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.

Entrepreneur Racquell Brown has translated her love and passion for Jamaica's flora into a lucrative line of exotic, all-natural skincare products. Operating under the Irie Rock Yaad Spa brand, Brown has developed a range of mood-boosting scents, namely: Papaya Path, Mango Walk, Coconut Sensation, Vanilla Bliss, Citrus Fields, Coffee Delight, Pineapple Express, Watermelon Fresh and Jamaican Cocoa Butter.

Her products are available in most of Jamaica's high-end boutique properties, as well as in pharmacies and gift shops across the island.   

“Hotels are currently my biggest customers, as well as spas and gift shops. Those products usually only reach to the tourists and I would like to expand to locals and pushing that as a core market,” she said.

Irie Rock has consistently participated in JAMPRO’s Business Linkages programmes, in particular the annual Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) tourism trade fair. In 2012, the Irie Rock brand benefited from favourable exposure in the Commonwealth Secretariat-sponsored Spring Fair International in the United Kingdom. Irie Rock products are sold in Trinidad and the Bahamas, and Brown is seeking to find markets in the UK and North America.

Brown applauded JAMPRO’s ongoing efforts to facilitate her spa line, noting that the agency provides her with constant feedback, updates and invitations to useful and informative trade events.

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.

 

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.

 

 

Nestled in the green hills of St. Ann, Federal Transformer Manufacturing & ConsultingLimited (FTMCL) is rapidly taking its place as one of Jamaica’s most innovative companies. The brainchild of returning resident Granville Reid, the company was launched in July 2015 after almost two years of research and training of 23 electrical engineers.

The concept for FTMCL was born after identifying a need in the Jamaican space for transformer repairs and maintenance. While working in Canada, Reid recognized that there was no official avenue for Jamaica’s largest power company

– Jamaica Public Service (JPS) – to refurbish transformers. This meant that JPS had to send devices overseas to be serviced at extremely

high costs. Identifying this clear gap in the Jamaican market, he pursued the opportunity, estimating that JPS could save up to 30% in costs if the refurbishing was done locally. Reid saw that not only JPS, but other large industries such as tourism and manufacturing generated their own power and could benefit from this service.

FTMCL came to life with a mandate to manufacture and refurbish transformers of various sizes and voltage output levels in Jamaica. Reid left Canada and returned to Jamaica to execute his idea. He immediately contacted Jamaica’s investment promotion agency, JAMPRO, where he worked with officers to have his business plan developed, and to identify a location to accommodate the factory.

Dr. Karl Reid, finance and administration manager and company secretary for FTMCL, told JAMPRO that the company struggled in the early stages to find financing for this new business concept. However, with JAMPRO’s help, the company received assistance from the EXIM Bank and eventually received financial support from local banks to transition from the developmental to the operational stage.

With funding in hand and the project operational, the company saw immediate success.

FTMCL started by providing services to the hotel industry, and to companies such as

Jamaica Broilers and Wigton Wind Farm Limited.

 

 

 

Leo Cousins and Vincent Hill are engineers by profession who have mined success in the Jamaican hills. They are the owners of Lydford Mining, a multi-million dollar operation located in St. Ann, the birth parish of Reggae legend Bob Marley.

The mining and processing operation is an investor’s dream with full order books for limestone products, zero debt and extensive reserves of high grade limestone. Their tale of success is one of vision and perseverance.

Established in 1991 as a limited liability company, Lydford Mining weathered the early storm when local bauxite companies declined to pick up their merchandise. The resilient team eventually managed to land the US-based J.M. Huber Corporation, with its subsidiary Huber Engineered Materials, as their first customer. With that initial single order of whiting grade limestone, the company charted upward in an aggressive growth spurt that continues today.

Lydford Mining currently exports 120,000 tonnes of high purity limestone, 100,000 tonnes of industrial grade and 2,000 tonnes of ground material each year.  In addition to J.M. Huber, the company’s client list also includes the US-based Mississippi Lime Company and Chilean company Electroandina.

Lydford Mining also sells its limestone to local manufacturers who use it in processing fertilizers, animal feed, fillers for plastics and paints and many other industrial products. Before the company commenced operations, all these products were imported at twice the cost in most cases.

The company’s staff complement has grown from six in 1991 to 60 in 2014, and the rental of 25 trucks and six pieces of mining equipment has created additional employment for at least 30 workers.

Through the years, the resourceful team of Cousins and Hill has invested significantly in state-of-the-art technology – a move that has kept productivity at optimal levels. They are currently in the process of expanding their high-tech lab, which is used to analyse and test processed material.

With their sights set on a larger share of the world market, where there is demand for food and medical/pharmaceutical grade limestone, Cousins and Hill are currently working on securing a US$4 million investment to bring this goal to fruition. According to Cousins, the future plans to increase output of the higher profit-yielding, value-added limestone products are predicated on the quality of Jamaican limestone and the enabling business climate.

“After all, without quality, we wouldn’t exist…With its numerous viable investment possibilities, economic and political stability, Jamaica is both a reliable and dynamic quality brand,” says Cousins.

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