In just the first two cohorts since the introduction of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation’s (JBDC) Accelerator Programme, participating businesses have secured over J$100 million in new contracts. This was revealed by Business Advisory Services Manager, Althea West-Myers as she provided an overview of the programme during the launch of the third cohort on Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.
According to Mrs. West-Myers, the first two cohorts of the programme exceeded its primary objective as it unearthed a wave of high-growth potential entrepreneurs with a zest for personal and national development.
“Through the [Accelerator] programme, we have been able to identify and handpick a group of people who are keen to create change through entrepreneurship,” she stated.
Noting some of the other programme achievements, she boasted that participating entrepreneurs have also pitched for over $200 million in private equity but there were some businesses that were still in the due diligence process. “We have had ten businesses entering new markets, the creation of 15 jobs and the initiation of one co-creation relationship; and these we believe are significant markers of success for the programme.”
The JBDC’s Accelerator programme is an intense six-month training programme, guided by a team of in-house Business Development Officers who are supported by an outstanding group of mentors and industry experts who provide expert guidance in the areas of process development and business re-engineering. Based heavily on the lean startup development model, the Accelerator programme focuses on the critical pillars of market development, access to financing, network expansion and development of entrepreneurial talent.
As part of Tuesday’s launch, Cohort two participant, Leighton Campbell gave a resounding testimonial of his experience during the programme. In highlighting the successes of what he now defines as his ‘limitless business’, the CEO of Mobile Edge Solutions noted that although apprehensive at the beginning of the programme, he was determined to get all the tools he could to transform his business.
“I went all in, 100%, no matter what it took. Most times, I survived on 4 hours of sleep. I felt like quitting many times,” he shared. His determination and commitment paid off as at the end of the programme, his company Mobile Edge Solutions was awarded the Most Improved Business and he received the ‘Best Team Player’ recognition.
Listing his successes, Mr. Campbell remarked that within the 6 months, his business grew from a 1 ½ man operation to 5 full-time team members and two contract workers. Two new products were introduced to the market with one achieving over J$3 million in sales.
The future is also bright for Mr. Campbell as he disclosed that Mobile Edge recently acquired a new client from the United States, is in dialogue with another regionally for a contract worth J$25 million and currently has a deal in progress with one of the world’s largest SMS aggregators from Switzerland. If this deal comes to fruition, Mobile Edge will deliver authentication codes for 3 major international tech companies. He also revealed that he has attracted the interest of global tech giant, Oracle.
Approximately 20 companies from a wide-range of industries form part of this cohort. Business types include: Beauty & Medical care, Agro-processing & Manufacturing, IT support services, Software Development & Animation, Education & Training, Media and Communications and Finance & Transportation.