TECHNOLOGY business leader Dean Nevers has pushed deep into his pocket to provide a $5-million boost to potential entrepreneurs.
Nevers, who heads telecommunications service provider, Konnexx Services Ltd, told the Jamaica Observer in a recent interview that 15 individuals will benefit under the programme, which he expects to be expanded should other businesses jump on board.
Implementation will be over the next three months, and the equipment is already in storage.
“The idea is to create jobs and promote real-life skills,” Kingston College old boy Nevers told the Sunday Observer. “This programme will assist people who are involved in skills like barbering, nail technology, and printing. Also, information technology will be included.”
There are 15 kits waiting to be adopted by new owners, who, upon some level of financial success, will be expected to reach out to others in need.
“For those interested in barbering, there are portable barber kits… everything in a briefcase which can be carried around in a car,” Nevers said. “For females, rich or poor, nail culture like manicure and pedicure means a lot. Many of our youngsters will not go to university, so for nail technicians, why not have a portable business with a full kit, male or female, and not have to pay rent or electricity, or other utilities.
“The fashion industry is one of the biggest industries in the world and printing is a big part of it, like logos printed on T-shirts, corporate attire, print on headwear, ceramic cups, etc. So there will be a printing station for one person, printing on the raw material creates trade and promotes self-sufficiency. Corporate companies cannot employ everybody. That's why we have to utilise community skills,” Nevers said.
According to the businessman, the average individual skilled in a trade will encounter difficulty getting funding from the bank. So a push start of the kind he has unveiled ought to go far in starting off people on their economic dream.
“With a push and with the right mentoring, you can create a revenue stream to provide for yourself. If a man can make $20,000 a week, he can provide for his family… the money will pass around and everybody can benefit. The plan is to create a trade environment wherein everybody benefits from each other.
“We will be encouraging those who will benefit to care for their equipment, and urge them too to be professional, that for every $100 that they make, $20 should go towards a saving account, and they should be social media savvy,” he suggested.
The programme will start in Kingston, and St Catherine initially, as a pilot. It is intended to attract corporate people to the programme to see if they can get on board and expand it into other communities.
The communities of Linstead in St Catherine and Waterhouse in St Andrew, will kick-start the project.
Why were both communities chosen?
“Well, I have always had a liking for Linstead, and as for Waterhouse, I had a lot of schoolmates and classmates at KC who were from Waterhouse and who got on well with me and treated me real good when I was in high school. Also, some of my team members at Konnexx are from the community of Waterhouse,” Nevers revealed.
How individuals will be selected was not revealed by Nevers, but he hinted that recommendations may be sent to him to nominate people in the communities in question, who have the basic skills that the kits require to operate them.
“In terms of IT development,” Nevers said, “there are funds set aside for youngsters whose skills are IT-related but who may never be able to attend university. For them, there are specific courses they can do to target that skill, through the HEART programme. Once they attain the training objective, they would get access to the funding, and will be assisted with equipment that includes laptop and tablet computers.
“The people to benefit are those who have the skills and who find themselves in a bind,” Nevers underscored. “Upon completion, they do a one-year internship job.”
Although the cost to bring the equipment into Jamaica was high, and full duty was charged by Customs on everything, Nevers said he did not seek any favours in getting a reduction on the goods, as he does not like “the links thing in Jamaica, where people resort to calling other people for favours.”