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Grateful For The Dawning Of A New Jamaica



In 2009, I was contemplating leaving my job at McKinsey & Company in Atlanta. I was searching for work with more meaning, a more manageable lifestyle and possibly closer to my family in New York. I had not lived in Jamaica for twenty years, but I had always wondered what it would be like to live and work in Jamaica.

Based on that, a friend sent my résumé to four CEOs in Jamaica. I did not think anything would come of it and expected that I would likely end up working in NYC, where I would be closer to my parents. But that was not to be as Patrick Hylton called me on the very same day he received my résumé, and the rest, as they say, is history. I spoke to Patrick on an afternoon in November 2009 and I joined NCB on February 15, 2010 on a three-year contract. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would still be in Jamaica ten years later. Many of my loved ones thought I was crazy for leaving a “good job” with my “good JPMorgan, Wharton, McKinsey credentials” and moving back to the “third-world”. Moving to Jamaica and choosing NCB has been fortuitous.

The Jamaica I moved back to in January 2010 was one of the most indebted countries in the world with low growth and productivity, high crime and poverty and poor infrastructure. Fast forward to today – Ocho Rios is less than an hour away on our new highway, and the infrastructure improvements continue.

Jamaica has completed its economic reform programme, which has put us on a path to economic growth and sustainability. Unemployment is below 8%. Annual GDP growth, while still in single digits, is multiples of what it has been for the past 20 years.

The Jamaica Stock Exchange was the world’s best-performing stock exchange in 2018.  The economic reform programme is a testament to the power that can be unlocked when there is bi-partisan support and collaboration with the private and public sectors, civil society and unions on issues of importance for all citizens.

Notwithstanding all these improvements since 2010, significant challenges remain for our nation. We still have work cut out for us on crime and corruption, health care, and poverty. A team member recently asked me what keeps me here.  It was a great opportunity for a 10-year retrospective. In summary, I see how far we have come in the last ten years. I am truly grateful for what has happened and hopeful for what is to come.

Jamaica is a beautiful place – but the sun, sand and sea landscapes are only part of its beauty. The real beauty of Jamaica is in its people. I am continuously inspired by our resilience and extraordinary accomplishments in the face of daunting challenges. When we rally together to support our high schools at Boys and Girls Champs, our athletes at the Olympics, to help someone that has experienced a fire, to rescue someone from an overflown gully, or to feed someone even when we are hungry ourselves, our beauty shines through again and again. As the CEO of the N.C.B. Foundation, I get to witness this resilience and drive to be extraordinary every day and I also get to help, and for that, I am humbled and grateful.

With 1% of profits of the NCB Financial Group going toward the N.C.B. Foundation each year, the funds available to the Foundation to build our communities also continues to grow as the Group’s performance improves. This Christmas, the N.C.B. Foundation will continue its annual Grant-A-Wish programme, which allows us to assist some of Jamaica’s neediest organisations and people in the holiday season.  We launched our season of giving in November with a gift of $25M to the University of the West Indies to support the 2019 graduates who are struggling with student loan debt.

We will also be donating $12M to children’s homes, golden age/nursing homes, organisations supporting persons with disabilities, and persons that do good in their communities during this year’s programme. We are asking Jamaicans to lend a helping hand and help us to show gratitude for the work of these organisations by submitting your votes and nominations at Voting concludes on December,16, 2019. Visit for further details.

Jamaica is on its way up, and the world is taking note. Our trajectory will continue to be positive with a combination of the big and bold strokes such as the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) collaboration, as well as our own daily acts of kindness. Join me in gratitude for what we have achieved and in working toward continued growth for Jamaica this holiday season and for decades to come.

Nadeen Matthews Blair is CEO of the N.C.B. Foundation.

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Businessuite Women

Workshop to Empower and Advance Women in Business



Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon Olivia Grange (centre), converses with Representative, UN Women Multi-Country Office, Caribbean, Tonni Brodber (second right), at the inaugural United Nations (UN) Women Yemanja Collaborative: Leadership and Networking Workshop for Woman Entrepreneurs, being held in Kingston. from December 5 to 7. The opening ceremony was held December 5 at the ROK Hotel, downtown Kingston. Others (from left) are: Looking on are (from left): Chair of the Government of Jamaica Trade Facilitation Task Force, Patricia Francis; Head of Culture Programme, UNESCO, Office for the Caribbean, Yuri Peshkov; and Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr. the Hon. Norman Dunn. PHOTO: MICHAEL SLOLEY

The inaugural United Nations (UN) Women Yemanja Collaborative: Leadership and Networking Workshop for Woman Entrepreneurs is being held in Kingston from December 5 to 7.

