Success Stories

 

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.

 

 

 

Jamaica is home to exceptionally talented fashion designers and is poised to claim a significant portion of the ever increasing global fashion market. Managing Director of Heather Laine , Zoe Heather Summers, speaks to JAMPRO in this feature about the company's success in the fashion industry and her plans for the future.

With Jamaica boasting world class sprinters, ground breaking bobsledders and outstanding cricketers and footballers, it is no doubt that the sporting industry is big business. For 22 years Wynlee Distributors has ensured that the island is well represented in the creation of quality uniforms for a variety of sporting activities. 

Wynlee Trading produces a wide variety of sportswear for top athletes as well as aspiring ones at the club and school level or for those who just want to keep fit.  Winsome Halliman stands proudly among some of Wynlee’s products.

“What’s special about Wynlee is that we’re open and flexible: we design and create uniforms with the style and colours that our clients want,” says Winsome Halliman, CEO of Wynlee Distributors. “Teams want uniforms that reflect their institution or team colours”, she adds. In the early days the company focused on the local market, with the hope of one day expanding beyond the borders of their home ground. Then five years ago Wynlee visited the JAMPRO offices for help in expanding their business into the overseas market, realizing that export was vital to the company’s survival.  Uncertain as to how to approach the export market, Wynlee soon found themselves in capable hands.

 

Wynlee Trading  increased their export sales by 60 per cent as a result of their participation in Export Max, earning them the trophy for Highest Growth in Export Sales.  Winsome Halliman receives the award from JAMPRO President, Diane Edwards.

Halliman explains, “JAMPRO set up a structure for us, and when Export Max came along we were invited to apply, and were selected.” It was a game changer for Wynlee. “They taught us the importance of quality and assisted us in getting into the export market: we benefitted from consultancy, developed marketing plans and went to trade shows in Trinidad, Barbados, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and China.  When we were falling, the consultants pulled us up.  We learned the importance of social media, and our export business has grown in the last two years.”


 JAMPRO’s Export Max helped Wynlee Trading to increase their export sales by 60 per cent in 2013. Winsome Halliman checks her mail for new orders.

Now Wynlee has expanded into the Caribbean and as far afield as New York. Teams in Cayman, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Trinidad are sporting Wynlee creations on the field.

Throughout the years Wynlee has learned that since they can’t compete on price, they have to offer their customers specialized design and quality products. For the next five years they plan to move into new export markets, beginning with additional Caribbean countries. They want to improve the quality of life of their employees, who are the backbone of the company’s success. 

 

 

Wynlee Trading acquired machine embroidery equipment through the technical support of JAMPRO and its partners. This equipment  allows them to offer their clients customized embroidered logos and other designs.

Winsome Halliman is reaching out to financing companies to make it easier for small and medium sized companies to access capital for their businesses. To companies who want to improve their export capacity, she says: “Apply to participate in Export Max II.  You have nothing to lose, and a lot to gain.”

For more information on Export Max I and Export Max II, click here.

 

The FINPYME ExportPlus programme is an initiative of the Inter-American Investment Corporation. The programme provides technical assistance, training and financial support to SMEs in developing countries.

 

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.

 

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