The scope and power of the entrepreneurial spirit in Jamaica is something that has always inspired me. Especially amongst young people. Starting a business is daunting at any age, given the obstacles and rate of failure, but imagine having little experience and education. Or perhaps this is what fuels young entrepreneurs, the optimism of youth? In any case, this young woman’s story struck me this morning.
Nineteen-year-old Mahalia Gordon was cooking chicken and was dissatisfied with the marinades she had at home. So she made her own. She now produces and sells about 200 bottles of the stuff a month. It is called MahGord’s. She worked with the Scientific Research Council and sources all the ingredients locally, in her home parish of St. Elizabeth. Here is Mahalia:
“For young persons who are starting out in business, I would say to them do their research and find out their real market. Whatever comes to your mind and you know it’s positive and once it’s marketable, you do your research and you just have God as your guide and just go among the others and shine and just do your best.”
The only downside to the story is that government regulation is prohibiting her business from growing faster. Sigh. A universal story. And I must commend both the Gleaner and Observer newspapers, both of which are never short on sensational and negative coverage, but both of whom also run plenty of stories about youth doing positive things.