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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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Who is Angelique Parisot-Potter, Massy Holdings’ Former General Counsel and Executive Vice-President of Business Integrity?



Early Career and Rise in Massy Holdings
Angelique Parisot-Potter served as the Executive Vice-President of Business Integrity and Group General Counsel at Massy Holdings Ltd. Before joining Massy, she had an extensive career in law and corporate governance, holding significant roles that positioned her as a key player in the corporate legal landscape.

Whistleblower Revelations and Impact
Parisot-Potter’s tenure at Massy took a dramatic turn in December 2023 when she made allegations about questionable practices within the company’s executive training programs. At Massy’s 100th annual general meeting, she revealed that the leadership programs involved bizarre rituals, including communicating with the dead and self-healing with “white light energy,” which she claimed were a misuse of foreign exchange and resources. Her whistleblower revelations were detailed in a 13-page document submitted to the company, leading to significant media coverage and internal turmoil at Massy​​.

Resignation and Aftermath
Following her public disclosure, Parisot-Potter was placed on administrative leave. Massy Holdings initiated a disciplinary investigation, asserting that she had disclosed confidential matters. Despite the company’s denial of her claims, Parisot-Potter resigned from her position on December 27, 2023, just nine days after going public with her allegations. Her resignation came amidst a period of significant scrutiny and internal review within Massy Holdings​.

The Resignation of Gervase Warner
The fallout from Parisot-Potter’s revelations had far-reaching consequences, including the resignation of Massy’s President and CEO, Gervase Warner. Warner, who had been with Massy since 2009, announced his retirement on February 8, 2024. While his early departure was officially attributed to personal reasons, it closely followed the controversy sparked by Parisot-Potter’s claims. Warner’s leadership was notable for significant profitability and growth, with the company seeing a compound annual growth rate of 15% over the last five years of his tenure. He was succeeded by David Alfonso, a long-time executive within the company​​.

Angelique Parisot-Potter’s career at Massy Holdings was marked by her commitment to corporate integrity and governance. Her whistleblower actions underscore the complexities and challenges of corporate governance and the personal and professional risks involved in exposing potential misconduct. As Massy Holdings continues to navigate the aftermath of these events, Parisot-Potter’s role in bringing these issues to light remains a significant chapter in the company’s history.

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A Legacy of Leadership: Dr. Marlene Street Forrest and the Future of the Jamaica Stock Exchange



“As the JSE looks to the future, it will be crucial to find a leader who can match, if not exceed, Dr. Street Forrest’s impressive legacy.”

Dr. Marlene Street Forrest, who has led the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) for nearly two decades, is set to retire, leaving behind a legacy of innovation and resilience. Her tenure has been marked by significant achievements and overcoming challenges in a male-dominated field, setting a high bar for her successor.

Accomplishments and Achievements
Dr. Street Forrest’s tenure at the JSE has been transformative. Under her leadership, the JSE has seen a notable increase in market activity, listings, and the introduction of new financial instruments.

She spearheaded the launch of corporate secretarial services to assist smaller companies in maintaining compliance and accurate reporting, which is crucial for their growth and sustainability​​.

In recognition of her outstanding leadership, Dr. Street Forrest received several prestigious awards, including the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Commander (CD) in 2016 and the Afroglobal Excellence Award for Global Impact from Canada the same year​.

Her efforts have not only enhanced the visibility and credibility of the JSE but have also contributed significantly to Jamaica’s economic resilience and development.

Overcoming Challenges
Leading the JSE in a male-dominated industry came with its challenges. Dr. Street Forrest often had to navigate skepticism and bias, proving her competence through relentless hard work and strategic vision.

The global financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic posed additional challenges, yet she successfully steered the JSE through these turbulent times by promoting market stability and investor confidence​.

Her focus on digital transformation and enhancing regulatory compliance helped the JSE remain a pivotal player in Jamaica’s economic strategy. She emphasized the importance of high-quality, timely financial information and investor education, which are critical for maintaining market integrity and attracting capital​​.

