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Nominate Now – Businessuite Women 2023 Leading Caribbean Women in Technology

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Businessuite Women Leading Caribbean Women in Technology feature recognizes women who create opportunities and drive transformation in their respective industries each year. To reflect the greater regional reach of today’s roles, we are expanding to include the wider Caribbean to recognize influential and powerful women in technology who are driving transformation from anywhere in the Caribbean.

The women we seek to honor, empower teams, build relationships, drive business results, advocate for diversity and inclusion, take risks, and serve as catalysts for change.

We are excited to acknowledge the accomplishments of our 2023 awardees in the month of April.

If you know a female entrepreneur or business leader who is deserving of this honor, nominate them today, including a photograph and brief description of their accomplishments.

Deadline for submission Midnight Friday, April 28th, 2023

CLICK THIS LINK TO SUBMIT NOMINATION FOR 2023

CLICK THIS LINK TO SEE THE LIST

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Overcoming Funding Challenges: Strategies for Jamaican Entrepreneurs

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Raising capital is a critical yet challenging aspect of entrepreneurship, and Jamaican founders are no exception to this global struggle. Despite the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit and innovative ideas prevalent on the island, securing the necessary funds to grow and scale early-stage companies remains a formidable obstacle. This article explores the factors influencing investor hesitations, strategies to mitigate these challenges, and practical steps Jamaican entrepreneurs can take to enhance their funding prospects.

Factors Impacting Investor Hesitations
Investors, regardless of geographic location, exhibit common hesitations that can stymie funding efforts. Some of these factors include:

Perceived Market Risk: Investors often see emerging markets, including Jamaica, as high-risk due to economic instability, regulatory uncertainty, and less mature financial ecosystems.

Lack of Proven Track Record: Early-stage companies frequently lack a history of success, making it difficult for investors to gauge their potential for return on investment.

Insufficient Business Models: A lack of clear, scalable, and sustainable business models can deter investment. Investors seek companies with clear pathways to profitability.

Limited Access to Networks: Entrepreneurs often lack access to networks that can connect them with potential investors, advisors, and partners.

Inadequate Financial Management: Poor financial planning and management can signal to investors that a company is not ready to handle significant capital.

Scalability Concerns: Investors need assurance that a business can scale efficiently and effectively beyond its local market.

Strategies to Overcome Funding Challenges
Both investors and entrepreneurs have developed strategies to bridge the funding gap:

For Investors:
Establishing Local Partnerships: Investors often mitigate risks by partnering with local firms that have a deeper understanding of the market.

Providing Mentorship and Resources: Beyond capital, some investors offer mentorship and access to resources, helping startups build robust business models and financial strategies.

Stage-Gated Investments: By investing in stages based on achieving specific milestones, investors can reduce their exposure to risk.

For Entrepreneurs:
Building Strong Networks: Engaging with local and international entrepreneurial networks can open doors to potential investors and partners.

Seeking Alternative Funding Sources: Crowdfunding, grants, and competitions can provide initial capital and validate business ideas.

Demonstrating Market Traction: Showing proof of concept, initial sales, and customer feedback can help convince investors of the business’s potential.

Case Studies
Case Study 1: XXXRock Juice
XXXRock Juice, a Jamaican startup producing organic beverages, faced significant challenges in raising funds. By participating in international pitch competitions and leveraging social media to showcase their product’s popularity, they secured seed funding from an angel investor network. This investment enabled them to scale production and expand their market presence.

Case Study 2: XXXTech Solutions
XXXTech Solutions, a tech startup focusing on innovative software solutions for local businesses, struggled to gain investor confidence due to their early-stage status. By partnering with a local accelerator program, they received mentorship and access to a network of investors. Their refined business model and pilot projects helped secure a substantial venture capital investment.

Top 10 Ways Jamaican Founders Can Better Position Themselves.