The initiative targets women of Afro descent from the Caribbean, North and South America and Africa.

It aims to strengthen leadership capacity, empower and equip participants to scale their businesses and create meaningful jobs.

The workshop also facilitates network building and creates mentorship opportunities for entrepreneurs in the agro processing and cultural and creative industries.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, in her greetings at the opening ceremony, held December 5 at the ROK Hotel, downtown Kingston, welcomed the initiative.

Ms. Grange said the workshop aims to empower and advance women in business to create a framework that supports gender equality in the society.

“This training and networking workshop presents a great opportunity for us to examine the progress made in advancing gender equality and empowerment of women and girls and explore how progress can be accelerated,” the Minister said.

Representative, UN Women Multi-Country Office, Caribbean, Tonni Brodber, in her remarks said the focus on its target group is not exclusionary. Rather, it recognises the unique sociohistorical barriers that have prevented and still prevent many Afro-descendant women across the world from entrepreneurship.

“[A key] objective of the project is to contribute to enhancing the economic empowerment and resilience of women and youth in the micro, small and medium enterprises in the creative and cultural and growth industries in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa through strengthened networks and opportunities for employability and entrepreneurship,” she said.

The participants were nominated by their national business support organisations.

The three-day event will see participants engaged in leadership skills coaching and will feature breakout sessions with a focus on coaching in business pitches, diaspora and networking opportunities in Africa and the diaspora, business development coaching, and business financing facilities.

These will be facilitated by industry experts from UN Women, the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), the University of the West Indies (UWI), and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), among other local and international stakeholders.

At the end of the workshop, participants will pitch their business plans/proposals and receive feedback from a panel of experts.

It is a joint programme between UN Women and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), which aims to promote the recognition, justice and development of Afro-descendant women, youth, and women across marginalised groups.


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Businessuite Women

JAMPRO’S Film Commissioner to join International Women’s Forum Global Leaders Fellows Program



Film Commissioner at JAMPRO, Renee Robinson, has been selected to be part of the International Women’s Forum Global Leaders Fellows Program for the year 2022-23. The year-long, intensive leadership development experience prepares Fellows to be leaders for tomorrow through multidisciplinary training that develops the participants’ leadership and management capabilities.

“This opportunity will allow me to fluently speak the language of international deal-making, advance the focal shift of business towards the creative economy, and solidify access to financing for our creative practitioners.”

Robinson’s selection was based on her career as an orange economy expert, content strategist, and thought-leader. She has served as Jamaica’s Film Commissioner since 2016, with responsibility for national economic growth and economic impact of the screen-based industries, advancing employment, film production expenditure, and contribution to GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

JAMPRO’s President, Diane Edwards, said that “we congratulate Renee for being selected to join this prestigious Fellows Programme. We look forward to seeing her advancement in the next year, and her continued excellent work to develop Jamaica’s creative economy”.

Reacting to her selection for the Fellows Program, Ms. Robinson said it demonstrates the rising shift towards business-focused entertainment industry as a valid economic driver. She noted, “Investing in the creative economy is not philanthropy or corporate social responsibility; it is, in fact, lucrative and critical for socio-economic development. Through the Fellowship, I plan to groom my skills in influencing business decisions that support the creative economy.”


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Businessuite News24

€7-Million Grant For Women In Business And MSMEs



Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke (left), and General Manager (Acting), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Caribbean Country Department Group, Carmen Madriz, shake hands following the symbolic signing of a Non-Reimbursable Agreement for the European Union’s provision of a €7-million (over J$1.2-billion) grant for the Government’s Boosting Innovation, Growth and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems (BIGEE) Programme. The signing was held during a Visibility Ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, on Wednesday (May 25).


The Government’s Boosting Innovation, Growth and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems (BIGEE) Programme has been bolstered with a €7-million (over J$1.2-billion) grant from the European Union (EU).

This will provide support for female-led businesses by helping them to build their capacity to contribute to the economy; assist recovery of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) from the economic fallout resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic; and support stakeholder climate change mitigation and adaptation projects that contribute to resilience and sustainability.

The funds are being facilitated through a Non-Reimbursable Financing Agreement under the EU’s Caribbean Investment Facility and will complement the US$25-million loan for the BIGEE programme that was provided by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which will administer the grant.

The BIGEE Programme, which is being implemented by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), aims to promote sustainable and robust growth among start-ups and MSMEs.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke; Head of the European Union Delegation in Jamaica, Ambassador Marianne Van Steen; General Manager (Acting), IDB Caribbean Country Department Group, Carmen Madriz; and DBJ Managing Director, Anthony Shaw, participated in a symbolic grant agreement signing on Wednesday (May 25).

