Celebrating the spirit of the Jamaican entrepreneur

Jamaican Entrepreneurs

Vote for Jamaicans in Int’l Tech Competition

Posted by CHS on September 16, 2014 in News You Can Use with No Comments

The Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Tech-I Competition is an annual event for young science and technology innovators and entrepreneurs to compete with their ideas and start-ups in the sectors of Agriculture, Health, Energy, and Information Communication Technology in order to receive cash prizes and mentorship opportunities.

Out of a record 502 entries this year, three young Jamaican entrepreneurs have been selected among the top 66 projects around the world!

You can help our outstanding innovators to advance to the finals at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Marrakech, Morocco, by voting for their projects HERE. Put ‘Jamaica’ in the search filter box and the three entrants’ videos will appear.

They are:

Dmitri Dawkins (Poiesis) – creating solutions for lean methodology for businesses and government

Jermaine Henry (Agrocentral) – digital clearing house connecting small farmers and businesses

Sheldon Duncombe (Insusuit) – glucose sensor and monitoring device for persons with diabetes

Voting online is quick and easy, and has the potential to shape the future of these young entrepreneurs and innovators. You can vote once per video/day. Voting is open until 11:59 p.m. EDT on October 1, 2014, so spread the word!

Tech Innovators – Time to Compete!

Posted by CHS on June 18, 2014 in News You Can Use with No Comments

Great news for young, innovative entrepreneurs in Jamaica!

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is holding a Global Entrepreneurship competition in conjunction with the US Department of State. This competition is the flagship program of the Global Innovation through Science and Technology Initiative and this year for the very first year, Jamaicans are eligible to apply.

The competition, Tech-I, is focused on young scientists, innovators, and entrepreneurs, aged between 18-40 years old, who have either an idea or start-up in the subject areas of agriculture, energy, health or information and communication technologies.

The top 30 finalists will win an all-inclusive paid trip to Morocco to participate in the Finals at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. At the finals, applicants will have the opportunity to win up to $15,000 USD in individual funding, up to $70,000 USD in total prize money, a year membership to AAAS, and every finalist will also receive up to 3 months one-on-one mentorship with top experts in their field or subject of interest.

Application deadline is July 21, 2014.

Click HERE to read more about this competition.

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Purpose, Passion, Profit

Posted by CHS on September 24, 2013 in An Entrepreneur's Life with No Comments

One of the questions that potential business owners usually ask is “how can I make money doing what I love to do?” Very often, these optimistic entrepreneurs get discouraged when others declare that the activities they love to do can’t translate into dollars in the real world.

Many people have been led to believe that it’s more important to pursue a career for the money it can bring, instead of the sense of satisfaction that it can create. Many entrepreneurs settle for choosing business opportunities that promise to produce cash, figuring that this will in turn give them contentment.

Is it impractical to believe that you really can match your income source to your personal fulfillment?

Walt Goodridge, author of Turn Your Passion into Profit, disagrees. Goodridge has coined a new word, passionpreneur, to describe persons who have created a passion-centered business. “Passionpreneurs realize that their business is an extension of themselves,” Goodridge explains. “They therefore desire a business that is not only financially profitable, but one that supports their highest calling as well.”

Goodridge reveals that ‘passionpreneurs’ differ from traditional entrepreneurs by designing a purpose-driven business instead of a market-driven one, and seeking the passion before they seek the profit.

Becoming passion-centric in your business first requires you to find your purpose in life, which is the reason you were created and the contribution you make to the world; and then discover your passion, which forms a part of your life’s purpose.

How I became a ‘passionpreneur’
I remember when I came to the realization that I had to pursue my own business. I really enjoyed my job – the camaraderie, atmosphere and opportunities – but I realised that I was not feeling fulfilled in the work I was doing. It was not enough for me to do a job for the sake of a pay cheque, any more.

I thought about my purpose in life and I knew that I was designed to encourage people to achieve. I was really passionate about motivating people to become financially empowered, and hearing their stories of achievement. Then I realised that my job was becoming more administrative, which was moving me away from my purpose and passion. I resolved immediately that I had to find a way to get paid for doing only what I loved to do.

Turning your passion into profit
The key to translating your purpose and passion into monetary returns is the realization that every passion has a value, Goodridge explains. This means that “everyone can be rewarded for the pursuit of something that has special meaning in their lives,” he confirms. Once you have identified the unique value that is inherent in your passion, the next step is to identify a product or service that will provide you with the means to accomplish your purpose.

The secret to creating a profitable, passion-focused business lies in Goodridge’s powerful declaration, “If you create and market a product or service through a business that is in alignment with your personality, incorporates your experiences, harnesses your talents, optimizes your strengths, and honors your life’s purpose, there is absolutely no way that anyone can offer the same value that you do.”

For me, once I determined that I would never again work outside of my purpose, it was relatively easy to design products and services that reflected my passion and provided opportunity for profit. To learn more about discovering your purpose, and turning your passion into profit, go to www.passionprofit.com.

