Review of Jamaica’s Economic Performance July – September 2014

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) published an economic performance report dated November 19, 2014. The report covesr the economic performance for the quarter July to September 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:

Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing
The Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing industry declined by an estimated 21.0%, reflecting:
Other Agricultural Crops down 32.9% due to declines in production in all crop groups Potatoes, down 47.9%; Vegetables, down 45.0%; Condiments, down 44.4%
Other components which recorded contractions were:  Traditional Export crops, down 1.0%; cent; and Post Harvest activities, down 41.8%
The fall-off in the industry was due to:  Drought conditions which curtailed planting activities and lowered yields for crops.

Mining & Quarrying
Crude bauxite production up 2.2% due to increased demand
Bauxite capacity utilization rate increased by 1.8% points to 86.0%

Transport, Storage & Communication
Real value added for Transport, Storage & Communication grew by 1.3% reflecting an expansion in the Transport & Storage; and the Communication components of the industry.
Transport component grew reflecting increased levels of activities at seaports:
Cargo volume handled at the islands seaports increased by 2.3% to 3.9 million tonnes:
Outports up 3.3% to 2.6 million tonnes – driven largely by increased Bauxite exports; Port of Kingston, up by 408 tonnes to 1.2 million tonnes
Airport activities were estimated to have increased due to 6.4% increase in total air passenger movements

Hotels & Restaurants
Real Value Added for Hotels & Restaurants grew by 3.9% due to increases in:
Cruise passenger arrivals up 27.3%
Stopover arrivals up by 5.0% resulting in
Total arrivals up 11.8%
Provisional visitor expenditure up 6.8% to US$523.0 million


  • For January to September 2014 inflation rate was 7.2%
  •  Remittance inflows for January-July 2014 amounted to US$1,238.3 million, up US$47.6 million relative to January–July 2013.
  • Total employed labour force increased by 16,700 persons to 1,124,600 compared with July 2013.
  • The unemployment rate for July 2014 was 13.8% compared with 15.4 % in July 2013.

SOURCE: Planning Institute of Jamaica

Android for Beginners (8+ Hours of Content)


** Last updated on JANUARY 11, 2015 **


There goes a chinese proverb – “Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I’ll remember. Involve me, I’ll understand.”

The highest degree of learning takes place with your involvement. And this course is designed to do exactly that. This course introduces you to the basics of Android development. You will need some Java fundamentals to get started. If you are not sure about the difference between an abstract class and an interface you might have to refresh your Java concepts before proceeding.

Also, if you are new to Java I recommend John Purcell’s Java Course, in order to acquire the minimal Java programming skills required to step into Android development.

I’ve also got you some companion code which you can download from the appropriate lectures. You’ll be working on the source code along with me, so that you could get a good grasp on the concepts you will eventually be introduced to. At the end of this course you’ll be able to write and deploy AWESOME!! apps to Google Play.

How is this course designed?

  • Comprehensive – Contains lessons and exercises that enable you to develop real-world Android applications.
  • Simple & Sequential – To keep complexity at bay, the course introduces you to independent concepts initially and then reveals more of the complex stuff.
  • Focused towards Results – This is the same course that we use internally at our mobile app startup, to train new talents.
  • Hands-on Sessions – I guide you through sessions building apps and writing code snippets clearly explaining every line of code.
  • Drills – Easy-to-moderate beginner level exercises in which you get the opportunity to practice what you’ve learnt and verify the same.
  • Elaborate Videos – Learn Android concepts in a thorough manner, I’ve made sure that all WHYs and HOWs you need to know are covered.

Since this course is for beginners, I highly recommend you to take this course sequentially. You can pick on random videos, but remember – the complexity increases down the road so it is imperative that you take them one by one.



Could Your Business Use a Mentor? Where Do You Find One?

Here is a great article published in FORBES a few weeks ago:

The Importance of Mentors, And Where To Find Them

Why Mentors Matter?

Mentors or business coaches are one of the most valuable resources an entrepreneur should tap into. The idea of launching a business should no longer be a scary or daunting experience, riddled with unknowns. It should be a collaborative experience accumulating the learnings of the hundreds of local entrepreneurs who have already built successful businesses, and can help you move faster and avoid known pitfalls based on their years of experience, as entrepreneurs themselves. Continue

Online Course: Innovation for Entrepreneurs: From Idea to Marketplace Feb 9 – Mar 21

About the Course

We 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 the Life Span of an Innovation Follows Product Life Cycles
  • How Innovations Diffuse into the Commercial Marketplace
Week Two: Indicators of Innovation Opportunity & Steps in the Process of Innovation
  • Drucker’s Seven Sources of Innovation Opportunity
  • 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
  • Ways Technology Can Be a Source of Innovation
  • Three Framed Views of the Innovation Process
  • How Individual Steps Form the Overall Innovation Process
  • An Innovation Process Applied: New Product Development
  • How Creative Roles Contribute to Innovation
  • How Implementer Roles Contribute to Innovation


Week Three: 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 Lead User Research Becomes an Innovation Strategy
  • How to Compose the Elements of an Innovation Portfolio
  • How Technology Transfer Fits into an Innovation Portfolio


Week Four: Creating Winning Business Models
  • Developing Products and Services to Fit the Market
  • Keys to Developing Winning Business Models
  • Beginning the Business Model Canvas
  • Completing the Business Model Canvas


Online Course: Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Private Businesses, Part II Jan 12 – Feb 12

This course is presented by University of Virginia Darden School of Business

About the Course

Most entrepreneurship courses focus on how to start a business. Few focus on the next big entrepreneurial inflection point: how do you successfully grow an existing private business? This is the focus of this Course. It is based on the instructor’s research and thirty years of real-world experience advising private growth companies.

