Growth and Jobs | Business is Good: Making Money During a Pandemic | News

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LA JAMAICA Business Development Corporation (JBDC) shouted to the turbulent winds of the COVID-19 pandemic amid its strong gusts that “business is good!” Seeking to inspire entrepreneurs, the agency invited two of its most successful clients, Carl Sharpe, Managing Director of Chocollor Chocolate, and Joni-Dale Morgan, Managing Director of Morgan’s Creek Limited, to talk about their profits and triumphs. throughout the pandemic. The occasion was the organization’s annual convening event – ​​Breakfast with the CEO – held recently in Kingston.

Sharpe of Chocollor Chocolate, a leading local chocolate brand and JBDC client, testified to the marked increase in her business during the early stages of the pandemic. He noted, “We had an increase in revenue of around 100% between 2019 and 2020, and between 2020 and 2021 it was around 300%.” The small company was not content with the successes of previous years and wants to continue to surpass itself.

Continuing, Sharpe said, “We made a promise to JBDC in 2019 to have $15 million in revenue in three years, and despite the onset of the pandemic, we hope and hope we can do that. .” With Chocollor already recording a 210% increase in the first four months of this year, the family business is on track to deliver on its promise.

The Chocollor brand is deeply tied to the owners’ commitment to Jamaica, and Sharpe noted, “It was born out of a desire to produce a value-added product with materials indigenous to Jamaica. We decided to go into agribusiness, and then we decided the product would be chocolate. The imported content of chocolate in Jamaica is approximately $2 billion, and there are many opportunities for this market.

In conclusion, Sharpe said, “The pandemic has taught us many valuable lessons, one of which is that we need to use our local market as a springboard for exporting.

As a proud JBDC customer, Sharpe said, “It’s been a wonderful journey with JBDC, and I can’t speak highly enough of this incredible collaboration as they have truly been rock solid.”

Morgan shared similar stories of her ability to pursue success during the height of a pandemic. The owner of luxury skincare brand Morgan’s Creek noted that during this difficult time her business was able to grow from a small store in the Sovereign Center to one that now takes up three times the previous space. She also noted that the company not only grew physically, but was also able to surpass the goal of $15 million per year.

Morgan recounted his loving and empowering experiences with JBDC and said, “I remember when JBDC pushed me to seek profits and move beyond just buying and selling, they taught me about costs and the importance of understanding the value chain. They started encouraging me to start retailing in pharmacies, and although initially resistant, I can happily say that Morgan’s Creek is now in Fontana, the airport, and Couples Resorts.

Both Sharpe and Morgan are graduates of Cohort 3 of the JBDC Accelerator Program, which is an intensive six-month intervention targeting growth-stage entrepreneurs. The program, now in Cohort 4, aims to deliver results such as an average annual sales growth rate of 10% or more, jobs created by start-up entrepreneurs, businesses receiving seed funding, as well as companies with ties to strategic business partners (angels, institutional investors and fund managers). Sixty entrepreneurs were recently inducted into Cohort 4, which is jointly funded by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and JBDC at a cost of J$60 million.

The JBDC is invested in the growth of the micro-small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) sector. JBDC Deputy Chief Executive Harold David said: “We recognize that the pandemic has disrupted the way business is conducted. At JBDC, we always believe “business is good”, but it can’t be like before. The JBDC will continue to support the sector and see to the significant growth of our local entrepreneurs. »

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