Who will it be?

Career & Education

Who will it be?

South South Collective to announce enterprise challenge winner this week

Associate editor — features

Sunday, March 01, 2020

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THE three remaining contenders in the South South Collective Creative Enterprise Challenge have another week to go before they will learn who among them will be awarded the $20,000 cash prize and the Creative Start Up Entrepreneur 2020 title.

The announcement is scheduled to be made on March 5, but The University of the West Indies (UWI) students Cleveland Grey, Bobby Smith and Oneika Young seem pretty clear among themselves who has the edge.

“I would like to believe so, yes,” Smith said when asked if he thought he was at the top. “Even though my team and I encountered a few logistical hiccups, overall, I believe we came through on the execution of sales”.

Grey and Young weren't as hopeful about the win, but they count the time spent developing their businesses over the past six weeks as a positive.

“I will not come out on top,” Grey told the Jamaica Observer on Friday. “Both my drive and focus shifted from maximising profits in the short term to slowly building the business over time. My business is a somewhat network orientated business, thus I wish to build both my network and business in a sound solid position.”

For her part, Young said, “I honestly believe that I won't be successful with winning since this was in fact a competition based on profit. While I would have made a profit I don't think my profit was the greatest of all three.

“Nonetheless, win or lose, I now have a business that I know I will continue and as time goes by, it will grow and be more profitable.”

The challenge was to set up and start businesses that respond to specific needs in the creative and cultural industries, with the winner being the buisness that nets the most profit. It got underway on January 13, with an extended competition period ending last Tuesday, February 25. Each challenger received $1,000 in start-up capital.

Smith's business, Island Delights, prepared and sold traditional dishes of Caribbean countries; Grey set up a social media marketing buiness called GAMA (Grey area Marketing Associates) Social Media; and Young's KooYa JA outfit offered tours of cultural areas, which she branded Kulcha Tours.

Grey, a student of management studies who works part-time in the bursar's office, told the Observer that among the challenges he encountered were meeting deadlines, balancing competing projects, staying motivating, and pitching to and securing customers.

Those aside, Grey said the experience has provided fresh perspective on the ups and downs business ventures experience, as well as the opportunity to “learn more about myself and what mindset I need to be in in order to effectively run a business, the need to always be able to evolve in ideas and objectives to serve both the business and customers better, and paying attention to both the positive and negative possible outcomes to any business venture.”

Like Grey, Young is employed and has to balance the demands of work with her masters in development studies.

“The challenge tested my faith and my determination,” she shared. “Because of life and all that comes with it there were moments when I felt like giving up, but thanks to both my mentor Ethnie (Miller-Simpson) and the challenge organiser Mrs (Olayinka Jacobs) Bonnick and their support, I was able to push through.”

Her three takeaways, she said, are perseverance, patience and commitment.

“My most memorable moment would be creating my logo. It was an experience trying to capture everything I wanted to let the world know in a logo while making it fun, attractive and simple. Additionally, because my business dealt with tours and spending time with people, it was really great interacting and creating memories with my clients, especially at the Dennis Brown Tribute Concert,” the young woman said.

South South Collective, which is headed by Jacobs-Bonnick, partnered with UWI's Institute of Caribbean Studies and the Reggae Studies Unit to execute the enterprise challenge. Volunteer mentors were Xesus Johnston, CEO of Prime Sports; Michelle Chong, founder and CEO of Honey Bun Foundation; Ethnie Miller-Simpson, chief growth officer of Zenergy International; and Kevin Jackson, president of Jamaica Animation Nation.

Smith, a psychology major in his final semester, counts the opportunity to bring out his inner entrepreneur quite valuable.

“Among my most memorable experiences was relating to the UWI populace and receiving the interesting feedback generated from students across all six faculties,” he told the Observer Friday.

And as for lessons learned, he said self-reliance was key.

“You have to get things done all by yourself; you have to get practical. Your mentor and other well-wishers will only just assist in theory,” said Smith.

In addition to the overall competition prize, there will be awards for best logo design, most innovative business idea, and best social media engagement.

“The judges are looking for achievements throughout the challenge, plus stories of team and personal development demonstrating resilience, confidence and communication skills,” Jacobs-Bonnick said.

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