This Course will focus on the common “people” challenges private growth companies face as they grow. You will study stories of how six different private businesses faced their growth challenges.

While strategic focus and operational excellence are necessary to build a great growth company, they are not sufficient. Growth requires the right kind of leadership, culture, and people. My research clearly showed that many entrepreneurs struggle with personal challenges presented to them by growth, as well as the challenge of hiring the right people and building the right management team that can play well together. The research shows that every growth business faces common challenges. You can learn from others’ experience—you do not have to “reinvent the wheel”.

The Course format is story based. Each case tells a compelling story. You will learn from Barbara Lynch, Ryan Dienst, Steve Ritter, Randy Bufford, John Gabbert, and Mike Cote. In addition, each week, we will discuss a different content theme. In Week 3, you will engage in a Workshop where you will be asked to apply the Growth System Assessment Tool. You will have the opportunity to create a Course Community of fellow students to learn from each other as the Course progresses.

You will learn how entrepreneurs must grow, too; the “secret” of high performance; people-centric leadership; how to create high employee engagement; how to create an internal Growth System; and how to build a senior management team.

Online Course: Subsistence Marketplaces Jan 12 – Mar 7

This course is offered by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Subsistence Marketplaces

Gain knowledge about subsistence marketplaces and use it in different parts of the world to make a difference. The broader aim of this course is for you to consider the global challenge of poverty and envision a better world by designing solutions based on sound understanding.

About the Course

The foundation for this course lies with unique synergies between pioneering research, teaching, and social initiatives through the Subsistence Marketplaces Initiative. Unique to this approach is a bottom-up understanding of theintersection of poverty and the marketplace.

The goals of this course are to help youdevelop an understanding of marketplace activity in the radically different context of subsistence where much of humanity resides and survives, and for you to design solutions that can be implemented by individuals, businesses, and social enterprises through economically, ecologically, and socially sustainable products for subsistence marketplaces.


Lowell Hawthorne Founder of the Successful Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill

Lowell-Hawthorne200 Jamaican-born Lowell Hawthorne is the Founder and CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill. The company which started in New York in 1989 now has over 120 stores restaurants across 9 states with revenue of over US$100M. Here is his success story.

In the small hamlet of Border, in rural Jamaica, a young boy named Lowell Hawthorne, cut his entrepreneurial teeth at the tender age of ten with his first small business; raising pigs, rabbits and chickens. From the proceeds of this early enterprise Hawthorne saved enough money by age 16 to purchase a mini-bus and begin his next business endeavor of picking visitors up at the airport and dropping them off at various destinations around the island. Eventually, assisted by an older sister he immigrated to the US. The year was 1981. He was 21 and his head was filled with new possibilities as he embraced life in America. In a short eight years he would be married with children, own his own home and be the CEO of what would become the most successful Caribbean inspired business in the United States.

Living the dream …

Lowell initially found work doing inventory and stocking shelves for the New York City Police Department while beginning his studies at Bronx Community College. After a brief stint working for H&R Block the business savvy Hawthorne saw yet another opportunity and his new company L&H was formed. Still working for NYPD he found many clients for his tax preparation services amongst the police officers that surrounded him in his day-time job. Armed with his college education he eventually moved up the ranks into the NYPD Pensions Department, as an accountant. However by the end of the eighties he was ready for change and that’s when the idea for the Golden Krust Bakery was hatched.

Over the years Lowell’s father Ephraim Hawthorne, who owned a small bakery in Jamaica, would come to visit. While spending time with family at the Bronx house he would bake his special Easter buns. These buns were a family tradition, the recipe handed down through the generations from father to son.  Soon the Hawthorne clan were selling these buns to neighbours, local businesses and their colleagues at work.  Eventually the basement of Lowell’s house was turned into an ad hoc bakery.  As the eighties drew to a close the family pooled their resources to raise the funds needed to purchase the appropriate real estate to take the fledgling business to the next level and so …. the new dream found a home and the first official Golden Krust Bakery came into being.

The Golden Krust touch

The original bakery produced buns, breads and cakes but quickly expanded its repertoire to include signature meat patties. Featuring island spices and a flaky pastry crust the patties quickly became a best seller but the road to success wasn’t entirely smooth sailing. Initially the Hawthornes purchased their beef patties from a New York competitor and just when Golden Krust was becoming a serious competitor in the local market, their wholesale supplier decided to abruptly cut them off from their beef patty supply. It was a huge crisis for the company but by using typical Hawthorne common sense coupled with some good advice from dad, Lowell was able to save the day. In fact, this stumbling block created a perfect opportunity to grow the business. This is what happened ….

