A career as an entrepreneur?
Kimberly Nesbeth (left), founder and CEO of PoolAerobicsbyKim, catches up with Danielle Terrlonge, managing director of DRT Communications, at the RevUP Cohort 2 retreat.

The journey of pursuing a career as an entrepreneur is often described as a lonely one. However, with the adequate support and guidance it can be truly rewarding and fulfilling. Entities such as the Caribbean's first virtual business incubator, RevUP, continues to curate a nurturing entrepreneurial ecosystem for start-up founders with high-growth potential.

Research has proven that there is a positive correlation between pursuing career development through entrepreneurship and job satisfaction. According to the Jamaica Information Service, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), which account for more than 97 per cent of the island's tax-paying firms, are crucial to the Jamaican economy, which includes economic growth and the increased standard of living of its citizens. Additionally, these MSMEs with one to 50 employees earn yearly revenue of $15 million to $425 million. The earnings are often higher than the average traditionally employed person which allows many entrepreneurs to live a higher quality of life which can lead to job satisfaction among other benefits. However, in order to succeed, being a part and receiving support from the right entrepreneurial ecosystem is critical.

As RevUP shifts into gear for its cohort 3 launch, the programme continues to facilitate the nurturing of entrepreneurial ecosystems. RevUP supports entrepreneurs and founders of start-ups and high-growth potential businesses to prepare them for funding success through world-class training, advising, and mentor matchmaking with local and global industry leaders.

RevUP cohort 2 participant Kimberly Nesbeth, founder of PoolAerobicsbyKim, enrolled in the five-month virtual business incubator programme with the desire to create the best aquatic fitness centre in the Caribbean.

With a mandate to provide access to world-class training and advice, former chief marketing officer at Facebook Gary Briggs catches up with RevUP's Managing Director Sandra Glasgow at the RevUP Cohort 2 retreat.

"I was encouraged by my friend to apply, and it has been the best decision I have made for my business to date. I got the opportunity to learn a lot from different experts in the field and I also got a chance to network with like-minded individuals and other small business owners from different industries who face the same challenges that I do. It's like having a support group that helps to keep me focused on my business goals," she shared.

In an article published by EGL Insights, they highlighted the positive implications of innovation and entrepreneurship, especially as key indicators of economic and personal growth. For instance, the success of Switzerland, a nation earning the coveted title of the most innovative country in the world according to the Global Innovation Index, has been largely attributed to the development of its entrepreneurial ecosystem. On the contrary, Switzerland also boasts a reputation for a great quality of life which is part of the reason it tops the 2022 Best Countries rankings.

If the Global Innovation Index is anything to go by, developing economies and emerging markets must realise and develop a well-oiled entrepreneurial ecosystem to improve on the joy of its people and economic stability. Speaking ahead of RevUP's cohort 3 launch, Sandra Glasgow, managing director of RevUP, reiterated the importance of taking advantage of the entrepreneurial ecosystem that the programme provides. "One of the factors that will result in an efficient ecosystem is a collaboration with other start-ups, the capacity to learn from the experiences of successful businesses in the sector, training, and open access to resources. This is the mandate RevUP has set out to achieve".

When entrepreneurs have access to the necessary human, financial, and professional resources, they are most successful. Support systems of business owners and seasoned executives may be able to offer guidance on dealing with some of the issues they're having, especially if they've personally encountered similar difficulties in the past.

Many start-up CEOs and founders will lament that "it gets lonely at the top". These networking possibilities undoubtedly have advantages as the ecosystem increases the likelihood of meeting like-minded businesspeople, possible investors, suppliers, and partners through events and activities.

For instance, RevUP's weekend retreats, facilitated by the global consulting company McKinsey & Company, are designed to connect the founders participating in its incubation programme with successful local and overseas early stage founders. The RevUP experience allows the community for start-up CEOs to benefit from a programme structure that helps to develop their investment readiness, leadership, marketing, sales, team-building, systems, strategic planning, and market acceleration. At the end of the vigorous five-month programme, start-up and scale-up founders would have improved their management capabilities and prepared themselves and their ventures to receive appropriate capital investments that will enable their growth and sustainability and, ultimately, job satisfaction and career fulfilment.

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