This was held during a visibility ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

Dr. Clarke, who conveyed the Government’s gratitude for the EU’s support, said the BIGEE Programme is geared towards positioning innovation at the centre of the business ecosystem.

“For [Jamaica] to have the kind of economic growth that can support the kind of jobs [we are seeking to generate], we need value-added private-sector activity which is based on innovation,” he stated.

In this regard, Dr. Clarke, who is also Chairman of the IDB’s Board of Governors, said the BIGEE programme “underscores the Government’s commitment to promoting financing and investing in innovation”.

Mr. Shaw said the grant agreement represents “another step in the long-standing fruitful relations between Jamaica and one of our most dependable international development partners – the EU”.

Ambassador Van Steen, in her remarks, said the grant was indicative of the EU’s renewed commitment to fostering entrepreneurship in Jamaica, in a sustainable way.

“The development of micro, small and medium enterprises is critical, not only to the Jamaican economy but to the economies in all countries. Here in Jamaica, they are playing a vital role in the Government’s efforts to spur economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” she stated.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Madriz said the grant represents “another important milestone in the effort of the Government of Jamaica, Development Bank of Jamaica and the Inter-American Development Bank to strengthen the country’s business ecosystem”.

The BIGEE Programme’s specific objectives are promoting innovation and productivity among established MSMEs with high growth potential, promoting sustainable growth in scalable start-ups, and creating a sustainable pipeline of high-growth potential start-ups.

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Businessuite Women

Businessuite Power 50 Women in Jamaican Business for 2022



BUSINESSUITE Magazine’s  ranking of Jamaica’s leading businesswomen provides a unique opportunity to secure an insight into the professional lives and activity of some of the most interesting and inspiring women in Jamaica’s private sector today.

How we pick the Power 50

What qualities can adequately describe a woman of power and influence on a national level? She is often described as ambitious, driven, determined, creative, a confident leader and a risk-taker. She allows her passions to order her steps, her gifts and her talents to become her own personal calling card.

Powerful and influential women are thriving in their business lives across Jamaica and so the move by the BUSINESSUITE editorial team to select, based on the format created by FORTUNE magazine editors, the 50 most powerful and influential women was truly a daunting task.

As stated, the selection process for the BUSINESSUITE list of the ’50 Most Powerful and Influential Business Women’ is based on a general format created and used by the editorial team of FORTUNE Magazine. This includes:

1. The general size (Revenue, Profitability and Human Resource) and importance of the woman’s company in the Jamaican economy;
2. The health and direction of the company;
3. The arc of the woman’s career and;
4. Societal and cultural influence of the business as informed by key industry insiders and published information

It must however be noted that since BUSINESSUITE Magazine is not privy to the financial statements of some of the companies mentioned, this was not heavily factored into our final listing and placements. Readers are therefore invited to debate and discuss the names and placement of individuals.

They aren’t just successful executives, entrepreneurs, or administrators who are admired and respected within their own organisations, they are the voices that are heard across the industries in which their companies operate, even across corporate Jamaica as a whole.

The Presentation Event – October 2022
The awards will be given to 50 women business leaders who have achieved strong results in their respective fields. This will be the 1st edition of Businessuite Magazine’s Most Powerful Women Awards, to be held in October 2022. Details to come.

The awards are aimed at honouring remarkable Jamaican women who have made outstanding contributions to their organisations and set new standards of administration and performance across corporate Jamaica and the economy.

We will also be seeking to recognise and identifying Rising Stars and Women Abroad.

The Special Edition – October 2022
The event felicitates the most powerful women in Jamaican business and salutes the spirit of successful business women with a special issue of Businessuite Magazine ‘Most Powerful Women in Business” Jamaica Edition. Details to come

See also

The Top 40 Most Powerful and Influential Women in Jamaican Business for 2016.

Businessuite Power 50 Women in Jamaican Business for 2013

Businessuite Power 50 Women in Jamaican Business for 2012

Businessuite Magazine December 2014 Digital Edition

BUSINESSUITE Magazine October 2012 Digital Issue

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Taking Stock LIVE – CEO and Founder of Island Grill, Thalia Lyn Opens Up



Jamaican fast food chain Island Grill, is expanding! The eatery is seeking to employ 1-hundred new staff, including positions at a new Spanish Town restaurant. But what are their plans beyond Jamaica? And will they ever do an IPO? CEO and Founder of Island Grill, Thalia Lyn, joins us.

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