Lowell was actually visiting in Jamaica when the bad news from the supplier was delivered. When he got off the phone he was devastated but his father, Ephraim, didn’t see things in such a dark light. He counselled his son to rise above the disaster and to see it as an opportunity. Being the local pastor he believed that God would lead the way and his faith bolstered his son’s next decisions. Lowell hopped on a plane to London where he tracked down the information he needed to create a perfect pastry for his own meat patties and quickly found exactly what he needed. The end result has become that deep golden pastry we all associate with the Golden Krust brand.

Next Lowell went back to Jamaica to sleuth out a well-known cook named Mel, famous on the island for his perfectly spiced meat patty fillings. Then on he went to Chicago to purchase the necessary bakery equipment; and just like that, the crisis of the meat patties was solved.

Independence is sweet and from disaster the phoenix rose. The new signature Golden Krust beef patties quickly garnered the company customer attention and today has literally become the “Golden Standard” in the beef patty niche.

In fact these beef patties have been so successful that the Golden Krust Bakery now churns out up to 20,000 patties a day. One of their largest contracts entails supplying the New York City educational system with a variety of beef patties for lunch programs. Today’s children are being provided healthy food at lunch time while developing a taste for Caribbean flavors that they will, no doubt, continue to savor as adults.

Drive, discipline, determination and desire

Lowell Hawthorne uses something he calls the four d’s to fuel his success; drive, discipline, determination and desire.  By keeping it real, Hawthorne has been able to develop a clear mission statement that has guided the Golden Krust brand through crises and successes to become the strong community focused company it is today. What began in 1989 has blossomed into a franchised business with over 120 restaurants.

The tenets that have brought the Golden Krust brand to the forefront are simple and straightforward. This company is grounded by an old fashioned value that places its main emphasis on the customer who is at the very core of the company’s success.  Lowell Hawthorne believes in approaching business with an emphasis on:

  • integrity
  • providing real value to real people
  • always having fun

Together with his family, Lowell has created a recipe for success; a recipe that has taken them from humble beginnings in a Bronx basement to thriving contender status, in a very competitive niche.

The Baker’s Son

The company-honored value of giving back to the community continues to be one of the strongest links in the backbone of the Golden Krust Bakery & Grill enterprise. This company responds to their community constantly; seeking feedback, acting on perceived needs and supporting community organizations. The Mavis & Ephraim Hawthorne, Golden Krust Foundation (MEHGKF), named in honor of the family matriarch and patriarch was established in 2005. It focuses on, “creating and bringing awareness of educational opportunities to the youth of our communities nationally and internationally through scholarships, internships and mentorship.”

Always true to his faith, his roots, his family and community, Lowell Hawthorne has penned a memoir, The Baker’s Son: My Life in Business which charts his remarkable journey from a boyhood in Jamaica to his present-day life in America. For all aspiring entrepreneurs this book is a worthwhile read. From the MEHGKF website:

“The Baker’s Son is a deeply moving account that tells the story of an immigrant family from rural Jamaica that relocated to the Bronx in the 1980s. Starting from humble beginnings, and after weathering several major crises along the way, personal as well as professional, the Hawthorne family has scaled the heights of success to achieve the American Dream to an unprecedented degree. Not content to rest on its well-deserved laurels, the family has, in addition, established an innovative and very successful philanthropic foundation to give back to the community.”

All proceeds from the sale of the Baker’s Son support the work and scholarships of MEHGKF.

Jamaican Entrepreneur Deika Morrison Promoting the Benefits of Early Childhood Education

DeikaMorrisonThe Jamaica’s Parliament recently approved a new Charter of Rights with increased focus on the rights of our precious young ones. Section 13 (k) of the Charter declares it a right of every child, “who is a citizen of Jamaica, to publicly funded tuition in a public educational institution at the pre-primary and primary levels”.

Deika Morrison is helping fill a need for simple and effective tools in the classrooms. Through her “Crayons Count” Project she provides about 2700 basic/pre-schools with starter learning kits, to help boost literacy and numeracy at the level of early-childhood education.

To see exactly what she does and how you can help please see the following video:


Crayons do count

$30 Million Makes Crayons Count

Crayons Count Gets Back To Basics

Basic, infant schools now receiving Crayons Count learning kits



Trend: Putting Customer Back in Customer Service

When 1,620 consumers were tested under laboratory conditions, 63% said they felt their heart rate increase when they thought about receiving great customer service.

For 53% of those tested, receiving great service triggered the same cerebral reactions as feeling loved.*

The takeaway? When it comes to customer service, it’s not about what consumers think. Great service is about feelings.

…There are plenty of new technologies, clever concepts and even trends that could help brands offer better service to consumers. But too few brands understand that amid all this rapid change, the fundamentals of great service remain the same. It’s about the feeling of being recognized. Listened to. Valued and cared for. Continue