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A Visit to the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE)

IMG_20150424_143242My entrepreneurship classes have given me more and more reasons as to why I should become a young successful entrepreneur. Many students will end up having to go down this path and so the most important thing for me to do right now is to– learn it, be in the know, get involved with the right people and develop myself.

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My visit to the Jamaica Stock Exchange was quite informative and engaging. 40 Habour Street, Kingston Jamaica, was the place to be on that hot Friday morning. Before I get into all the important information. Let me just reinforce that this is Jamaica and when the place gets hot—“it tun up!” The taxi dropped us all off at the ‘big tree’ downtown (Parade) and the first thing I did was purchase an orange juice and a bottle water from this pleasant vendor. Then my classmate and I had to make our way down to the JSE on foot (yes on foot) and that was never a problem for me personally, I love the sight– because downtown Kingston, in my opinion is a tourist destination, beautiful in every way. We didn’t want to be late so we definitely had to pick up some speed.

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A little delay occurred when we had to stop and query directions like real “country people”, but hey! Nothing asked, nothing gained right? Finally we made it and there it was, this lovely infrastructure standing before us with the lovely palm trees welcoming and waving at us. We were then greeted by the security in the warmest way, got our visitor’s’ card. We were then ushered inside for the presentation and had a long wait until the actual time for the presentation. So during the wait I participated in a “cool off” competition, where we each got a chance to have the standing fan blowing in our faces. Then the chatting and laughing ended as soon as the communications officer entered the room and with a big smile and the most welcoming greeting; she took us straight into the session and it all went well.

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The Jamaica Stock Exchange came about in 1968   at the time when Jamaica had no stock exchange and companies wanted another way to make money; bonds, shares and stocks. The Jamaica Stock Market stands as a middle man between companies wanting capital and persons who are willing to make investments with their money. Individuals become investors from purchasing these form of securities and by doing so, they are contributing to the overall growth and development of the business of their choosing.

What is the purpose of the JSE?

– Bringing buyers and sellers together

-Enforcing public confidence in the stock market

What are some of the JSE brokerages?

Barita Investments Ltd

JMMB Securities

Sagicor Investments

NCB Capital Markets

Scotia Investments Jamaica Ltd

How do you invest in a JSE Company?

  1. Engage the services of the brokers
  2. Make a long-term decision
  3. (IMPORTANT) Study the information of the company, i.e. check their financial records first

What are the benefits of being an investor?

  • Bonus
  • Dividends
  • Voting Rights
  • Capital Appreciation

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Did you know?

  • You do not have to be in the business for a longtime to be listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange, that’s right! You can be a start up!
  • You cannot buy or sell less than a hundred shares.
  • A stock cannot be above 15% of the close price on the same day
  • You must also be 18 and over

Man Affi Eat a Food!!!

Those Illegal broadcasters

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Some weeks ago I was able to spare some time and join the movie craze. I went to see “Fifty Shades of Grey”. Needless to say I thought the movie was brilliant, and Christian….He was just like I imagined when I read the books. Such a wonderful guy, with wonderful skills, in more ways than one….But I digress. I was saying that the movie was great, and I was so excited about talking about it with my family, my mom in particular. Upon reaching home the weekend, I was surprised to walk in to the living room. There was a scene from the movie, right there on my TV screen. Not even a few days after the movie came out it was now making the rounds on bootleg. Those illegal movie traders!!! I wonder what would happen were I to be in a movie one day. How much of my revenue would be lost to the underground world? But we know Jamaica: “man affi eat a food”. Nothing wrong with creative entrepreneurship, even if it is illegal. Notwithstanding, the movie grossed a record in ticket sales.

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Chairman of the Broadcasting Commission Professor Hopeton Dunn (left) and Executive Director of the Commission Cordel Green address members of the media on copyright compliance directive to cable television operators in Jamaica.

Well, can you imagine how surprised I was yesterday to hear that the Broadcasting Commission would be pulling the plug on 19 TV channels by the end of the month, with another possible 90 more stations to be pulled sometime after? Most seem to be movie channels. When the big cable companies took over the businesses of the small operators, I always thought that everything was above board. I never knew that they were engaging in the same illegal broadcasting as the little man on the street corner who sells you the latest movie for $100. And to think that we pay the cable companies so much money for their service.

