Life
Jamaica | Mar 3, 2023

A complete life-changer: D&G Foundation helps St Mary mother achieve her entrepreneurial dream

/ Our Today

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TVJ’s Wishlist winner Candice Champagnie receives a symbolic token representing $100,000 from Desnoes and Geddes (D&G) Foundation Accountant Dennis Beckford (left).

Entrepreneurship has always represented the ultimate form of professional growth and financial freedom for 35-year-old Candice Champagnie.

The single mother of two from Palmetto Grove, St Mary was confident that, by opening her own fruit and drink stall, she could provide adequately for her family, so she submitted a request to TVJ’s Christmas Wishlist programme in December.

Just two months after receiving a gift of $100,000 from programme sponsor Desnoes and Geddes (D&G) Foundation towards her dream, Candice’s fruit and drink business is already up and running and business is good. After selling out for several consecutive weeks, her eyes are set on the next frontier – expansion.

“When I wrote the letter asking for assistance, I said I didn’t want to be fed but that I wanted help to learn how to fish for my family,” she said.

“I have faced challenges in the past with making ends meet, but I am a hardworking woman, and I don’t give up easily. I wanted a fresh start to the new year for my children and our future. I knew the best way to do that was to create something that could earn a steady income.”

Newly minted entrepreneur Candice Champagnie (right) beams with pride as she completes a fruit sale to one of her customers at her stall in Palmetto Grove, St Mary.

Candice, the sole breadwinner for her family, previously worked as a supervisor at a farm and hardware store.

Despite this, she still found it challenging to make ends meet. She sought funding in the past to start her own business but was unable to satisfy the criteria for a loan.

With no other options in sight, Candice hoped for a donation from a benevolent person or organisation. Luckily for her, the D&G Foundation was eager to step in and assist.

“Community empowerment is a key component of our work at the Foundation. We are constantly looking for ways to help Jamaicans sustainably improve life for themselves and loved ones,” said Dennis Beckford, D&G Foundation accountant.

“We partnered with TVJ on their Christmas Wishlist last year to help spread some holiday cheer, but when we saw Candice’s letter, we knew this was an opportunity to make an impact that would last beyond the holiday. Small businesses are the backbone of our communities, especially in rural Jamaica. By creating an avenue for one mother to take care of her family, you begin a positive feedback loop that can have a generational impact,” he added.

A dream come true! Candice Champagnie stands by her fully stocked fruit and drink stall made possible through a grant from the D&G Foundation. The proceeds from her fruit sales will support her family and fund her goal of expanding.

Entrepreneurship will allow Candice the financial freedom needed to efficiently provide for her family while maintaining the work-life balance she has always wanted.

“My family is even more excited than I am about getting my business off the ground. Also, I now have more time to spend with my children; this was not possible while working a 9-5 job,” Candice happily explained.

With the construction of the stall now complete, Candice is searching for cost-effective suppliers to meet her customers’ increasing demands. She has already started thinking about the future of the business, noting that a brick-and-mortar establishment is a next step. 

“With good business networking skills, I hope to see some growth to a successful business in the next few years. Thank you D&G Foundation for helping me to achieve my dream. This gift is life-changing for me; the money is a blessing,” Candice concluded.

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