Video: Local entrepreneurs find new ways to tackle old problems

by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • Local entrepreneurs continue to excel in technology, manufacturing and service industries
  • Caribbean Development Bank said Grenadian economy is driven by services

An example of entrepreneurs continuing to excel in technology, manufacturing and service industries in Grenada, was seen during the Second Annual Grenada Coalition of Service Industries (GCSI) Services Expo held recently at the Grenada Trade Centre, on Friday 21 June 2018.

Annlyn Mc Phie, Founder of ServiceLane, an online booking service system that connects contractors with consumers, was among 35 companies showcasing their services to the public. The company placed 3rd in the GIDC Young Innovators Challenge 2017.

Mc Phie said the business idea was born after having to face the difficulty of finding a reputable service provider to paint her room.

“I returned home in 2014, and it was very difficult to find a person to paint my room. And I needed someone to provide some night care for one of my family members and that was very difficult to find because I had to go through hoops of having to call several people and not ending up with what I wanted, and it was really time-consuming, so I thought what if I had a platform that offered that kind of service? So that is how the idea came about.”

Voutlet is an online company that offers local businesses the opportunity to have an online presence, as well as provides customers with the opportunity to shop online and have their goods delivered. The company’s owner Rendell Pierre said this would revolutionise the way shopping is done in Grenada.

“A customer can visit our website and shop from any store in Grenada and have it delivered straight to your door. The service is free for everyone and delivery is not more than a bus fare. So we are looking at expanding our services to the Caribbean, so we starting in Grenada making sure that we can serve our people, and if the business is successful we can aim to launch our service to the region.”

Pixel Perfect, creators of mobile applications, boasts of being the first app development company in Grenada. Founder Kimani Daniel says this home-grown company has been in operation for over 2 years and has so far created over 6 mobile apps. “We create mobile apps for businesses. We also have our own internal app which we trying to get onto the market to solve problems that Grenadians face every day; because what we realize is that people use their phones for small subset of apps like Facebook and WhatsApp, but we are trying to change that culture by making people realise that they can use their phones for more than just these social apps. For example, with the right app, you can use your phone to find out when the next bus is going to arrive or when is the next event and also purchase your ticket on an app, so we are trying to create these kinds of apps so that people can maximise the use of their mobile devices.”

The expo also showcased companies within the service sector. Take for example TheRightFit another online based company soon to be launched by Lichelle Armstrong, is challenging conventional ways in which parents search for day-care services and educational institutions that are appropriate for their children.

Armstrong says on their website parents will be able to access information on existing educational institutions on the island. She says now that the company is about the launch its service to the public preparations is being made to introduce to this new concept to the general public.

“In terms of marketing, it has been challenging, we are trying to get our schools involved so we need someone that will be able to help us push forward and help us market the schools, I myself am trying to do this on Instagram at our page therightfitgrenada and on Facebook so we are trying to get the idea out there so we can build an audience and at the same time encourage the schools to sign up with us and that in its self can be challenging.”

Entrepreneurs Joan Isaac, Owner of Digital Connections Creative Studio, said the idea of starting her own business came about following the death of her nephew who inspired her to get into the field of creating kid-friendly animations and programming. The company also offer services in digital recording and production.

Isaac says her experience working behind the scene in radio and television has prepared her for this chapter in her career and is now working on developing a children program to instil good morals in children. “One of the programmes we are working on is called young authors where the kids are asked to write a story; because what we want to do is to bring back good moral standards among the youths, so I will give them the topic to write on whether it is on happiness togetherness, sharing and love and they will write a story on that and present it themselves, which will be recorded and suitable animations will be added to it.”

Revolutionising the way in which events are planned, Mekalia Croney terminated her job at Island Catering to pursue her dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Standing by her company slogan ‘Because Life is an Event’ Croney went about setting up her own event management company that takes the hassle out of planning and executing for all types of public and private events.

“I always had an eye for detail, so decoration came naturally to me and so over the years I just enhanced the skill. So apart from weddings, parties, and corporate events and people are familiar with me doing I am now offering new services like event procurement so if someone wants to have an event but are not sure where to source the items needed we are in the business of purchasing items for you.”

Within the light manufacturing industry, a company called Street’s Upcycling Designed has found ways to turn recycled materials in fashion. The company owned by Shireen Street produces a variety of fashion product including locally made handbags, customised shoes, and clothing.

She said a love for nature and protecting the environment has led to the creation of her business. “I have a love for nature and I can be a hoarder because I don’t like to throw away things to pollute the environment, this company started in Trinidad where I use to take artificial plants and mix it with natural plants. I call it “Artinatural” and it started from there and then I went into producing handbags, but I wanted to do it differently so I decided to start making handbags from recycled paper.”

Also into light manufacturing is Marcella Jeremiah of Renee Scentsationz, producers of locally made scented soy candles. At present, Jeremiah is working towards having her products exported and also acknowledges that this will be a challenge.

“I am hoping to take the product outside of Grenada because we need to get our locally made products exported because we have a lot of locally made products, but there is limited opportunity to get our products out. And I am hearing even medium size businesses complaining of the cost of shipping that why I think we need a cooperative so that we can advocate for better shipping rates to get our products exported.”

According to statistics from the Caribbean Development Bank, the Grenadian economy is driven by services, which in 2012 value added accounted for around 83% of GDP, the greatest proportion recorded since pre-1980.

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