Greater Demand for Cassava?

LOCAL brewing company Red Stripe will be establishing its US$800,000 ($90.4 million) starch processing plant by January 2015.

The facility will allow Red Stripe to make its flagship beer with at least five per cent cassava by next March.

Ultimately, the local brewer wants to replace 20 per cent of its imported barley with locally grown cassava.

The company has secured a lease contract for 250 acres of land at Wallen, St Catherine, that will bring its total farmland under production to 286 acres.

Around 2,500 acres are needed to meet its target. Read more

SOURCE: Jamaica Observer

Jamaica Has a Startup Scene Worth Watching

When contemplating top tech and startup ecosystems in Latin America and the Caribbean, Jamaica isn’t exactly the first locale that comes to mind.

Listed 94th on the World Economic Forum’s 2013-2014 Global Competitiveness Index, the country gets low marks in macroeconomic development (ranked 141 out of 148), quality of math and science education (115), and venture capital ability (130). However, it’s got a number of things going for it as well – such as number of days to start a business (listed at 25), availability of latest technologies (42), quality of scientific research institutions (48), and nature of competitive advantage (46).

Jamaica’s economy is certainly making strides, and while some factors are still lacking, other indicators demonstrate advances. This is good news for entrepreneurs, startups, investors and other members of the country’s tech community indeed. Continue

Green Village To Go On The Market Next Year

A new set of energy-efficient homes are under development in Greendale, St Catherine, and may hit the market next year.

Called Green Village, the complex is billed as the “first green residential community” with rainwater harvesting for landscape irrigation of common areas and home lots as well as a bio-digester treatment plant.

Paul Soegaard, a technical director for the project – the developers are Green Village Country Club Development Limited – declined to speak about the project, saying it is to be formally launched early next year.

However, the project website indicates that Green Village will feature 116 mixed-housing units, street lights powered by renewable sources, with solar water heaters and swimming pools. The toilets are low flush and the shower heads and faucets are low flow, the company notes on its website. Continue



Green Village Jamaica

Green Village Housing Development 

Online Course: “Innovation for Entrepreneurs: From Idea to Marketplace” (Starts Oct 27)

About the Course

stick-man200We establish a framework for examining the innovation process, and quickly transition into exploring how to successfully bring innovations to market. Key questions answered within the course include:
  • What are the key indicators of innovation opportunities?
  • What steps are critical for entrepreneurs to bring innovations to the marketplace?
  • What innovation strategies are valuable for new ventures to establish and maintain a competitive advantage?
With this course, students experience a sampling of the ideas and techniques explored in the University of Maryland’s Online Master of Technology Entrepreneurship.

Course Syllabus

Week One: The Innovation Landscape
  • Defining Innovation for Business Strategy
  • Creative Destruction as Innovation’s Outcome
  • Innovation’s Value Proposition for Entrepreneurs
  • New Models of Innovation for Entrepreneurs
  • How Innovations Diffuse into the Commercial Marketplace
Week Two: Indicators of Innovation Opportunity
  • How the Life Span of an Innovation Follows Product Life Cycles
  • How Technology “S” Curves Reveal Innovation Opportunity
  • Understanding How Innovations Disrupt the Marketplace
  • How Lead Users Foster Innovation
  • Where Innovation is Hiding in the Value Chain
  • How to Recognize a Winning Innovation Idea
Week Three: Steps in the Process of Innovation 
  • Three Framed Views of the Innovation Process
  • How Individual Steps Form the Overall Innovation Process
  • An Innovation Process Applied: New Product Development
  • Technology’s Role in Phases of Industrial Innovation
  • Innovation Roles and Role Players
  • How Creator and Implementer Innovation Roles Differ

Week Four: Innovation Strategies for Competitive Advantage

  • How Strategic Alliances Enable Open Innovation
  • How a Blue Ocean Strategy Leads to New Market Niches
  • How to Cross the Adoption Chasm and Get an Innovation to Market
  • How Benchmarking Can Be an Innovation Strategy
  • How Technology Influences an Innovation Strategy
  • How Internal R&D Becomes an Innovation Source
  • How to Compose the Elements of an Innovation Portfolio
  • How Technology Transfer Fits into an Innovation Portfolio


Review of Jamaica’s Economic Performance April – June 2014

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) published an economic performance report dated August 20, 2014. The report coves the economic performance for the quarter April to June 2014. This report covers sectors of the Jamaican economy such as tourism, agriculture, forestry & fishing, manufacture and construction.