Well, I got to understand that this clampdown is partially a result of the talks that we engaged in with Obama and his team. I wonder: Was Obama puzzled when he turned on the Pegasus Hotel TV and saw all his favorites shows which were supposed to be exclusive to the US market? Well, whichever way we take it: illegal broadcasting in big business, or with the small man, we are all entrepreneurs hustling the ting. Man affi eat a food!!!

Who Said Talk is Cheap?

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Media talk

It was refreshing to listen to Emily Shields as she shared thoughts on….talk shows… Someone once said “talk is cheap”. I beg to disagree. Talk radio has become one of the staples on the Jamaican airwaves. It would be interesting to measure what percentage of overall airtime is dedicated to talk. We talk about current affairs; about the economy; about consumer affairs; about technology; about youth issues… There are shows focusing on health issues, and there are shows just dedicated to prayer, and some to counseling people who have problems in family and relationships. And there is even a show for those who want to go to America, the UK, or Canada. For the sports enthusiasts there is a special sport talk-show. I am sure I have not yet exhausted all the categories.

Obviously, people need a forum to vent and to share their views, emotions, and thoughts. Some people just want to talk ….to talk about anything and nothing. There are some voices who you will hear on every radio station, almost. As long as it’s a talk show, they will call. It appears that the landscape has undergone significant change over the past few years. For example, my mom tells me that morning talk shows are a relatively new phenomenon. Up to around 20 years ago, you would hear music and light discussion in the mornings, not the heavy analysis of news and current affairs that we are now becoming used to.

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Even without formal training in media and communications, one can pursue a media career in talk. To the best of my knowledge, many of the success talk-show practitioners are not formally trained as media people. The media landscape, nonetheless, allows one the opportunity to play to his or her strengths in a number of areas of talk. And if you cannot make it into one of the traditional media houses, there are emerging entrepreneurship opportunities on the internet. One can set up his or her network and provide a service. Who said talk is cheap?

Track and Field: The Ultimate Student Enterprise

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Yesterday I received with great interest the latest news on Calabar athletic star Michael O’hara. The report was entitled “O’hara will run at Penn Relays”. I was even further surprised, but thrilled to learn that he had a legal team, of at least three attorneys, both local and overseas based. They had successfully filed an emergency application to the Philadelphia courts to challenge the decision of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletics Association (PIAA) to ban O’hara from running at the Penn Relays. Think about it: a school boy, just over 18 years old, assembling what is clearly a high profile legal team to successfully mount his challenge so that he can run at a Penn Relays. After all, for some it’s just a Penn Relay race, and I hear that the athletes are competing in the biting cold Pennsylvania weather.

It is, however, clear that track and field is big business. Big business in Jamaica, and the United States. Just a few weeks ago I flirted with the notion of trying to get a grandstand champs ticket to go see our high school athletes compete on the last day. I had to perish the thought as quickly as it was born, as I understand that tickets were sold out a few minutes after they went on sale. In fact I hear ISSA chairman’s call for the government to consider building a bigger venue in order to accommodate more persons for events like Boys and Girls Championships.  People from all over the world jet in to see the event, and overseas media, gear companies, colleges and universities all converge to witness what is obviously one of the great events of amateur track and field.

But then, I observe that Jamaican children are always running. Even now my mom often sends out my younger brother: “run go round to the shop….” As younger children, we would literally run to the shop and return in a jiffy. We were always racing each other. I grow up observing people like Asafa Powell and Veronica Campbell, and had heard of Donald Quarrie and Merlene Ottey. Then Bolt and Frazer-Price burst on the scene. Bolt in particular displayed the power of his brand with everything from his signature pose to a documentary feature. It seems that our athletes are now opening their eyes to the possible business of track and field; and they are doing so from a much earlier age.

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Michael O’hara pulled off a stunt at this year’s champs. At the Lime sponsored event, upon winning, he exposed an undershirt with the writings “Be extraordinary” a tagline from Digicel. The general consensus appears to suggest that this was a case of ambush marketing, although the rules were silent as to what was allowed. Shortly after, Digicel announced that O’hara was its newest brand ambassador. While I am not privy to the details of the arrangements between O’hara and Digicel, or Jaheel Hyde and Lime for that matter, I have no doubt that these athletes will be well taken care of.

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As long as they continue to shine, as soon as they leave school and are no longer amateur, we will see those signing lucrative deals with sports apparel companies, and appearing in advertisements, and becoming entrepreneurs as a result of track and field.

