The CEOs of EduFocal, Bluedot Insights, One-on-One and iCreate have set themselves a target to having their companies "valued in the billions of US dollars" by pushing for listing on some of the biggest stock exchanges in the world.
"I was in Miami recently giving a speech with a telecoms group where I spoke about creating a bridge between developing countries and developed countries for our entrepreneurs to cross and benefit from developed world markets, in terms of capital, in terms of customer base, in terms of talent pool," Tyrone Wilson, CEO of iCreate, told the Jamaica Observer as a prelude to why he wants to see that.
"The products and services that we are offering are global," he continued. The difference between Bluedot and the next Forbes data company is access to market. It's the same thing with EduFocal, the same with my company iCreate, and with One-on-One.
The access to market which he is speaking about is the size of the Jamaican market.
"I remember when I was looking to list, there was this company in the US that went public and it was doing the same thing One-on-One and EduFocal are doing. Pluralsight is the name of the company. That company got a valuation in the billions of US dollars. The product it is offering is not better or different from what One-on-One or EduFocal is offering; the only difference is access to market," he added.
For Wilson, when Jamaican companies are looking to list, they are targeting "10 or 15 corporate companies to jump on our programme and spend money. In the US, it could be 5,000 and 10,000. We are looking for 5,000 subscribers a month; imagine EduFocal getting five million subscribers a month. The difference is access to the market."
Wilson said he would love to see a network of connections "between entrepreneurs and companies like Sagicor Investments or NCB Capital Markets to reach out to a JP Morgan or Morgan Stanley and say, 'listen, we have these businesses, we have invested in them, they have a captive market here already in the Caribbean, they are led by some innovative, world-changing young entrepreneurs, and we want to get them in the global market. Their products are tested and proven, they are profitable, they have good leadership, they have financial backing. The next step is the New York Stock Exchange, the next step is the Nasdaq'. We have to create a number of Forbes billionaires here in Jamaica. Imagine if all us are Forbes billionaires, imagine the impact we could have on Jamaica. Look at the impact a Michael Lee-Chin has on Jamaica. Look at the impact Gordon 'Butch' Stewart has on Jamaica."
Gordon Swaby, CEO of EduFocal, chipped in. "Imagine if we have 100 Michael Lee-Chins in Jamaica. We will be better off."
Swaby added: "People used to laugh at me when I say I want to list EduFocal and say, 'ha, ha, ha, alright, young man, continue on the path. It's not like they are actually being encouraging; they were being condescending and facetious. They would laugh and say, 'how is your little project going?'" he said with a smile, adding, "I want to prove them wrong."
The CEOs all say they are now in competition to achieve the target and hope to inspire other Jamaicans as well.
"We have to think bigger. There is no ceiling to our potential. I am not shy about it. I want my company to be among the Fortune 500 and valued in billions of US dollars and I don't see anything stopping us," Wilson continued.
He said his vision is to give back when he achieves his goals, "replicating what we see people like Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Warren Buffet and those guys are doing, because we are big and bullish on Jamaica. We already giving back".