The Road Ahead: What Her Successor Needs
As the search for Dr. Street Forrest’s successor begins, the JSE requires a leader who can build on her legacy of innovation and resilience. Key characteristics for the next managing director include:

Visionary Leadership: The ability to foresee and adapt to market trends and technological advancements.
Strong Regulatory Knowledge: Ensuring compliance and fostering investor trust through transparent practices.
Commitment to Digital Transformation: Embracing new technologies to enhance market operations and accessibility.
Economic Insight: Understanding market dynamics and economic policies to drive growth and stability.
Collaboration Skills: Building strong relationships with stakeholders, including regulators, investors, and listed companies.

Benchmarking against global stock exchange leaders, the new head of the JSE should embody a blend of strategic foresight, regulatory acumen, and innovative thinking. Leaders like Adena Friedman of Nasdaq and David Schwimmer of the London Stock Exchange exemplify these traits, balancing market growth with robust governance.

Dr. Marlene Street Forrest’s leadership at the JSE has set a high standard, marked by significant achievements and resilience in the face of challenges. Her successor will need to bring a mix of visionary leadership, regulatory knowledge, and a commitment to digital transformation to continue driving the JSE’s growth and success. As the JSE looks to the future, it will be crucial to find a leader who can match, if not exceed, Dr. Street Forrest’s impressive legacy.

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Who Is Roxane De Freitas?



Early Life and Career Beginnings
Roxane De Freitas has a distinguished career marked by her leadership and strategic roles in major companies. She has served as a pivotal figure in the Caribbean business community, with extensive experience across various sectors. Her early career saw her rising through the ranks in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry, which laid the foundation for her expertise in corporate leadership.

Professional Accomplishments
Roxane De Freitas is well-known for her significant contributions to Scotiabank and Massy Stores. She recently retired from the Board of Directors of Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago, where she played a critical role in steering the bank’s strategies and operations. In her tenure, De Freitas contributed to the bank’s growth and its robust community initiatives through the Scotiabank Foundation, emphasizing the well-being of women and youth in Trinidad and Tobago.

In addition to her banking career, De Freitas has been instrumental at Massy Stores. As CEO of Massy Stores Trinidad, she oversaw the expansion of the chain, including the implementation of innovative self-checkout services, which have been lauded for enhancing customer convenience and operational efficiency. Her leadership during the rollout of these services across multiple locations demonstrates her commitment to modernizing retail operations and improving customer experience.

Roxane De Freitas also has a robust background in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector, having held several key positions at Unilever Caribbean Limited. Her roles included Country Manager for Unilever Jamaica and General Manager for Unilever Caribbean, where she oversaw operations in multiple territories across the Caribbean. Her leadership has been marked by strategic initiatives that drove growth, enhanced operational efficiency, and improved market share.

Recent Appointments
On June 6, 2024, Roxane De Freitas was appointed to the Boards of Scotia Group Jamaica Limited and The Bank of Nova Scotia Jamaica Limited. This new role signifies her continued influence in the Caribbean banking sector, where her strategic insights and extensive experience are expected to drive further growth and innovation for Scotiabank in Jamaica.

Industry Impact and Legacy
De Freitas’s impact on the Caribbean business landscape is profound. Her strategic vision and leadership have not only driven financial performance but also fostered community development and corporate responsibility. At Massy Stores, her efforts in promoting sustainable practices and efficient retail technologies have set new benchmarks for the industry.

A Role Model for Future Leaders
Roxane De Freitas’s journey is a testament to the power of dedication and strategic thinking in achieving corporate success. Her career path serves as an inspiration to aspiring leaders, particularly women in business, demonstrating that perseverance and innovation can break barriers and lead to significant achievements in diverse sectors.

As she takes on her new responsibilities with Scotiabank in Jamaica, the business community will undoubtedly be watching her next moves, anticipating further contributions to the growth and development of the Caribbean’s financial and retail sectors.

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Overcoming Funding Challenges: Strategies for Jamaican Entrepreneurs



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.

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)



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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