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Case Study- DRT Communications Limited

Danielle Terrelonge Irons, founder and CEO of DRT Communications Limited, never set out to become an entrepreneur. She knew from an early age that she was called to be a leader, but in what capacity, she had no idea. In college, the world of business was the furthest thing from her mind initially, as she studied Psychology for two years at the University of Western Ontario. She returned to Jamaica in 2000 and completed her degree at the University of the West Indies, Mona, where she added Management Studies to her programme. She became entrenched in marketing soon after, and found that it was a natural fit and she excelled at it, moving from Marketing Communications Officer at Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) to Marketing Manager at Trade Winds Citrus in 2006. But even before she made the move to Trade Winds Citrus, the idea that she should start her own business had begun to take shape. She struggled with the call in her spirit. She had a full-time job that she loved, a child to care for and bills to pay; she just couldn’t figure out how to make that all work financially, so she ignored it. The nudge wouldn’t go away, and only became stronger. She began seeing gaps in the local public relations and marketing industry, as the demand for her freelance guidance in strategic marketing planning and PR development began to increase. What finally made her say yes, though, was a moment with her daughter, who was approaching her GSAT year: “We were reading the Bible one night and she pointed at a Roman numeral...

Case Study | Billodex Limited

It was two o’clock one April morning in 2013, and the University of the West Indies, Mona campus was quiet and cold. Lights shone from a few of the rooms on ELR Towers Hall as several students were up pulling all-nighters in preparation for upcoming exams. D’Andre Fraser, co-founder and CEO of Billodex Limited, was among them. In addition to a good grade in his business law course, he found that he needed a phone card, but none of the businesses on campus were open at that time, and he didn’t feel like going outside in the chilly night air anyway. So he turned to his friend Aundhrae Richardson and wondered out loud, “wouldn’t it be nice if we could just buy credit right from our phones whenever we wanted?” From Idea to Launch That was the genesis of the company and the app now known as Billodex, but the idea has evolved since it was first conceptualised. After giving it some serious thought, D’Andre and Aundhrae realised that the initial idea of selling phone cards from an app wasn’t as scalable as they would have wanted it to be, especially since they had designs on making it a global platform. They went back to the drawing board, and eventually came up with the idea to sell tickets, since they each had several years of event planning experience under their belts as well. “I’ve been doing events since I was 16,17. By virtue of that, I understand the needs of event promoters. It was therefore a natural segue into building a ticketing platform that would allow people to buy...

Case Study- Turner Innovations Limited

On Thursday night, May 25, 2017, the lawns of Devon House were abuzz with activity as restaurateurs, chefs, producers and foodies gathered to celebrate the crème de la crème of Jamaica’s food industry at the 19th annual Jamaica Observer Food Awards. Allison and Oral Turner, principals of Turner Innovations Limited—nominated in the Best Food Product category for their Turner’s Choice dried and candied sorrel products—were late to arrive as they had spent the majority of the day in the kitchen. They had been preparing dishes to offer as samples at their booth: sorrel-infused rice, sorrel muffins, and a peppery, sweet and tangy sorrel sauce over Copperwood smoked pork. On the way to the event, Allison fielded two frantic phone calls from the organisers asking where they were, which put her antennas up. Could it be…? Surely not, she thought, as Turner’s Choice is a baby in the industry, up against some well-known, long-established brands. But as soon as they arrived, they were practically spirited from the VIP car park to the side of the stage. Surely not, Allison thought again. And then their names were called as one of two winners in the Best Food Product category. “I just started to shake. I couldn’t believe it,” Allison recalled. “Just the endorsement alone, to know that Jamaicans will look at us as the best product—not just in St Elizabeth or Kingston, but Jamaica—it’s going to give us the boost that we are really looking for to promote our product, because we know it’s the best that’s out there right now.” The Turner Innovations Story Oral and Allison Turner have practically...

