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Plain Talk

Samuel G. Coates Sr, a young entrepreneur and the first Vice President of the YEA, speaks with jobsmart on the path and expriences to being a businessman.

1. What prompted you start your own enterprise?
I was always entrepreneurial from my youth days. I use to do sell various items as a child to finance my personal bills unto assist my parents. For every job that I had I always imaging owning my own business in that field. In 1993 I started working with a Customs Brokering firm. In 1995 I got an opportunity to work for an importer in a personal capacity, which I took with both arms. Since then I have grew my company significantly to over fifty clients to date.

2. Did your past experiences help you in your venture?
Yes because I had worked in the Customs Brokering field before I went on my own. I got internal training from the company I was working for at the time so I learnt the business quickly. (Customs Brokering) To start a successful business one need to be intimate with the industry, profession and laws that govern that business. One needs to understand the concept of business and what it entails. You have to know about customer service, finances/accounting, taxation, product development, marketing and human resource. If you donít have these skills then you will need to employ someone with the requisite skills for your business.

3. Recount the path to the present, what have you learned along the way?
It as been a very challenging path, you get mix feelings because sometimes the reward of owning your own company is good but sometimes you have some serious challenges with staff, clients, government agencies and finances. I have learned how to be patient with all of the above, commitment to the cause of making my company survive, perseverance in the rough times and continuing my education be it academic or in the field of my profession.

4. A brief on the highs and the lows that you have had?
Highs, valedictory at the graduate class of a Customs Brokering training course, when I got my Customs Broker license, elected President of St. Andrew Junior Chamber, elected assistant treasurer to the Customs Broker and Freight Forwarder Association of Jamaica, elected Vice President of the Young Entrepreneur Association of Jamaica and the opportunity to learn. Lows, challenge in obtaining finances for growth and expansion.

6. As a part of the YEA, what are your hope and expectations?
For us to be a credible organization within Jamaica and the Caribbean also to be a force to be reckoning with in terms of Government policies and programs unto calibrate with other NGO (JMA, PSOJ, JEF, and JEA).

7. How do you foresee the future of entrepreneurship in Jamaica?
Entrepreneurship is the only way Jamaica can grow its economy. All over the world studies have shown where entrepreneurship trough MICO and SME as cause those economies to grow. Look at China and India those countries economies have grown because of new enterprise and industries. Locally we are experiencing some growth because of the investment in tourism and agriculture. MICO and SME employed more people than the big companies, some of those companies are mature and other have move to technology for efficiency and the bottom line.
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