The University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 launched the book “Oliver Jones: An Entrepreneurial Journey” at a ceremony held at the Knutsford Court Hotel, Kingston. The book is authored by Professor Rosalea Hamilton and Dr. Angela Ramsay and is the first in a series of books from the UTech/ScotiaBank Chair in Entrepreneurship which addresses entrepreneurship from a development perspective within the Caribbean Region.
The UTech publication examines the extent to which the entrepreneurial experiences of Oliver Jones, retired Insurance Executive and Social Activist are consistent with the scholarship on core entrepreneurial behaviours, namely innovativeness, creation and exploitation of opportunities and the employment of strategic managerial competences. In addition, the authors seek to explore Oliver Jones’ successes and failures within the Caribbean social and historical contexts.
Oliver Jones, who is also Chairman of the Office of Development Advisory Committee (ODAC) at UTech, stands out in Caribbean entrepreneurial experience because of his outstanding success in building one of the largest insurance conglomerates in Jamaica, Island Life. The book also explores the path that Jones took after the failure of his insurance company, into the field of entrepreneurship and re-creating himself as an outstanding motivational speaker.
Chancellor, UTech, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga, ON, PC in his welcome, told the full house of business leaders, academics and members of government, that the book “fills a big gap in knowledge of our history and an understanding of how that history has helped to formulate the present and can assist in the formulation of the future.” Mr. Seaga lamented the fact that very few people in public and private life have written about the details of their life from which we can learn.
The cadre of other distinguished persons who addressed the book launch ceremony and who are personal friends of Jones; all lauded him for his role in nation building and as an outstanding entrepreneur and social activist.
Declaring the book officially launched and symbolically unveiling a life-sized photograph of the cover, Prof. the Hon. Errol Morrison, OJ, President, UTech described the research publication as a “must read for all entrepreneurs whether they are heading in the financial or social sphere.”
Prof. Rosalea Hamilton, Vice President, Development and Community Service, UTech and head of the Scotiabank Chair in Entrepreneurship and Development at UTech, explained that part of the mandate of the Chair is to undertake research, case studies on entrepreneurship and development as well as public education to understand the significance of entrepreneurship in the development process. Prof. Hamilton revealed that among the important conclusions drawn by the authors is that we must have a proper policy framework that facilitates and encourages entrepreneurship so that it will have the kind of impact that we want.
Dr. Angela Ramsay, Research Specialist and Author in referring to the “Hard Times” chapter of the book, quipped that it tells of how Jones reacts to a very major and very public episode in his life while finding the “mental enzymes not to digest but to reject any meals made of the fish bones of pity or the greasy soup of schadenfreude that might have been offered to him on a platter.” She praised Jones for fuelling his social consciousness to a different level over the past 15 years as a social entrepreneur.
The book’s two forewords were penned by former Governor General, the Most Hon. Sir Kenneth Hall and Sir Alister McIntyre and were delivered by the Hon. Dennis Lalor, OJ, Chairman and CEO, ICWI and Dr. the Hon. R. Danvers Williams, OJ, Chairman, Sagicor respectively on behalf of both men who were unable to attend the ceremony.
Hall’s foreword described the publication as “a welcome addition to the growing literature by and about Jamaicans over the past few years,” that “adds a richness, context and depth to the exposition of entrepreneurship,” while McIntyre’s noted that, “this book constitutes a highly interesting account of the growth and demise of a very important Jamaican company through tracing the successful ascendancy of its founder, Oliver Jones, in leading his company to extraordinary heights of success, and later to adjust to a sharp decline in the fortunes of the enterprise.” McIntyre noted further that students and other readers of the book will be able to draw upon this case study of fluctuating fortunes in guiding their own preparation for career development.
In his response Oliver Jones thanked the authors and all who participated in the launch ceremony, noting that he was now working on a second book that will look at political life in Jamaica.