  1. Develop a Clear and Scalable Business Model: Ensure your business plan demonstrates a clear path to scalability and profitability.
  2. Showcase Market Traction: Gather data on initial sales, customer feedback, and market demand to present a compelling case to investors.
  3. Enhance Financial Planning and Management: Maintain detailed and accurate financial records, and present realistic financial projections.
  4. Leverage Local and International Networks: Join entrepreneurial networks and attend industry events to build connections with potential investors.
  5. Participate in Accelerator and Incubator Programs: These programs offer valuable resources, mentorship, and exposure to investors.
  6. Utilize Alternative Funding Sources: Explore crowdfunding platforms, apply for grants, and enter startup competitions to gain initial capital and visibility.
  7. Focus on Strong Marketing and Branding: Develop a strong brand identity and marketing strategy to attract both customers and investors.
  8. Seek Mentorship and Advice: Engage with experienced entrepreneurs and advisors to refine your business strategy and pitch.
  9. Present a Strong Team: Highlight the strengths and expertise of your team, demonstrating that you have the skills necessary to succeed.
  10. Prepare a Compelling Pitch: Craft a clear, concise, and persuasive pitch that addresses potential investors’ concerns and showcases your business’s potential.

Conclusion
While raising funds remains a significant challenge for Jamaican entrepreneurs, understanding investor hesitations and adopting strategic measures can greatly improve their chances of success. By developing robust business models, showcasing market traction, and leveraging networks and alternative funding sources, Jamaican founders can better position themselves to secure the investment needed to grow and scale their companies. The entrepreneurial journey is fraught with obstacles, but with the right strategies and perseverance, these challenges can be overcome.

 

BlackSlate Holdings Group Limited

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Who is Leesa Kow? Managing Director, JN Bank and Chairman of the Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB)

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Leesa Kow is a distinguished leader in the financial sector, serving as the Managing Director of JN Bank and the Chairman of the Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB). Her career is marked by strategic vision and a commitment to digital transformation and financial inclusion.

Early Career and Professional Background
Leesa Kow joined JN Bank in 2003 as Senior Manager for Remittances. Her leadership capabilities quickly propelled her through various senior roles, including Executive of Marketing, Sales, and Promotion in 2006, and General Manager of JN Money Services Limited (JNMS) in 2008. At JNMS, Kow oversaw significant expansion, growing the company’s reach from 200 branches and agents to over 8,000 across three continents within three years, cementing JN Money as the largest remittance brand from the Caribbean​​.

Leadership at JN Bank
Kow’s ascent to the role of Managing Director in July 2022 followed her tenure as Deputy Managing Director from November 2017. As Deputy Managing Director, she was instrumental in implementing JN Bank’s digitalisation initiatives, enhancing operational efficiency and customer service. Her strategic focus on technology and innovation has been pivotal in transforming JN Bank into a more agile and customer-centric institution​​.

Contributions to the Financial Industry
Beyond her work at JN Bank, Kow has significantly impacted the broader financial services sector. Her tenure as president of the Jamaica Money Remitters Association from 2012 to 2017 showcased her leadership in advocating for the remittance industry. In October 2022, she was elected Chair of the Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB), where she continues to influence regional banking policies and practices​.

Educational Background
Leesa Kow’s academic credentials are impressive, holding a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Studies and Accounting (First Class Honours) and a Master of Science degree in International Business (Distinction) from The University of the West Indies. These qualifications underscore her strong foundation in business leadership and strategic management​​.

Impact and Vision
Under Kow’s leadership, JN Bank has made significant strides in digital transformation, positioning itself as a forward-thinking financial institution. Her vision for the future includes continued emphasis on innovation, customer service excellence, and financial inclusion. Kow’s influence extends across the Caribbean, as she leverages her roles to advocate for advancements in the banking sector and to support regional economic development.