Here are some of what you will find in the report:

Wholesale & Retail Trade

Higher sales were recorded for:

  •  Wholesale & Repair of Household Goods, up 11.8%
  •  Agriculture, Food, Beverages & Tobacco, up 5.7%
  •  Textiles, Clothing, Shoes & Jewellery, up 2.7%
  •  Electronic & Internet Retail, up 7.4%


  • Real Value Added for Hotels & Restaurants increased by 2.7%
  •  Total Visitor Arrivals, up 10.0%
  • Stopover Arrivals, up 3.1%
  • Cruise Passenger Arrivals, up 24.7%
  • Visitor Expenditure, up 5.7% to US$541.1 million


Real Value Added in the Agriculture industry grew by 12.5% based on PIOJ’s production index:

  • Traditional Export crops, up 92.1%
  • Other Agricultural Crops up 5.5%
  • Animal Farming up 0.9%

It is also worth noting that:

For January–June 2014 the inflation rate was 2.4%

Revenue & Grants totalled $89.7 billion in April–June 2014, while Expenditure totalled $103.9 billion.

Crude bauxite production (up 13.3%) was impacted by higher global demand resulting in an increase of 11.8 % points in the Bauxite Capacity Utilization rate.

The average nominal exchange rate at the end of June 2014 was $112.2 per US$1.00.

The unemployment rate for April 2014 was 13.6 % compared with a rate of 16.3 % in April 2013.

SOURCE: Planning Institute of Jamaica

Top Honours for Copperwood Farms at National Quality Awards

COPPERWOOD Farms in Hanover walked away with three awards at the recently concluded National Quality Awards organised by the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ).

In conjunction with the celebration of international World Standards Day, the award seeks to recognise excellence in local companies who pay special attention to quality in their production processes and adhere to international standards such as those set by International Standard Organisation (ISO).

The Lucea-based processing plant won top sectional awards and the overall prize in the small/medium enterprises category which include: Sectional award in Small/Medium Enterprises for Excellence in Customer Focus; sectional award in small/medium enterprises category for Excellence in Human Resource Focus and Overall National Quality Award for Excellence in the Small Business Sector. Continue

SOURCE: Jamaica Observer

NEW: Financial Information and Real-time Matchmaking (FIRM)

The inaugural staging of the Financial Information and Real-time Matchmaking (FIRM) Expo will kick off tomorrow, Saturday, October 4, 2014 in the parish of Kingston and St Andrew at the Jamaica College, Karl Hendrickson Auditorium beginning 10:00am. This will be the first in a series of exhibitions which will be staged across the island over a 12 to 15 month period. FIRM, which is a model for public/private sector partnership, is an alliance between the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s (PIOJ) Growth Secretariat and the Development Bank of Jamaica.

Executive Director, for the Growth Secretariat at the PIOJ, Mr Joseph Cox, says the expo will feature a wide range of exhibitors and presentations on topics relevant to the financial landscape, specifically as it relates to financing and operating businesses. It will identify a cadre of innovative entrepreneurs who will be provided with technical support and capacity building where appropriate; and selected entrepreneurs will be provided with an opportunity to pitch their ideas to financiers with the view of securing either an equity injection or loan financing.

FIRM is a financial matchmaking model geared towards assisting persons with potentially viable business ideas or existing businesses that are underfunded and lack the requisite collateral or market information to access financing for their venture. Its primary objective Cox explains is to develop and implement a multifaceted public awareness model to provide entrepreneurial funding opportunities, which will be executed islandwide.

 Several business executives will be on hand to provide expert advice to entrepreneurs including Bruce Scott, Partner, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Jamaica; Ms Shulette Cox, Vice President JAMPRO; Ms Gail Abrahams, FLOW Jamaica’s Director, Corporate Communications; among others.


Contact:          Claudette M. Myers (Communication Specialist)

Tel:                  960-9339/906-4344/935-5062(D)


Fax:                  906-5011

SOURCE: Planning Institute of Jamaica

How To Spy On Your Competitors (Part I)

3d illustration: Equipment protection. Concept Cameras Do you have that nervous feeling that your competitors are doing better than you? Suspect that you are loosing customers to your competitors? One suggestion that has worked well for some is to find out what your competition is doing. This research will tell you what is working well for them and help you get the most for your business strategy.

Here are some online tools that will help you spy on your competitors legally:

1. KEYWORDS – Right click on the home page or best performing page of your competitor and click on View Page Source to see what keywords are being used. This is a valuable bit of information if the competitor’s webpage is performing better than yours.