(c) 2009 Cherryl Hanson Simpson

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And the Survey Says…

Posted by CHS on September 10, 2013 in News You Can Use with 2 Comments

A local research company, Balcostics Ltd., has recently completed a survey of some Jamaican Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) to determine the answers to these questions:

  1. Who are Jamaica’s rising SMEs? (age, gender, education level, years in operation)
  2. What are the main challenges facing SMEs?
  3. What are the main reasons persons choose entrepreneurship?
  4. What type of social media, if any, are entrepreneurs using in their businesses?

Although the Balcostics team surveyed a relatively small cross-section of entrepreneurs in Jamaica, the information may provide helpful data to persons who wish to learn more about the makeup, mindset, and methods of local business persons.

To find out more about this survey, click HERE:

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Getting out of business debt

Posted by CHS on August 13, 2013 in Business Basics with No Comments

“I’m desperately seeking a way to turn around my business. I’ve run up a lot of debt in trying to promote a new product, but sales are not coming in fast enough to cover my repayments. I am confident that I’m about to make a breakthrough as more customers are accepting my product, but I don’t know how I’m going to survive until that happens.

I can’t give up now, as generating income from the business is the only way I can hope to get out of my debt. What can I do?”

Years ago, I received this impassioned plea from a determined entrepreneur, who despite all her financial challenges wanted to continue following her business dream. She had a vision to revolutionize her industry with new technology, but like many young business owners, had underestimated what it would take to succeed.

Faced with escalating debt, she was anxious about her future and desperate to find solutions.

Operating a small business in Jamaica can oftentimes be difficult for entrepreneurs. One of the biggest problems is finding affordable financing to meet working capital needs. If you’re fortunate enough to get a loan, it can be even more challenging to generate enough income to meet recurrent expenses plus cover the repayments.

If you want to find out the debt reduction strategies that I recommended to this financially challenged entrepreneur, click on THIS LINK.

(c) Cherryl Hanson Simpson

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Jamaican Ingenuity Brings Biz Opportunity

Posted by CHS on August 6, 2013 in Love This! with No Comments

I recently read a story in the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper about an enterprising man who turned an unused garden equipment into a business opportunity.

Kevin Spence, a trained auto mechanic, converted a 15-horsepower riding lawn mower into a amusement ride for kids. He created a cover the the section that housed the engine and later added three coaches with the help of his friends. He finished up the project by painting it the colours of the Jamaica flag.

Photo credit- Rasbert Turner, The Jamaica Gleaner

LOVE THIS example of how Jamaicans can ‘tun yuh han’ an mek fashion!’

Innovation is the life blood of entrepreneurship, so keep your eyes open for opportunities to make profit from the resources you have right on hand.

Read the full story of how Spence was inspired to create this innovative playground ride HERE.

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Welcome to the Club!

Posted by CHS on July 23, 2013 in An Entrepreneur's Life with No Comments

A friend recently lamented to me about the collapse of his first entrepreneurial venture which left him down in debt instead of plush in profit. He was definitely taken aback when I cheerfully responded “Congratulations, welcome to the club!”

I explained that having experienced this initial setback, he had successfully passed through his initiation rites into business.

Many people consider that failure to achieve a desired result after the first attempt, signals the end of the road for their particular goal. However, it’s important for entrepreneurs to understand that disappointments in business are all part of the game. Once you expect and embrace the inevitable letdowns, you will be able to turn them around to your advantage.

Let’s look at some ways in which failures can actually help you to become a better entrepreneur.

“Remember the two benefits of failure. First, if you do fail, you learn what doesn’t work; and second, the failure gives you the opportunity to try a new approach.” Roger Von Oech, creativity consultant

To get great results in your business you have to be willing to persevere through the learning period. Success is derived by trial and error – you must keep testing your processes until you find the formula that works.

In fact, some outstanding accomplishments only came into being as a result of unsuccessful attempts to do something else. When asked how he felt about failing so many times in his quest to perfect the light bulb, inventor Thomas Edison replied “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

“Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure… it just means you haven’t succeeded yet.”Robert Schuller, televangelist

Never look at your lack of success in a venture as a personality flaw or a sign that you don’t have what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur. Your potential to accomplish great deeds is still intact as long as you continue to work at it, and don’t give up on your dream.

Psychologist William D. Brown summed it up perfectly when he said, “Failure is an event, never a person.”

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan, basketball star

This quote highlights the tough reality of business success – to be victorious you have to open yourself up to making a lot of mistakes along the way. It really is a numbers game – to get more positive responses to your sales pitch, you have to pass through many people who will tell you ‘no.’

Author Mike Litman puts it this way “the reason why you’re not where you want to go or not where you want to be, is that you haven’t failed enough.”

“Failure is nature’s plan to prepare you for great responsibilities.”Napoleon Hill, personal success author

One of the greatest benefits of experiencing failure is that it helps to build your character. Take what you learned from past disappointments and use it to develop yourself into the person you need to be to succeed in your chosen field.

Give yourself permission to try even if you might fail, as Lloyd Brown declares “The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed.”

