Jamila Pinto delivers business conference for creatives

Sunday, April 21, 2019

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Describing herself as a 'creative spirit', 24-year-old Jamila Pinto is the founder and director of the INDIGGO Conference, the premier conference for young creative entrepreneurs in Kingston. Jamila is a trained writer, holding a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of West Indies. She launched the first INDIGGO conference at 23 with a team of just five people and this year's staging saw the event double in size with over 400 creatives in attendance.

If the name sounds familiar, you have probably heard it before in relation to Protoje and the In.Digg.Nation Collective. Protoje is a part of the cultural movement also referred to as the 'Reggae Revival' which now sees a roster of talented music artists like Koffee, Sevana, Lila Ike, Jah9, Kabaka Pyramid and Chronixx trending and making waves across the globe with a fresh reggae sound.

Jamila is a part of the In.Digg.Nation Collective team where she leads on logistics, PR, artist management, and in this role, she implements projects like 'Live from Kingston', 'A Matter of Time' and 'New Wave'. Business management and organisation were skills that she acquired early on and felt were essential for creatives to achieve success. The goal was to create a forum where other creatives could gain these essential skills and this was the genesis of her signature event, INDIGGO.

The theme this year was The Exposure Call – focusing on creatives developing their personal and professional brand. The speakers spanned a wide range of experience and creative industries and included Neko Kelly, Kemal Brown, Terri-Karelle Reid, Jade McGhie, Phillip Palmer, ZJ Sparks, Agent Sasco, Leachim Semaj and keynote speaker, Founder of L'Acadco, dance legend L'Antoinette Stines.

Some of the advice given to young entrepreneurs:

1. ALWAYS be on time

2. Self-talk can sabotage you – be careful of the conversations that you have with yourself

3. Training and preparation are the key to confidence

4. Build your technical and business competence, accountability and communication skills

5. No-one owes you anything – early on, define what success means to you

6. Understand the industry that you work in – even if it is creative, it is still a business

7. Learn how to value your talent, price your services and charge clients

8. Failure is not a crime – ensure that you learn the lessons.

Pinto stated that she decided to host a conference so that young creatives could learn the skills that they needed, make the right connections and get ahead in their industry. The conference fills a gap on the creative industries scene; it is aimed at the thousands of young creatives in Jamaica. The tone is hip and unpretentious, with enthusiastic and honest audience exchange. It feels like a 'behind the scenes' look at the creative industry; an intimate conversation where business knowledge is shared and the challenges facing young creatives can be discussed openly.

The conference was pegged as an opportunity to network and over 14 corporates including JN Bank were on board as sponsors. Corporates went to the event scouting for emerging talent particularly in the field of graphic art, writing, videography, social media management, and photography. Jamila explained that her objective for the conference was to establish a good relationship between young creatives and corporate Jamaica, showcasing top creative talent that they may not know exists.

The conference also served as a platform for creatives to position themselves on a professional level. Headshots were being taken in a booth in the lobby and ample breaks were provided for networking. Jamila believes that there is a real disconnect between corporate Jamaica and young creatives, and between older creatives and young creatives. “The perception may be that there is unprofessionalism or lack of time management... and even a lack of caring for this new generation”. She hopes that events like this will close the divide and provide the right opportunities for the sector to move forward in a unified way.

The overarching goal for INDIGGO is to establish itself in new locales, creating international linkages – Pinto envisions INDIGGO Trinidad, INDIGGO Miami, INDIGGO Berlin. She hopes that the brand will continue to be a bridge from creatives to corporates, not just within Jamaica but globally. A big vision, but Pinto is willing to put in the work to make it happen.

Her parting advice for creatives? “Don't be afraid! Be professional, put yourself out there, put in the time, the work and the money. Invest in yourself and you will succeed.”

Andrea Dempster-Chung is co-founder and executive director, Kingston Creative, a non-profit organisation that aims to transform downtown Kingston through Art and Culture. Please send comments on this article to info@kingstoncreative.org.


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