Athletes such as Bolt have sought to invest their monies by venturing into areas such as the restaurant business. Courtney Walsh, a cricketer had previously taken a similar route. Many athletes will not make it as big as Bolt, since we can have only one Olympic champion at a time in each event. However, as youths engage in sport, they should be encouraged to be aware of the entrepreneurship opportunities that exist. For many, it can simply be a means of supporting them through high school, or funding tertiary education through a scholarship. Truth is, the entrepreneurship landscape is becoming more and more varied.usain-bolt .

Entrepreneurship: The Best Route

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It was a wonderful two days of celebration, entertainment, pomp and pageantry, and display of military might. Obama came to Jamaica, excited our imaginations, and departed almost as quickly as he came. He had a packed 24 hours in Jamaica where he met with local and Caribbean leaders, youth leaders, before laying a wreath in honor of world war veterans.

Of note is the fact that at his town-hall meeting, the United States President announced an initiative geared for young leaders across the Caribbean and Latin America. The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative is worth US$70 million and will develop youth through training, education, and employment. While the details were not immediately available, it is significant that the project will focus on creating and expanding opportunities for emerging entrepreneurs. This entrepreneurial focus is particularly geared towards youths in poor and marginalized communities, and will seek to provide them with skills needed for success in the 21st century.

Clearly, Obama’s focus is in the right direction: the youth. He was able to recognize our great potential and on the visit sought to address it. He pointed to the large percentage of youth that make up the population of the Americas, and definitely sees this as a positive. He further pointed out that: “Entrepreneurship and small and medium-size businesses are a priority, which means we have to create channels for access to capital, technical training – these are areas a lot of our development aid should go. Instead of just giving somebody a fish, we want to teach them how to fish”

Obama, though not as young as when he assumed the presidency, is still able to connect with young people. In fact he engaged them in a riveting session. I was not able to make it, due to a prior engagement (and no invitation), but I am excited about the prospects that the initiative holds and about the general attention given to youth like myself. Great going Obama! Big up!

Obama and the Jamaican Culture

pres-barack-obama-jamaica The message was so clear. I wonder if we got it though. The president of the United States arrived to start a much anticipated visit. The roads were paved, unsightly people and images were pushed aside; security was tighter than a sardine can. A feeling of euphoria swept the area that the president traversed, as people gathered in large numbers just to catch a glimpse, and some were most disappointed when he flew overhead instead of driving past. A tight schedule of activities was planned for his trip. But, where did President Obama head first? It seems that the president couldn’t even wait to put down his bags and rest his feet a bit. He headed straight to the Bob Marley Museum. This is a very interesting choice of a priority. The first Jamaican to whom he was anxious to show that “respect due” was Bob Marley. Bob Marley And then, Obama demonstrated how excited he was about basic aspects of our culture. In his town-hall meeting he had everyone cheering his greeting “Wha gwaan Jamaica?” and “Big Up” , and “…massive…” What does that say about the place that our pervasive culture occupies in the minds of some of the greatest and most powerful? I observed the events with some level of disappointment though: not even a little “cultural item” on the menu of activities. It would have been appropriate to have a little folk group at one of the events, or a dance group presenting some moves to Marley etc. After all, the real world boss Obama, had already demonstrated his ratings for the reggae boss, and maybe he and his delegation would have enjoyed some mento, and ska while having lunch.

Louise Simone Bennett-Coverley or Miss Lou, OM, OJ, MBE, was a Jamaican poet, folklorist, writer, and educator.
Louise Simone Bennett-Coverley or Miss Lou, OM, OJ, MBE, was a Jamaican poet, folklorist, writer, and educator.

A Miss Lou poem would have been most appropriate, and he would have heard the local tongue wittily expressing the most thought-provoking ideas. But then sometimes we don’t see…. The world loves our culture. We should be giving greater emphasis to packaging and supporting our creative and cultural expressions. Government policy should surround providing opportunities for these areas in which we as Jamaicans clearly have an advantage over many other countries throughout the world. Lip service is not good enough, but tangible actions are needed to help the many naturally talented creative people to find their place, like a Bob Marley did; and to find their voice like Louise Bennett. Entrepreneurship in the creative industries should be encouraged, and may be the next time Obama visits, he will sing “Stir it up”, and will big up the government for its work in providing enterprising opportunities for the massive. 🙂