Technology is a major driving force for any business during this time. E-commerce, as we mentioned in last week’s blog, has the potential to take your business to the next level by expanding reach and accessibility. Today we feature the journey of an entrepreneur who is making waves both locally and internationally in e-commerce. The ‘E-commerce General’ himself, Leighton Campbell, Chief Visionary and Managing Director of Mobile Edge Solutions, shares his story and passion for making business available online.
Employee to Entrepreneur
Leighton attended the University of the West Indies (UWI) where he got his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He said, “I left UWI during the recession when it was difficult to get jobs. I remember that summer sending out at least 200 applications.” He took the first job he was offered and ensured he gave it his best. He then realised that he wanted more experience and took a pay cut in exchange for exposure and began working with a startup as a technical support. He blossomed with this company and took on lead roles and transitioned to Mobile Edge.
The Story of Mobile Edge
Mobile Edge was officially started in 2016 with a specific focus on SMS on mobile phones. Do you know those text messages that you get from big companies like NCB or JN Bank? Mobile Edge helps to power many of those. “When we realised that there is more than 100% mobile penetration in Jamaica, we knew there was a great opportunity for companies to service their customers wherever they are through their mobile devices,” said Leighton. So Mobile Edge’s initial focus was on leveraging SMS for businesses. The company now offers a wide range of services with special emphasis on ecommerce solutions. Services include e-commerce solution design, website and software development, payment gateways, SMS, email and Live chats communications, among other things.
According to Leighton, “The vision for Mobile Edge was really to enable the doing of business through phones, companies should be able to service their customers wherever just like how we are able to purchase things online. Jamaica has a very strong entrepreneurial spirit and a strong brand and product and we want to empower companies to help their customers.” He continued emphasising the important space e-commerce has in entrepreneurship, pointing out that “once you are able to combine commerce and communication, you can do business with anyone anywhere.” Campbell boasts of their commitment to supporting companies finding their way online. “You can check out our e-commerce guide 10 things you need to move your business online on our website,” he added.
JBDC and Leighton Campbell
Leighton is no stranger to the JBDC family as he participated in the organisation’s intensive growth initiative called the Accelerator Programme in 2018. He was awarded the Most Improved as well as Best Team Player among his cohort. He was then awarded JBDC B.O.S.S Man of the Year 2019.
Leighton says he came to JBDC when he wanted to streamline business in a very structured way. He commends the work of the JBDC in helping him realise what he was bringing to the table as well as expand his outlook on the potential of Mobile Edge. “Upon participating in the JBDC Accelerator Programme and looking at the market needs we realised that e-commerce was a bigger need, and it was also highly underserviced. We realised there was a great need for smaller, medium-sized businesses who did not understand the potential of e-commerce to start small and then grow their usage,” he said.
Tips and the Way Forward
Leighton underscored how the terrain of entrepreneurship is difficult but encouraged business owners to take the many lessons that come with the journey. “It is a very humbling experience of self-discovery. Entrepreneurship has taught me patience, built character and resilience. There is a point of no return, where you as an entrepreneur have to make a determination on what you are choosing. Are you going to lock yourself into this idea and give it 100% or are you going to walk away?” he said. He encouraged entrepreneurs to stay with it and do not expect quick results.
The ‘E-commerce General’ says his vision for Mobile Edge is “to really master what it takes to drive business online, in as many industries as possible and provide those solutions. For me, the key is to really help companies as much as possible to traverse the digital space. I really believe digital entrepreneurship is a tool Jamaicans can use to overcome a lot of barriers we are facing.” He concluded by adding that he really believes “e-commerce levels the playing field for every single entrepreneur in the game.”