From left: Debbie Bissoon, TiaMoyo Lyn, Marvin Hall and Racquell Brown were speakers at the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce Young Entrepreneur Conference at the Courtleigh Auditorium recently.
Inspiration – through failure, through creativity, through tenacity, through grit and through continued learning – permeated the atmosphere at the recent Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) Young Entrepreneur Conference at the Courtleigh Auditorium. The theme for the third consecutive year, ‘Own Your Future’, was made tangible by the panel of young, accomplished entrepreneurs – TiaMoyo Lyn, Tyrone Wilson and Racquell Brown. As an inspiring entrepreneur in her own right, domestic abuse advocate and popular Jamaican media personality Debbie Bissoon led the Saturday event with skilful zest.
The day started off with the panellists almost immediately sharing honest details of their story to a packed auditorium. Founder and Managing Director of Irie Rock Racquell Brown shared how she initially started the natural skincare brand due to having what she referred to as “horrible skin and wanting a solution”. Brown started from making her own products and handing them out to her friends to now heading a brand which offers over 30 products to the public.
“It’s more than just providing good quality skincare products; it is about producing products that will actually have an impact.” She spoke notably about the importance of getting to know the target customer and being comfortable in speaking about what one is selling.
Founder of the Miss Dutchie brand of Jamaican jerk spices, TiaMoyo Lyn, enlightened the audience on some aspects of gaining popularity for her brand despite entering the already-saturated Jamaican market for jerk products. To budding entrepreneurs, she stressed the importance of working in their industry of interest and seeking mentorship before throwing themselves into the entrepreneurial role. This sentiment as well as an indomitable sense of determination resonated among the panellists.
Tyrone Wilson, founder, president and CEO of eMedia Interactive Group Limited and owner of iCreate Limited, especially stressed the salience of stubbornness.
“If you want to be an entrepreneur, don’t let anybody tell you otherwise; that’s rule number one,” he pointed out. The owner of the digital media, branded content and training business also shared the crucial role that creative training played in getting his business to succeed. It is a crucial process in technology and digital media which he wishes to see expand in Jamaica.
By mid-afternoon, the entrepreneurial minds in the audience were alert and eager for the words of ‘chief educational revolutionary’ founder of Halls of Learning and main speaker for the day, Marvin Hall. Rather than delivering a spiel on the wonders of technology and countless potentials of artificial intelligence advancement, Hall let us know that he consciously opted to provide the audience with some more personal insight into his entrepreneurial journey. Reading copies of his own personal emails, the recipient of the 2018 RJRGLEANER Honour Awards Special Award for Science and Technology carried listeners through his journey of rejection, collaboration and determination to follow through on his promises to provide numerous scholarships to students of technological innovation all over Jamaica. He spoke of the importance of developing our own learning technologies in Jamaica, and tapping into aspects of our own culture, such as music, and using it as a platform for learning.
“We won’t realise our own power until we develop our own technological platform for learning,” he declared. Halls of Learning is the national organiser of World Robot Olympiad Jamaica, which aims to involve students in robotics innovation, allowing them to not only expand their knowledge and creativity, but also giving Jamaican children a chance at representing the country internationally at the World Robot Olympiad finals. The finals will be held in Hungary this year; 2019 registration is now open to Jamaican schools at https://bit.ly/wrojamaica2019.
The conference concluded with a lively question-and-answer session between the audience and panellists. There were also multiple giveaways facilitated by the event’s sponsors: Kingston Bookshop, GraceKennedy Limited and Sol Petroleum Jamaica Ltd, among others.