First Look

Entrepreneurs set to expand businesses under HEART TRUST/NTA MSME Support Programme

HEART Trust/NTA | 2016-09-06 09:00:00

The price of automating their business is no longer a steep one to pay for six entrepreneurs who will receive tools and equipment valued at over $14M in total under the HEART Trust/NTA Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSME) Support Programme.

Shackeria Lewis, owner of Professional Outsourcing Solutions, a Jamaican-based call centre, is thankful for the assistance as she recounts having to forego previous business opportunities due to a lack of resources.  "Customers would approach me wanting particular services, even from overseas and I just would not be able to handle these requests," she said.  As a result of the HEART Trust's investment her business will be equipped with customer relationship software, cubicles, computers and accounting software valued at over $2.8M.

The local cosmetics industry will also benefit immensely with the injection of over $2.7M in young Crystal-Ann Thompson's company, Honey Vera.  Thompson started Honey Vera as a student of the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) two years ago.  Unable to find organic based products for personal use, she set out to produce them herself. The biological science major has a staff of 5 part-time workers who help her to create hair oils, lemongrass and honey hair gels, along with shampoos and conditioners, which treat alopecia and receding hair lines.   She says the addition of a machine to fill bottles will tremendously increase production capacity, allowing her to export more of her products.  "I want Honey Vera to be the product of choice for local and overseas clients as there is a market for these organic based products," she stated.

Another entrepreneur who is benefitting from the HEART Trust MSME programme is Headley Frazer, a local potter and proprietor of Frazer's Ceramics. Frazer has used his over $2.6M HEART Trust investment to secure a gasket and potter's wheel which are critical to the success of his business.  The former mechanic fell in love with molding beautiful pieces from clay over 30 years ago.  This love has developed into a great business.

He has six full time workers and two part time to help him perfect his creations. Frazer's fabulous vases and bowls are the centerpiece of many Jamaican homes and are always a conversation starter.  "Customers are drawn to the attractive designs and many can hardly believe they were made from scratch right here in Jamaica," Frazer explained.

With the increased demand for home- grown products and an investment of $2.9M, Grace Foster-Reid has found her sweet spot in Eco Farms/Environmed, specializing in value-added honey products.  Spending her days surrounded by the constant buzzing of bees has only intensified the entrepreneur's love for the honey they produce.  The former engineer started her company after being laid off after decades of service in her previous job.  "I went to visit my father one day and saw that he had the makings of what is now EcoFarms.  I had always wanted to give back in some way to my community and I was now jobless so I thought long and hard about making the plunge into entrepreneurship. It has not been easy and at times I do wish I had a 9-5 job and a regular paycheck at the end of the month but ultimately, it's worth it," exclaimed Reid.

Another beneficiary of the HEART MSME programme is the Jamaica Transport Services (JTS), managed by Ricardo James. The young entrepreneur has acquired new radios, an up-to-date accounting software and an integrated communication technology system which will allow persons to book a taxi with the use of an app.

James has used his experience in the transport industry to create a system which is multi-dimensional in its scope of offerings.  JTS provides chartered taxis, haulage and rental services for clients.  He commends the HEART Trust/NTA for providing the assistance to MSMEs and encourages other business owners to come on board.  "To provide over $1.9M capital to anyone is a bold move; it's an investment in our success and I hope to grow my business to make it the best transport option available on the market," said James.

Ethnie Miller-Simpson, head of branding company Zinergy International and its subsidiary Zinergy Foods will receive over $900,000 under the HEART programme to fund equipment and technical capacity development.  As part of the committee which helped to shape the MSME Support Programme, Miller-Simpson and her associates sought to ensure that it was holistically developed and that it would deliver theory to the entrepreneurs with practical examples and coaching from others who had walked the road before and have overcome challenges to reap success.

Posted By :Tarayne Thompson

Company Name : HEART Trust/NTA

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