Leesa Kow’s journey from senior manager to managing director of JN Bank exemplifies her dedication, strategic foresight, and impactful leadership. Her contributions to the financial sector and her role in shaping regional banking policies make her a notable figure in Caribbean banking, inspiring the next generation of female leaders in finance.

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Who Is Chorvelle Johnson-Cunningham CEO, Sagicor Bank Jamaica?

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Chorvelle Johnson-Cunningham is a distinguished leader in the financial sector, currently serving as the CEO of Sagicor Bank Jamaica. With a career marked by resilience, innovation, and a commitment to community upliftment, she has significantly impacted the banking industry in Jamaica.

Early Career and Personal Background
Chorvelle’s journey to the top is a testament to her determination and faith. She has navigated significant personal and professional challenges, including a period of severe illness that tested her resolve and faith. This experience has profoundly influenced her approach to leadership and self-care, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance​​.

Leadership at Sagicor Bank
Since assuming her role at Sagicor Bank, Chorvelle has spearheaded numerous initiatives aimed at enhancing customer service and expanding the bank’s reach. Notably, under her leadership, Sagicor Bank introduced the “Bank on Wheels” mobile banking solution during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring continued access to banking services when physical branches were less accessible​.

Chorvelle has also championed financial inclusion and literacy, launching initiatives such as the SME Business Banking Resource Centre to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). She has been particularly supportive of women entrepreneurs, providing guidance and resources to help them succeed in the business world​.

Advocacy and Community Engagement
Beyond her professional achievements, Chorvelle is an advocate for women’s empowerment and personal development. She encourages women to climb the corporate ladder through hard work, self-assessment, and surrounding themselves with supportive networks. Her advice is rooted in her own experiences and challenges, offering a relatable and inspiring message to aspiring female leaders​.

Values and Personal Philosophy
Chorvelle’s leadership style is heavily influenced by her personal values and upbringing. She emphasizes respect, teamwork, and treating others as one would like to be treated. These principles have guided her through various professional and personal challenges, reinforcing her belief in the power of a supportive community and faith​.

In summary, Chorvelle Johnson-Cunningham’s leadership at Sagicor Bank Jamaica exemplifies a blend of strategic innovation, community focus, and personal resilience. Her contributions to the financial sector and her advocacy for women’s empowerment make her a notable figure in Jamaica’s corporate landscape.

 

#11 Chorvelle Johnson Cunningham, Chief Executive Officer of Sagicor Bank Limited

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Breaking Barriers: Female Entrepreneurs in Jamaica

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In the world of entrepreneurship, women in Jamaica face unique challenges, often finding the path to success steeper compared to their male counterparts. Despite these hurdles, numerous Jamaican women have emerged as powerful entrepreneurs, carving out niches across various industries. Their stories of resilience and innovation provide inspiration for young women aspiring to make their mark in the business world.

Patria-Kaye Aarons – Sweetie Confectionery
Patria-Kaye Aarons is the founder and CEO of Sweetie Confectionery, a company producing Jamaican-themed sweets and snacks. Aarons faced significant challenges, including skepticism from potential investors and difficulties in scaling production. Her perseverance paid off as she capitalized on the unique appeal of her products, which celebrate Jamaican culture. Aarons emphasizes the importance of staying true to one’s vision and being relentless in the pursuit of success​​.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Simone French – Imara Medical Center
Dr. Simone French is a notable figure in the healthcare sector. She runs the Imara Medical Center, balancing her responsibilities as a family doctor and an entrepreneur. French introduced innovative treatments like PRP therapy for various medical conditions, showcasing her ability to blend traditional and modern medical practices. Her journey highlights the necessity of excellent time management and a commitment to continuous learning and innovation​.

Jennifer Azan – Jencare Skin Farm
Jennifer Azan is the entrepreneurial force behind Jencare Skin Farm, a renowned beauty and wellness brand in Jamaica. Azan built her business from the ground up, facing the dual challenges of market acceptance and competition. Her success is attributed to her dedication to quality and customer service, as well as her ability to adapt to changing market trends. Azan’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to stay adaptable and customer-focused​.

