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New Fortress happy with entrepreneurship workshops

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

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Organisers of New Fortress Energy's entrepreneurship workshops, held March 26, are happy that the events attracted more than 250 participants who received sound investment advice from experts — among them Danny Warshay, executive director of the Jonathan M Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship at Brown University.

The events opened with two interactive sessions at the Mona School of Business & Management (MSBM). Among the student participants were the two winners of the National Business Model Competition — Kevonne Martin and Shani Bennett. Educators from several universities participated as well, as did MSBM executives Dr Maurice McNaughton, entrepreneurship lecturer; Minna Israel, special advisor to the vice chancellor on resource development; and Dr David McBean, executive director.

The third workshop, held at Jamaica Pegasus hotel, featured a plenary session, round-table discussions and networking sessions, where the participants seized the opportunity to engage, and in some cases pitch their start-up ideas to, Professor Warshay; Sandra Glasgow, founding member of FirstAngelsJa; and Audrey Richards, venture capital consultant at Development Bank of Jamaica.

Making the point that bottom-up research is the most critical skill in the entrepreneurial process, Warshay emphasised that research has shown that the top two reasons start-ups fail are “one, ignoring customers, and two, no market need”, despite the fact that most people believe cash or lack of funding was the number one reason.

Citing examples from global brands like Procter and Gamble, Warshay gave actionable and practical advice to the participants, urging them to employ the right type of research in their start-up ventures, which includes listening empathetically and observing anthropologically, rather than simply relying on focus groups, surveys and feedback, all of which can produce biased and emotionally driven responses.

Verona Carter, vice-president of public affairs at New Fortress Energy, said the outpouring of positive responses from the participants in the workshops was encouraging, and re-emphasised the importance of entrepreneurship to nation building, social and economic development.

“This is the vision of our Chairman and Founder Wes Edens, who is investing in Jamaica's entrepreneurship sector in meaningful ways as part of his commitment to make a significant impact in supporting sustainable economic development and job creation throughout Jamaica,” Carter said.

“We're thrilled with the turnout, enthusiasm and wonderful support that we've received from the public and private sector entrepreneurship communities.

“We want to thank the Mona School of Business and Management, Development Bank of Jamaica, Jamaica Business Development Corporation, FirstAngels Jamaica, Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship and the Jonathan M Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship at Brown University for partnering with us to make these entrepreneurship workshops such a huge success,” Carter said.

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