2. YOUR COMPETITION’S MOST POPULAR PAGE – To find your competitor’s most popular page(s) and to get a behind-the-scene look at how well it’s website is doing use online tools like Site Explorer and Buzzsumo.  Just a few minutes ago I used Buzzsumo to find the most popular page on It is an article written back in March 2014 titled “This is how an engineer feels when he’s surrounded by idiots.”

3. LOAD TIME – Customers hate long load times. Check the load time of your website and that of your competitor with tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix. Here are some valuable information on how you can improve your load time:

PageSpeed Insights Rules

10 Ways to Make Your Website Load Faster

4. WEBSITE CHANGES – Many popular websites that have been around for years have made changes to maximize performance and improve the users’ experience. Use the Waynack Machine to see what changes your competition has made that likely resulted in increased traffic and better user experience.

5. WHAT SERVICES THEY USE – Want to find out that tools and services your competition is using to “outsmart” you? Go to BuildWith and type in your competitor’s URL to see a host of information that will make your head giddy. I just typed and found who host their website, what advertisers they use, their Analytics and Tracking tools and services, who handle their email services, their advertising, their audio/video libraries, and the makeup of their Content Delivery Network. This has to be one of your more visited sites for info on what others are doing.

What Business Owners Can Learn from Usain Bolt

There are many things that people around the world associate with the name Jamaica. These include Dunn’s River Falls, Negril Beach, Doctor’s Cave Beach, Bob Marley Museum, Port Antonio and Kingston.

Ask most people to name a famous Jamaican and very likely you won’t hear the names Marcus Garvey, Alexander Bustamante, Cindy Breakspeare, Patrick Ewing or Donald Quarrie.

Many people associate the name Jamaica with reggae music and famous singer Bob Marley. However, the younger audience (worldwide) and many sports fans think of Usain Bolt when asked to name a famous Jamaican.

Over the past few weeks the name Usain Bolt has received more mentions (especially on social media) than any other Jamaican person place or thing. There was the controversy over whether Bolt called the Commonwealth Games “a bit shit” as reported by The Times of London. There were images and tweets of Bolt watching the Jamaican Netball team. Then there were headlines like “Usain Bolt makes Glasgow smile again as Jamaica reach 4x100m relay final” and “Usain Bolt’s Commonwealth Games win draws more than 8m UK viewers.”

One of the more anticipated events of the recent Commonwealth Games, the men’s 4x100m Relay featured the Jamaican relay team anchored by Bolt. Usain Bolt and the rest of the relay team won the Gold while England took Silver. The event generated a lot of chatter in social media  and in traditional print/online media.

The image below is one of the more memorable images of the games. The image shows millionaire Usan Bolt mingling with his fans. Similar images show him taking selfies with the crowd and signing autographs. What does this have to do with business?

Image Source: CNN


Usain Bolt is a global brand. Bolt is aware that his skills contribute to the value of the brand. He is also aware that the fans play a huge part in making that brand and in increasing its value. He realizes that without them he would not have accomplished what he has. He does not hesitate to show his appreciation for his fans. He interacts with them in person and on social network.

Like Usain Bolt, successful businesses value their customers. They realize that their customers keep them in business.

Successful businesses view customers as assets rather than numbers. They interact with them. They get feedback from them and respond accordingly.

They show appreciation for them by saying “Thanks for your business” via Thanks You cards, emails, texts, tweets and other digital avenues. They offer incentives to encourage repeat business.


Since it costs more to acquire a new customer than to keep a current one, smart businesses take what they know about their customers and tailor future sales with them in mind. They work diligently to keep current customers in the fold.

Remember customers are not numbers/data. They are emotional human beings that have tastes, preferences and oftentimes display certain buying trends. Value them. Thank them. Interact with them. Give them reasons to stay with your business or they will find your competitor very quickly.


TREND: Time Spent on Smartphones/Tablets Growing But TV Ads Still Preferred

An exhaustive study by Millward Brown’s AdReaction 2014 was carried out between November 2013 and March 2014. The goal of the study was to compare and contrast 30 different markets across the globe to see how much time is spent on mobile devices and how these times vary from country to country. The findings were enlightening for marketers and entrepreneurs.

The study group consisted of 13,000 mobile users aged 16 to 45 years who were multiscreen consumers, i.e. persons who own or have access to both a TV and either a smartphone or tablet. “The results show that, globally, we now spend more than three hours a day consuming mobile media…Across our 30 markets, the bulk of that is on a smartphone – 147 minutes – with an additional 50 minutes on a tablet.”

Read more about the findings here.