My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How Entrepreneurs Dianne Facey, Lillian Henry and Al Barrett are people on the Move

Thursday, December 24, 2015

How Entrepreneurs Dianne Facey, Lillian Henry and Al Barrett are people on the Move

“There are a lot of local entrepreneurs in every community. We believe that if Government should start identifying these persons and giving them greater support, these persons could, in the long run, provide employment for more people in the very communities where they are operating” 

Al Barrett Metal form mannequins maker from the community of Bowens Road, St Andrew speaking about Entrepreneurship and the Government of Jamaica

There are many Jamaican for whom hustling and handouts are their only way of making ends meets in 2015. So it is no surprise that these Jamaicans, living in the inner-city ghettoes of Jamaica, are choosing to make a change for 2016.

Residents of the inner-city community of Bowens Road, St Andrew have decided that making market bags as reported in the article “Entrepreneurship is the cure to inner-city employment woes”, published Wednesday, December 23, 2015 by Kimmo Matthews, The Jamaica Observer is a way out.

Located along Spanish Town road just beside Maxfield Avenue and after St. Andrew Technical High School, Bowens Road, St Andrew is host to a thriving set of entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs, named Dianne Facey and Lillian Henry have started a business of making market bags as a means to uplift themselves in a community that's often dependent on political handouts.

They however have a long term view of their adopted trade; they seek government intervention to encourage people to become entrepreneurs as a means of alleviating the high levels of unemployment in Jamaica.

Dianne Facey and Lillian Henry - Crocus Bag makers sewing a brighter future for 2015

So says Dianne Facey, who recycles crocus bags and sells them to people going to market, quote: “We believe that the way to go is for the powers that be to start identifying and making greater investments in people who identify themselves as entrepreneurs in the various communities”.

She uses outdated equipment, mainly an old sewing machine in a trade adopted from her mother and wishes for an industrial strength sewing machine to make her work go faster and more accurately, quote: “An industrial sewing machine would help us greatly.

Their story reminds me of the entrepreneurial zeal of the St. Thomas Bag maker Shanaye Monteith who is literally sewing her way to a brighter future by making school bags as noted in my blog article entitled “How St. Thomas native Shanaye Monteith is Sewing School Bags to success in 2016”.

She has the support of fellow bag maker, Lillian Henry, who points to hidden talents within the community that investment from Private and Public Sector can help to unearth, allowing the young to create their own employment.

Al Barrett and Nadine - Metal form mannequins bring business opportunities to life

Al Barrett and his wife Nadine, produce metal form mannequins for a living in the inner-city community of Bowens Road, St Andrew.  

He too believes in the value of entrepreneurship and believes that if taught at an early age, it could provide a means by which people can uplift themselves out of the ghetto, quote: “We believe the Government can use this [entrepreneurship] to address the current unemployment problem”

After all, not everyone may have the finances to go to university or college to get a degree.

Worse many have degrees and are unable to find work, making skill training that more valuable, to quote Al Barrett: “Government should place a higher value on trade skills in schools so that people who cannot find jobs can try to create their own. Dem can do dis an mek a likkle money, if dem nuh have di brains fi do nuh job inna office”.

He still faces challenges in sourcing the material he needs to make more metal form mannequins. 

All of the above entrepreneurs could benefit from assistance in doing a business plan to submit to the JBDC (Jamaica Business Development Corporation) to get a loan so that he can be successful in getting the funding he desires as noted in my blog article entitled “20% of Jamaican MSME's Fail to get Bank Loans - Why MSME's need Business Plans, Marketing Plans and Market Research”.

The fact that he and his fellow residents of the inner-city community of Bowens Road, St Andrew have chosen the path of entrepreneurship means that their future will be one free of a dependence on others and marked by increased independence from external political forces.

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