 

 

 

Racquel Goddard – iDaedle
Racquel Goddard is a trailblazer in the IT sector with her company, iDaedle, which aims to become the Caribbean’s first home-grown Fortune 500 technology company. Goddard’s innovative idea exchange marketplace connects consumers with businesses, fostering collaboration and innovation. Her success story underscores the importance of networking and mentorship in overcoming the barriers faced by female entrepreneurs​​.

Strategies for Overcoming Challenges
These women entrepreneurs emphasize several strategies that have helped them overcome obstacles:

Resilience and Determination: Staying focused on their goals despite setbacks.
Networking and Mentorship: Leveraging connections and seeking advice from experienced professionals.
Innovation: Continuously evolving their business models and offerings to stay relevant.
Customer Focus: Prioritizing customer satisfaction and quality.

Their experiences offer valuable lessons for young women entrepreneurs: success in business requires not just a great idea, but also the determination to push through barriers and the adaptability to navigate changing environments.

The journey of Jamaican female entrepreneurs is marked by resilience, innovation, and an unwavering commitment to their visions. Their stories provide a beacon of hope and a blueprint for success, encouraging the next generation of women to break through barriers and achieve their entrepreneurial dreams.

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Who is M. Georgia Gibson Henlin, KC, CIPP-E, CIPM?

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M. Georgia Gibson Henlin is a distinguished attorney and the Managing Partner of Henlin Gibson Henlin, a premier law firm in Kingston, Jamaica. Known for her extensive expertise in complex dispute resolution, data protection, information technology, intellectual property, and telecommunications law, she has built a reputation as a formidable legal mind in both contentious and non-contentious fields.

Professional Background and Achievements

Georgia Gibson Henlin has an illustrious legal career, marked by numerous qualifications and recognitions. She was admitted to the Jamaican Bar in 1993, the Ontario Bar in 2002, the New York Bar in 2018, and the British Virgin Islands Bar in 2022. Her academic credentials include a Master of Law Degree in Innovation Law and Policy from the University of Toronto.

Gibson Henlin has been instrumental in shaping legal practices related to technology and data privacy in the Caribbean. She is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP-E) and a Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM), demonstrating her commitment to maintaining high standards in data protection and privacy law. Additionally, she is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, underscoring her capabilities in arbitration and mediation.

Leadership and Influence

As the Managing Partner at Henlin Gibson Henlin, Georgia leads a team of highly skilled attorneys. The firm specializes in complex commercial and civil disputes, representing clients across various sectors, including banking, telecommunications, and insurance. Under her leadership, the firm has garnered a reputation for innovative legal solutions and robust advocacy in high-stakes cases​ (Henlin)​​ (Chambers Talent)​.

Her influence extends beyond her firm. Gibson Henlin has contributed significantly to the legal community through her publications on regulatory issues in telecommunications and internet protocol. She has been consistently ranked in Chambers Global for General Business Law: Dispute Resolution, reflecting her standing in the legal profession​ (Chambers Talent)​​ (Chambers Practice Guides)​.

Contributions and Recognitions

Georgia Gibson Henlin’s contributions to the field of law have been recognized with various honors. She was conferred with the Order of Distinction, Commander Class, on Jamaica’s Independence Day in 2023 for her outstanding service to the legal profession​ (Francis Grey – Cayman Islands Law Firm)​.

Her work spans multiple jurisdictions, providing specialist legal advice and representing clients in significant legal matters. Gibson Henlin is known for her strategic approach and impactful advice, which align with her clients’ commercial goals.

M. Georgia Gibson Henlin is a leading figure in the Caribbean legal landscape, known for her legal acumen, leadership, and dedication to advancing the practice of law in areas critical to modern business and technology. Her work continues to influence and shape legal standards and practices in Jamaica and beyond.

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