Digital training and services company iCreate, founded and led by Tyrone Wilson, continues to undergo restructuring and to pursue new revenue lines.
The last two years have been turbulent ones for the company that listed on Jamaica’s junior stock exchange in 2019. It has undergone board member and management changes and has struggled to bring in adequate revenues.
Nevertheless, the company has persevered, gone back to the drawing board and restructured its operations with the aim to bring in US$2 million in revenue and US$1 million in profit.
iCreate’s accumulated losses stand at $89 million since it started its operations and questions have been raised as to whether the company should be liquidated, particularly in light of concerns expressed by its auditors, Crichton Mullings & Associates, about its ability to continue as a going concern.
Tyrone Wilson and his team have not buckled and given in. Arlene Martin was appointed as the new chairperson. As well as Sagicor Investments coming to the rescue with a bond of $24 million bond in 2019, it secured a bank overdraft.
The pandemic has been particularly hard on iCreate, forcing it to close facilities, in particular its Montego Bay office. It has had to address its liabilities and creditors and it has proven arduous meeting Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) requirements and stipulations. It makes no secret that there were some inaccuracies in its reporting to the JSE.
The company now has three distinct arms – namely, iCreate Institute (training), Opportunity Ventures (real estate including the Creative City) as well as an e-Commerce division. It is also looking to institute a number of training programmes throughout the Caribbean.
Taking stock of its situation, iCreate moved quickly to convert debt into equity and secured additional funding from Dolla Financial whose lead principal, Kadeen Mairs, has been most supportive.
iCreate has come a long way from starting out with funding from family and friends with just five of its programmes. Today it has added a further five programmes and recapitalised the business. It no longer operates offices as it looks to significantly reduce its operating expenditure and has added the very experienced CEO of Delta Capital, Ivan Carter, to its Board of Directors. Carter should help guide the company out of the rough waters it is currently navigating and his counsel should be adhered to.
It may perhaps be a good idea for iCreate to delist for a while, gain confidence, build revenues before looking to go on the main market once it has secured its moorings. The listing strictures may prove to be impediments to the growth it needs at this time so it may be wise to unshackle itself and totally focus on revenues and new business lines.
Speaking at its recently held AGM at the AC Marriott Hotel in Kingston, CEO Tyrone Wilson remained unflappable and undaunted, outlining the vision for his company.
“Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have changed our vision. In the past we were primarily focused on training, but we are now pivoting to other business opportunities. We are a digital creative company aimed at the creative economy. We have formed a venture capital arm which will be looking to acquire different businesses that will help build overall profitability.
“In 2020, iCreate started showing signs of improvements. For the first quarter of that year we delivered revenues of $24 million which was a 106 per cent growth increase on the prior year. We did profits of $1.8 million for that period. When the pandemic came, we had to tighten our belts. We are now doing B to B and working with corporates.
“We are excited about our Creative City where we will be building purposed real estate space for the digital and creative economy. This will consist of animation studios, tv studios, online studios and museums. There is a global demand for more content, and we are well positioned to take advantage of those opportunities.
“The only way we can do so is 1) skills training which is our primary goal through iCreate and 2) infrastructure necessarily to produce content on an international scale.”
iCreate is in the process of acquiring a small start-up in the e-commerce space.