Valerie Veira, JBDC CEO, is flanked by (from left) Oliver Welsh, CEO of Woodland Roots; Kareema Muncey, managing director, Home Choice; Dr Elorine Turner-Pryce, managing director, Eden Joy Whole Foods; and Hjort Henry, managing director, HMH Farms.
From the rich soils of the island, four entrepreneurs have emerged to claim the title of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation's (JBDC) B.O.S.S. man and woman and runner-ups of the year.
The agency, in celebration of global entrepreneurship week, held under the theme 'Home Grown: Reducing Imports, Increasing Exports', culminated its list of activities with the crowning of Hjort Henry of HMH Farms as B.O.S.S Man of the Year and Dr Elorine Turner- Pryce of Eden Joy Whole Foods as B.O.S.S Lady of the Year.
Home Choice Enterprise's Kareema Muncey and Oliver Welsh, chief executive officer (CEO) of Woodland Roots Natural Drinks, were also named as the runner-up winners.
In honouring the four awardees, the JBDC said they have all paid homage to Jamaica's natural resources while creating value-added products.
"With the reality of Jamaica's widening trade deficit there is a need for local business owners to begin to focus on export. Along with this imperative is the island's need to work on import substitution plans that encourage local entrepreneurs to provide food security and expand Jamaica's export capabilities.
"All four entrepreneurs that made it to the top this year operate businesses that show the value of home-grown products and have also made their way beyond local borders," the JBDC said.
HMH Farms specialises in livestock and genetics, goat meat and food items such as eggs and broiler chickens while Eden Joy is a family-owned holistic health store, a water distribution project and vegan food manufacturing business. The runners-up, which both produce a diverse variety of processed foods and beverages, also sell their product overseas. Home Choice specialises in the processing and packaging of food items such as peppered shrimp, extracts, Indian curry powder and other condiments, while Woodlands is a manufacturer of natural roots and drinks.
Over the four years of presenting the awards, the JBDC said it chooses 'BOSSES', who "embody the entrepreneurial spirit and mindset, embrace a culture of innovation, have evidenced significant changes in revenue and has entered the export market/or have introduced a new product/service to the market."
A common thread throughout the journey of these four entrepreneurs is the fight for independence and freedom within their work.
For Turner-Pryce it was acting on her father's advice after years of being in the legal field that led her to set out on a path to start her entrepreneurship journey. Henry, in recounting his journey, said it was a redundancy exercise and an unfortunate health scare that led him into reflection, ultimately forcing him to discover his own independence.
"Entrepreneurship really does give you freedom and it also gives a sense of accomplishment when you create something and you see it grow," he shared.
For the runner-ups, it was the rediscovery of skills and passion that helped to pave the way for their success.
"What is very important is for us to discover what skills the Almighty has given us and to work at those," Muncey said.
The B.O.S.S Awards held by the JBDC are graduated versions of empowerment events dubbed B.O.S.S MAN and B.O.S.S LADY. For the women, B.O.S.S means 'Building Opportunities for Sweet Success' and for the men, 'Building Opportunities for Strong Success'.
Source: Jamaica Observer
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