Success Stories

Jamaica is positioning itself as the next global hub for animation and Reel Rock GSW is one of the animation studios at the epicentre of the development. Reel Rock offers its clients the full spectrum of animation services from illustrations to storyboarding, animation, digital paint, compositing and post-production work.

In 2012, JAMPRO-landed investment ISOCON-JLB International established a shipping container cleaning and repair facility at the New Port East in the Kingston Free Zone. The cleaning facility, which is the first of its kind locally, will provide much needed services at a global standard for food grade International Standards Organization (ISO) containers.

JAMPRO launched the pilot of the Export Max programme in 2011 to assist small to medium sized enterprises with growing their export sales. The recently launched ExportMax II promises to do the same, with the addition of a corporate mentorship programme and an added focus on capacity building.

For more information on Export Max I & II and other export programmes, click here .

 

This moment created what is now the only company making candy in exclusively Caribbean flavours, Sweetie Confectionery. Aarons, the company’s CEO, left her full time career in marketingto pursue a dream of owning her own business, and manufacturing candy that Jamaicans bothhome and away could enjoy.

 The early days were challenging; Patria-Kaye had to start small and starting small means becoming skilled in many areas quickly. “I did everything!” she said, “Chased orders, supervisedproduction, delivery…, everything. It was exhausting but well worth the effort and helped meappreciate every role.”

Managing the workload was only half of the challenge. Patria-Kaye had to make the transition from employee to entrepreneur, “It’s a BIG jump from being a kick butt marketer to being a kickbutt CEO, especially in a field that’s new to me. Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship and the Scotiabank Vision Achievers Programme really helped make me make that transition.”

There were also difficulties related to the development of the formulae for the candy. She worked with the Scientific Research Council to create the flavour profiles for her products, “The Scientific Research Council is a little known gem. The team there helped with the development of my formulations so that now I can offer the world a jackfruit sweetie with all the yummy taste and none of the smell.”

With drive, determination and a keen eye for opportunities, Sweetie started to expand its reach across Jamaica. In its first year of business, the company quickly grew to distributing their products to 150 locations. Then came exporting, “JAMPRO gave me my first exporting break,” explained Patria-Kaye, “Because of their Business to Business matchmaking session at the Diaspora Conference in 2015, I met Noel Dempster, my distributor in London.

I pitched to him in Montego Bay, Now, the company is exporting to the USA, UK and US Virgin Islands and has launched three products.

 Aarons said she is sometimes overwhelmed with the success of the company, “I can’t send brittle to the UK fast enough, and Paradise Plum flies off the shelves everywhere.  The business is growing faster than my pocket can keep up with.”

She attributes the company’s success to the large market interested in Sweetie’s products. 

With the Diaspora, Jamaicans at home and persons living in other Caribbean islands, there are millions of persons who appreciate the taste of tropical fruit candy, and are attracted to the nostalgic feeling when consuming traditional products like the “Paradise Plum”. Patria describes Sweetie as driven by the possibility of bringing a little piece of paradise to an under-served Caribbean people.

For the future, Aarons aims to have a 10% share of the Caribbean confectionery market over the next five years. In addition, she intends to launch a new product format, new flavours and export to two new markets every year for the next five years.

With all of this success, it is not surprising that the CEO has only positive things to say about starting a business in Jamaica, and recommends that other Jamaicans follow suit. She shared her perspective on doing business in Jamaica, saying,

 “Jamaica has many untapped opportunities. I encourage everyone to critically look at everything they interact with. Ask the question, “Where was this made?” And if the answer isn’t Jamaica ask “Why not?” and “How can I make it here?”

With her resolve to excel, Aarons looks forward to the future of Sweetie with positive ambitions, and sees many possibilities on the horizon.

 

Digital cable and broadband service provider Columbus Communications launched its operations in Jamaica under the Flow brand in 2006 and, to date, has saturated roughly 50 per cent of the market with a customer base of over half a million subscribers. They have so far invested US$250 million in local development, which represents roughly 25 per cent of the company's total outlay inside the Caribbean region.

The company’s confidence in Jamaica is reflected in its decision to invest US$40 million annually over the next four years on its operations in Jamaica as part of its aggressive development geared at strengthening its foothold in major centres across the island. Flow Jamaica currently employs about 600 persons, while engaging another 200 as outside contractors.

Since entering the local market, the company has driven commercial internet prices down by as much as 98 per cent and residential prices by 76 per cent. This has contributed to Jamaica being recognised as a more competitive jurisdiction for investors in a range of services that require competitively priced broadband capacity.

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