The Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA) has been planting seeds of interest in Jamaica, through its ‘Jamaica Connects’ business forums at World Expo 2020 Dubai.
JSEZA’s Senior Director, Regulations, Policy, Monitoring and Enforcement, Ainsley Brown, and Manager, Business Facilitation and Acceleration Services, Kevon Farquharson, are two members of the Jamaican delegation in Dubai for the global event and are the hosts of the Jamaica Connects business forums.
Mr. Brown shared that their approach to presenting Jamaica as a place for trade and investments has been receiving positive feedback from all forum participants.
“Overall, what we have heard is ‘Wow. I didn’t know Jamaica was doing this’, or ‘I didn’t know this about Jamaica’. Because we have a certain framework in which we frame our presentations where we start with ‘why’ – why should people invest in Jamaica? You have to answer that straight away and then we leave the ‘what’ for last,” he said.
“And so we follow that basic framework with some modification. And then when you get to that, you’ve brought them in, you’ve already touched the heartstrings. Then we move them to ‘how do I invest in Jamaica?’ or ‘how do I trade with Jamaica’?” the Senior Director told JIS News.
The presentation framework is borrowed from Simon Sinek, in which you start a pitch with stating the ‘why’ first to heighten interest and buy-in.
The JSEZA team has been leading the business forums held by the Jamaica Pavilion at World Expo 2020 Dubai. There have, so far, been three forums, which covered the topics of business opportunities in logistics; environmental, social and governance investing in Jamaica; and business acceleration through special economic zones.
“One of the things that we do when we give each presentation, we always put a question in there, and that is, ‘what can Jamaica do for you?’ The answer to that is ‘whole heap’ to put it in Jamaican terms. What we’re getting is, one, we want to buy Jamaican products and get them into this market, and two, we see Jamaica as a springboard to access other markets,” Mr. Brown said.
Creating the linkages between Jamaica’s prime location for becoming a logistics hub connecting businesses to the Caribbean and American markets, along with the rich agrarian society, access to natural energy sources and the business support services offered through the JSEZA, have been used to portray a Jamaica of more than sun, sea and sand to attract investments and trade interests.
The forum participants hail from countries such as Malaysia, India, Poland, United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany, Slovakia, Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates. There has even been participant representation from the Caribbean.
For his part, Mr. Farquharson shared that the participants represent a cross-section of fields ranging from education and consultancy to pharmaceutical and environmental protection. The information shared through the Jamaica Connects business forums has garnered multiple expressions of interest in doing business in Jamaica.
“We have a lot of interest that spreads across all industries, moving from the agro-processing industry to the logistics industry, and knowledge process outsourcing as well. We have persons that are a part of pharmaceutical companies that are interested in setting up shop in Jamaica as well as doing research with Jamaica. There is interest stemming from the agro-processing side of things where persons are interested in the cannabis industry, particularly the CBD oil, and persons are interested in our spices,” shared Mr. Farquharson.
The team in Dubai has already made connections with business operators to expand their work and presence in the island and have made connections with others for symbiotic relationships in which local waste or environmentally harmful commodities such as sargassum are the raw material used by these companies in their operations.
The Jamaican delegation remains in Dubai until the end of World Expo 2020 on March 31,2022 and will continue to host business forums and facilitate meetings with businesses and individuals interested in trading with and investing in Jamaica. The team has already facilitated meetings between business entities or organisations in the Middle East and their counterparts in Jamaica.
The next Jamaica Connects business forum is scheduled for Wednesday, February 16.