(c) 2008 Cherryl Hanson Simpson

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Business Lessons from the NBA Finals

Posted by CHS on July 2, 2013 in Business Basics with No Comments

I enjoy watching several sports, and I especially appreciate basketball for its fast-paced action. It’s quite entertaining to observe the highly competitive players battle with drive and determination for over 48 minutes, until one team achieves its ultimate objective of winning the game.

Recently, Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals, which was fiercely contested by the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, gave me much more than just vicarious pleasure. I was extremely inspired by the action, as I marveled at the twists and turns of one of the finest games in basketball history.

As the game progressed along to its nail-biting conclusion, I realised that the setbacks and successes the teams had experienced provided several lessons that could be applied to the world of business. Here are some of the entrepreneurial insights that I gained from the NBA finals:

Develop a game plan
Success in basketball is heavily dependent on the game plan designed by the coaching staff, who analyse their opponents and create a strategy to make optimal use of all the players. It’s important for the team to keep focused on the game plan even in the midst of fierce opposition.

Similarly, strategic direction is essential for success in business. As the owner, you must assess your environment and evaluate the best course of action that will help your business to achieve its objectives. You also need to communicate your game plan to your team to keep them focused.

Want to learn more about what the NBA Finals taught me about business? Click HERE to get the full scoop…

(c) Cherryl Hanson Simpson

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Blogging Turns Japanese Dream Into Reality

Posted by CHS on June 18, 2013 in News You Can Use with No Comments

I usually encourage Jamaicans who are trying to earn extra money to look to the World Wide Web for a source of income. The global marketplace can be a mere mouse click away!

I recently came across a story about Kelroy Brown, a young Jamaican who for many years dreamed of visiting Japan. It seems that Kelroy has an affinity for all things Japanese, so he started a blog called Jamaipanese.com (I wonder if he coined that great name?)

In 2010,  Kelroy decided to start a campaign called “Operation Visit Japan” in which he planned to raise the funds required to travel to the place of his dreams.

He calculated that between January 2010 and March 2011, he could save US$100 each month from his salary and earn around US$1,200 from advertising revenue on his blog. This would be enough to finance his trip to the ‘Land of the Rising Sun.’

Kelroy’s dogged determination paid off and in late 2011 he accomplished his ambitious objective.

Here is proof that it is possible to create a blog, post interesting articles, attract regular followers and earn foreign exchange right from your home.

I hope you will be encouraged to try your own online venture after reading more about Kelroy’s feats in this YouthLink Magazine article.

Photo courtesy of youthlinkjamaica.com

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The Power of Word-of-Mouth

Posted by CHS on May 7, 2013 in An Entrepreneur's Life with No Comments

Effective marketing is the lifeblood of an entrepreneur’s operations.  There are two main challenges for most business start-ups – how to get people to know they exist and how to convince them that they should buy their product or service.

How can an entrepreneur be successful at marketing with a tiny or non-existent advertising budget? Networking can be an inexpensive way to get prospective customers to hear about you. Here’s another low-cost method to influence them to accept your offerings — referral marketing.

Referral marketing is simply using your existing customer base as a sales force to spread the word about your operation. Think of how eager you usually are to check out a new restaurant or movie when a friend gives you a glowing recommendation. The same process can work for your business, if you encourage your clients to enthusiastically tell others about your product or service.

How can you harness the power of word-of-mouth to work for you? Let’s look at some key steps:

Satisfy your clients

The first step to getting great reviews is to provide an exceptional buying experience. Focus on delivering high quality products and services, as nobody will recommend your business if they’re really not ‘wowed’ by what you have to offer.

You can also create trust and loyalty by building solid relationships with your clients. There are some professions, such as therapists or hairdressers, where customers are gained mainly on the basis of positive recommendations.

Ask and you will receive

Some entrepreneurs may feel a little uncomfortable about asking their current customers to refer their friends and acquaintances. Unfortunately, salespersons have gotten a bad reputation as being pushy and self-serving, and many business persons would rather not risk offending their customers by appearing to ‘beg’ for customers.

One definition of an entrepreneur is someone who solves people’s problems for a profit. If you’re confident in the quality of your offering, you should be eager to solve as many people’s problems as possible. A great time to ask for a referral is after your customer has congratulated you on a job well done. Respond to the compliment by saying, “I’m happy that you appreciate my work. Do you know any one else that you think could benefit from my services?”

Develop a referral system

David Frey, writing on www.businessknowhow.com, declares that simply asking existing customers for referrals doesn’t usually provide dramatic results, as it is not a systematic process. “People don’t get even a tiny amount of the referrals they could be getting simply because the whole ‘asking’ process is flawed,” Frey points out.

To be successful in referral marketing, Frey explains, you have to create a system that will give predictable results and solid returns. The idea is to offer incentives to existing customers at every point of contact.

For example, you can give out coupons to your customers offering discounts if they bring a friend the next time they shop at your establishment. If you send out monthly bills, include a leaflet highlighting the referral benefits.

So, create a repeatable process that consistently encourages and rewards your existing clientele to become your evangelists, and you could truly experience the immense marketing power of word-of-mouth.

(c) 2008 Cherryl Hanson Simpson

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