurial skills and strategies," she outlined.
"The best part," she pointed out, "is that the end results are tangible and immediate. Employees deliver to senior management innovative product ideas, process improvements, the next big market, and disruptive business ideas — all for the benefit of the company."
Page is also founder of Jamaica's first litigant support service, Future Services International, and president of Women Business Owners Jamaica. Additionally, she is the founding president of the Young Professionals Network of Jamaica, and a former vice-president of the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Jamaica. Page currently serves on the Council of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and the executive of the Women Entrepreneurs Network Caribbean, an initiative coordinated by the US State Department in March 2012.