Twenty-five small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will take the journey through a life-altering experience in the 2022 edition of the Scotiabank Vision Achiever (SVA) Programme, which was launched on Wednesday (March 16) at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston.
The participants, which represent a cross section of businesses from the pharmaceutical, tourism, energy, agriculture, manufacturing, and catering sectors, will benefit from an intensive, 17-week coaching programme designed to help businesses achieve core competencies for efficient business operation. The entrepreneurs will be trained by Action Coach, Marcia Woon Choy, in sales, systemizing business processes, marketing and understanding business financials, as well as building each participant’s capacity as a leader.
This year marks the 11th renewal of Scotiabank’s investment in the empowerment, growth, and development of Jamaican SMEs through the programme, enabling them to thrive and take advantage of the evolving global marketplace.
Speaking at the launch, Perrin Gayle, head of retail banking and small business, said though the past two years have been challenging for both individuals and businesses, Scotiabank is committed to our efforts to develop local entrepreneurs.
“We have navigated this dynamic period in our history. The impact of the pandemic has been especially significant for small business operators who have fought to maintain viability during a period of crippled economic activity,” Gayle said.
Noting that the words pivot, retool, innovate, resilient are now buzz words coming from the pandemic, Gayle urged business leaders to not lose sight of their drive to be innovative leaders and contributors to society.
“We must acknowledge that these are not new words or concepts for those of us in business. In fact, we have been doing this for years, the pandemic has only served to sharpen our focus on their importance and so as we look forward to the post-pandemic period it is important that we again do not lose sight of this,” Gayle said.
Meanwhile, Marlene Street Forrest, managing director at the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) and guest speaker at the event, said the Scotiabank Vision Achiever programme compliments the work of the JSE and its mandate to empower companies to break beyond excellence to exceptional.
“We congratulate Scotiabank on continuing to see the priority that must be placed on ensuring that SMEs are properly equipped to not just survive, but thrive, and not only to be innovators and risk takers but to understand and appreciate that risks taken must be grounded in analysis,” Street Forrest said.
She noted that programmes like the SVA provide business leaders with the necessary tools to achieve, as the requirements and outputs are purposeful, properly planned and organised.
According to Street Forrest, a common mistake many SMEs make is believing that knowing the product, and even marketing it well, means that all elements are in place to cause the business to achieve growth and sustainability.
“While that is part of the journey, I have seen from persons at the many companies that I have spoken with, that a superior product, with great consumer demand can fail because many other aspects of the business have been poorly managed. That is why I commend programmes like this that train business leaders in proper management,” Street Forrest said.
The SVA programme has helped to develop more than 300 businesses since its inception in 2011 through intricate training and is considered a gift to the budding business society of Jamaica.
This year’s cohort of Vision Achievers include: Bambusa, Baruch Distributors Limited, CAA Enterprise, Chemqualco, Chocolate Dreams Limited, Davene Jonas Style, Effit, Jesse’s Gifts and Décor, LB Resorts Limited, Likkle Tea, Michelle Thomas and Associates, Midtown Plumbing, Electrical and Tools Supplies, Modern Cooperage and More Limited, NKM Cleaning Services, Notmar Trading Company Limited, Operation Rehab Limited, Royale Pharmacy, Somers Furnishing, SteamHouse Network Limited, STEM Builders Learning Hub Limited, The Art of Motivation, The Bread Pudding Factory, Tornadoes Swim Club, Uncorked 2017 Limited and Weelkris Trading.
The top three Vision Achievers will share prizes of $4 million from programme supporters Mastercard, Trend Media, Jamaica Gleaner, Development Bank of Jamaica, iCreate and Ashley Furniture Homestore.
The Scotiabank Vision Achiever programme has been part of Scotiabank’s offerings to SMEs and is open to any eligible business, including companies not aligned with the bank.