JBDC says ‘thank you’ to partners and stakeholders
A sea of entrepreneurs, government and private sector partners assembled at the Jamaica Pegasus for the 12th Annual JBDC Small Business Expo & Conference last week. The event was staged under the theme – Monetising the Orange Economy: The Future is Creative and featured 53 exhibitors, 13 presentations by industry experts and a keynote address delivered by Ian ‘Ity’ Ellis, Director of Ellis International.
The event brought into focus 4 key areas under the Orange Economy: Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Artificial Intelligence and Publishing. According to the Inter-American Development Bank, in 2012 the income generated from the Orange Economy globally was estimated at US$547 billion and in 2015 accounted for 29.5 million jobs, comparable to all jobs generated by the economy of Great Britain. For Latin America and the Caribbean, the orange economy meant 1.9 million jobs in 2015.
“We believe that as the government’s leading business development service provider for MSMEs, we have a duty to highlight what could be the answer to Jamaica’s economic development challenges. Jamaicans are super talented and have consistently outdone themselves in the cultural and creative industries which make up the orange economy which is massive. However, many have failed to monetise their creativity simply because they are not operating it as a business,” said Valerie Veira, Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).
Speaking at the opening of the Expo, Miss Veira said she was heartened that partners and entrepreneurs bought into the vision by investing their time and funds into the event. “I am particularly pleased that Sagicor has come on board as title sponsor because funding is a major challenge for entrepreneurs. It is the beginning of a mutually beneficial partnership and a signal of their interest in the development of entrepreneurs within this industry. I am also pleased that the entrepreneurs themselves have come out to learn all that we have to share,” she added.
Armed with a bag of oranges, Keynote Speaker Ian ‘Ity’ Ellis had the audience in stitches for an hour as he delivered under the theme ‘Laughing all the way to the Bank: Creativity meets Business’. Ellis chronicled his entrepreneurial journey which began as far back as primary school when he accompanied his mother to the corner of Orange Street in Downtown Kingston to sell her wares. “I wish my mother were here today to see me as keynote speaker at the JBDC Small Business Expo & Conference,” said an emotional Ellis.
Continuing he highlighted that his foray into comedy began with the realisation that he would not become a singer like other stars in the Ellis clan and the denial of his desire to be made redundant from Island Records where he was an accountant. “If Ellis wants to leave, let him resign. So I left after 14 years with no money,” he recounted. Since then, Ellis has played a significant role in the family business which has released productions including Backyard Crack-up, Christmas Comedy Cook-up, The Ity & Fancy Cat Show and the Bigger Boss. Ellis along with the other half of his comedy duo Fancy Cat, have also been the faces of corporate campaigns for companies like Courts and Digicel.
The JBDC Small Business Expo & Conference is held annually in May with the main objective of educating MSMEs on areas which are crucial to their success.