Case Study- LoanCirrus Limited

Michael Claire, CEO of LoanCirrus Limited, has always been a business person. He enjoyed a long, successful marketing career in corporate America after graduating from Canada’s York University in 1994, even starting his own consultancy in 2009. His extensive resume includes stints at Assurant Group—a US$8 billion Fortune 500 company, where he was the Vice President of Global Consumer Acquisition, and Homeowners Loan Corporation, where he was the Vice President of Marketing. He travelled to Jamaica at the start of 2012 to help a friend build a business. That was supposed to have been a six-month gig, but more than five years later, he is still here. Not only that, he has established two businesses of his own, software development companies SpiderCentro Inc. and LoanCirrus Limited, that serve clients all around the world right from Kingston, Jamaica. SpiderCentro builds software for businesses specific to their needs. One of its offerings was implementing loan management systems for financial services companies. While going about this, Michael and his team began to notice some marketing inefficiencies in these systems and recognised some things that could have been done better. Thus, the idea for LoanCirrus, a cloud-based lending management software, was born about a year and a half ago. “What we found was that in the financial services sector generally, and more specifically in the micro-lending space, the software offerings that were there were typically getting close to their obsolescence. They were distributed in such a way that they were high-touch, meaning that you had to have a salesperson who would contact you, and then you go through that sales process and pre-qualification,”...

Case Study: BookFusion Limited

Many great businesses have started from ideas sparked in college. After all, the halls of higher learning afford students the opportunity to explore all the possibilities open to them, even as they pursue particular majors. Big name examples include Facebook and SnapChat, whose founders and CEOs Mark Zuckerberg and Evan Spiegel eventually dropped out of Harvard and Stanford universities, respectively, to run their companies. Dwayne Campbell, co-founder and CEO of BookFusion Limited, didn’t drop out of Howard University, where he majored in Chemical Engineering. In fact, he didn’t really do much with his initial idea until after graduation, when he was working and studying Computer Science in graduate school at Columbia University. “As students, we were constantly sharing files with each other and received documents from professors which all had different formats, most of which required different software to read and access. It could be Adobe for .pdf, Word for .doc, and the list goes on. I wanted a platform that allowed me, my friends and others that had the same problem to be able to read any book regardless of the format, without requiring specialised software to be installed, and the ability to share ebooks with friends and family the way you would a physical book,” he explained. “The idea evolved as I continued to travel back and forth to Jamaica, observing the gaps in the global market and incorporating concepts based on my experience working and studying natural language processing in graduate school.” This idea became a reality in January 2014, and BookFusion was finally made official in March 2015.   A Global Platform BookFusion is an...

Case Study: Sweetie Confectionery Limited

Patria-Kaye Aarons is a well-known face in Jamaica. Those in the corporate world will recognise her as a marketing guru, as she worked with two of the biggest companies in the region, Digicel and GraceKennedy, while the average Jamaican might recognise her from her ongoing roles as a presenter on CVM TV and a co-host of This Morning on Nationwide News Network. In 2014, she took on yet another role, candymaker, when she launched Sweetie Confectionery. This latest role might have surprised those who only knew her from her media work, but those who knew Patria-Kaye from her Campion College days wouldn’t find this turn of events surprising in the least, since she used to be the school’s walking candy store. One whole compartment of her knapsack was dedicated to housing her stock, and anyone who wanted their sugar fix would just needed to find her on the school grounds. In 2006, when she had her heart set on doing a masters degree at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland but her bank account wasn’t up to the task, she put a ‘$50 box’ on her desk at work at Digicel, and co-workers could purchase any snack they wanted out of this box for $50—banana chips, cupcakes, Kiskos stored in the company’s fridge. That entrepreneurial spirit helped her raise enough funds to cover the first term of her Business Administration and Management programme. “I’ve always known the benefit of entrepreneurship, the satisfying feeling that it can bring, and the way that it can be the means to an end,” she said. She officially hung out her shingle after departing...

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