High anticipation ahead of start of Digicel/JMEA Business Mentorship Programme


High anticipation ahead of start of Digicel/JMEA Business Mentorship Programme

Sunday, January 24, 2021

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Twelve young, promising local professionals and entrepreneurs have been selected to be mentored by some of Jamaica's leading business and industry leaders through the Digicel/Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters (JMEA) Business Mentorship Programme.

The programme is designed to help selectees receive guidance, gain new perspectives and insights into how to drive innovation and growth within their fields of business.

The final 12, chosen from a rigorously competitive process, will each be paired with an industry leader who will share his/her personal experiences, discuss talk about lessons learnt, and provide valuable feedback during an immersive one-hour session to be held in late January.

Among the group of ambitious entrepreneurs is Brunswick Farms Chief Executive Officer Marcus Sewell, who will become the local poster boy for sustainable and climate-resilient farming when his organic indoor microgreens farm begins operating in February. Sewell plans to supply varieties of the young vegetable seedlings and herbs for the tourism and restaurant sectors by March.

Sewell noted, “I started Brunswick Farms to respond to a shortage of locally produced microgreens. I hope that the Digicel/JMEA mentorship programme will give me the information I need to improve on marketing, sales, and networking to push the business forward.”

Dr Carolyn Jackson is another entrepreneur hoping to benefit from the mentorship programme. Her business, Caribbean Tots to Teens Child & Adolescent Wellness Centre, has been in operation since 2008, and is at the forefront of juvenile counselling and psychotherapy in Jamaica.

She explained, “It is my dream to help build a culture within the local medical community of identifying and treating the underlying psychological origins of many childhood illnesses early and correctly. I will use what I learn from this mentorship opportunity to better position myself for further expansion, build partnerships that can facilitate sustainable growth, and seek guidance on future business restructuring.”

Jamaica's banking industry is also set to benefit from the programme. Founder of financial technology firm SendOn, Nicholas Kee, believes the mentorship session will give him some further insight into the local financial industry. SendOn creates software tools and services to simplify and improve personal and business-to-business banking. Kee's services will help local banks to tap into the nearly 33 per cent of unbanked Jamaicans.

Kee welcomed the opportunity to participate in the programme, remarking, “I applied for the programme to learn from the wealth of knowledge and ideas my mentor will bring, and also be inspired on how my other skill sets and experiences might be meaningfully applied to spur greater innovation at SendOn.”

The diverse group of Digicel/JMEA mentees span a range of other industries including manufacturing, insurance, education, retail, real estate, and consulting. The other participants are Annette Atkinson — Guardian Life; Leanne Spence — Instant Save Conservation Solutions; Joni-Gaye Cawley— Joni-Gaye Cawley Consulting; Krishna Brown — Kulture Kravings; Brittany Byfield – OK-Cream Jamaica; Trudian Palmer — RE/MAX; Niyokia Hines — GoIkanSocial; Mishka Murray —Touch of Love Nursery & Learning Centre; and Andrea Jackson-Robinson — Valentine's Intimates. Chief marketing officer for Digicel, Nasha-Monique Douglas, who will also serve as a mentor for the programme, noted, “So many Jamaicans are filled with entrepreneurial drive and need some guidance on how to make their concepts a reality or to grow existing businesses. Our mentorship programme is special because we have paired a group of ambitious professionals and entrepreneurs with some of the greatest minds in Jamaica's private sector. We hope that the lessons gained from the interactions will help our participants unlock their full potential.”

The 12 mentors featured in the mentorship programme are Nasha-Monique Douglas, chief marketing officer of Digicel Jamaica; Aileen Corrigan, chief digital officer of Digicel Group; Chris Williams, CEO of Proven; Richard Pandohie, CEO of Seprod and president of the JMEA; Gary Peart, managing director of Mayberry; Marcus Steele, director of Proven Wealth; William Mahfood, chairman of Wisynco Group; John Mahfood, CEO of Jamaica Teas; Metry Seaga, director of Jamaica Fiberglass Products; Omar Azan, CEO of Boss Furniture; Richard Coe, CEO of Fleetwood Jamaica; and Benjamin Jardim, business development manager of Rainforest Seafoods.

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