An agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce, the JBDC is Jamaica’s premier business development organisation working collaboratively with government, private sector, as well as, academic, research and international communities.



Mobile (Digicel)


14 Camp Road, Kingston

Partners in love and business are Wouter Tjeertes and his wife, Rennae Johnson. Together they have crafted not just a marriage but a thriving business that represents their love for both each other and chocolate. The Entrepreneur Weekly will be closing out the ‘Partnership Series’ with Jamaica Business Development Corporation’s (JBDC) 2023 B.O.S.S MAN OF THE YEAR, Wouter, who alongside his wife Rennae turned their shared dream into a sweet reality.


Epitomising the meaning of B.O.S.S – Building Opportunities for Strong Success, Wouter says, “I became an entrepreneur because it frustrated me too much working for a boss and not being able to have control over my own life in a sense.” Fuelled by the commitment to authenticity, sustainability, and pure love for Jamaican cocoa, Pure Chocolate Jamaica was born in January 2017. With his profound experience as an executive pastry chef and chocolatier, complemented by Rennae’s extensive knowledge of local farming and the community, he crafted a brand that is deeply embedded in the values and flavours of Jamaica.

Wouter and Rennae’s journey together began in 2011 at the Half Moon resort. Their paths crossed professionally as they collaborated within the realms of pastry and chocolate, a partnership that eventually blossomed into both love and business. “We met at Half Moon resort where I worked as executive pastry Chef and Rennae worked in the pastry shop as a pastry cook. We moved to St. Lucia where I learned how to make tree to bar chocolate,” Tjeertes reminisces. This synergy led them to explore the artisan chocolate space in St. Lucia before returning to Jamaica to lay the foundation of Pure Chocolate in 2017, tapping into the island’s underexplored cocoa potential.


For Wouter, chocolate is not just a choice…it’s a calling, “Chocolate has always been a passion of mine and was a natural next step to take,” he said. Having spent decades honing his craft, his transition into entrepreneurship with chocolate as the focal point was a natural progression. Wouter and Rennae saw an opportunity not just to craft unique flavours but to create a brand that resonates with ethical and sustainable practices, echoing the essence of Jamaica.

Understanding the structure that underlies Pure Chocolate’s success reveals a blend of complementary skills. Rennae steers the ship financially and administratively, ensuring sustainable farmer relations, a testament to her roots and understanding of the local landscape. On the other hand, Wouter, driven by a desire to escape the confines of traditional employment and harness his passion for chocolate, leads day-to-day production, expansion, and product development. It’s this blend of Rennae’s operational acumen and Wouter’s creative vision that has propelled Pure Chocolate to new heights.

JBDC's CEO, Valerie Veira (centre) - (l-r) Rennae Johnson and Wouter Tjeeres after collecting the B.O.S.S MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD


The recognition as B.O.S.S MAN OF THE YEAR is more than just a personal accolade for Wouter; it’s a milestone for Pure Chocolate, cementing the brand’s contribution to Jamaica’s agricultural and creative sectors. Their innovative inclusion of local ingredients like plantain and coffee into their chocolate showcases a commitment to celebrating and uplifting local culture. Furthermore, their collaboration with local farmers and art students underscores a model of business that thrives on community involvement and collective growth. Pure Chocolate’s far-reaching impact is now savoured beyond Jamaica, with their chocolates being featured on Caribbean Airlines, offering a taste of Jamaican luxury to the world.

Wouter and Rennae’s journey is one of love, partnership, and entrepreneurship. Their shared vision for Pure Chocolate Jamaica showcases a harmony of their strengths: Rennae’s strategic finesse with Wouter’s creative flair. It is a partnership that not only enriches their lives but also brings the rich taste of Jamaican cocoa to the forefront of the global palate.

Their journey from colleagues to life partners to co-entrepreneurs stands as a beacon for aspiring business owners, proving that when passion and partnership intertwine, the result is nothing short of extraordinary.


The B.O.S.S. Man of the Year Award is given annually to a JBDC client who embodies all elements of 6-point criteria: the entrepreneurial spirit and mindset, embrace a culture of innovation, has evidenced significant change in revenue, entered the export market/increased the value of current exports, introduced a new product/service into the market, and is a JBDC Ambassador. For the 2023 edition, a seventh was added: all finalists would have been selected from an outstanding pool of local producers of authentic Jamaican products, sold by JBDC’s retail store chain, Things Jamaican™.

The JBDC provides market access for hundreds of authentic Jamaican products through the Things Jamaican™ retail store chain and e-commerce website, including Pure Chocolate Jamaica. The Things Jamaican™ brand which celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2023 showcases the best of Jamaican home, gift and craft items by Jamaican artisans presented in new and innovative ways to local and overseas markets. This outlet has become a model for many other retail outlets locally which sought to promote products made in Jamaica in a new and refreshing way encompassing a total shopping experience and tantalising all the senses.

Visit to find out more about JBDC’s Market Access service, and to shop authentic Jamaican products.


Corporate Communications