JBDC Guides Entrepreneur through New Business

Story Highlights

  • Blessed with the gift of inspiration through writing, Garry Parrish of Garry’s Concept was able to formulate a new business, with the help of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).
  • Previously the owner of a restaurant, Mr. Parrish would inscribe inspirational quotes of his own on the menu board in his restaurant.
  • Small businesses provide for wealth creation and employment. Approximately 80 per cent of the employment in Jamaica is provided by micro, small and medium-size enterprises.

Blessed with the gift of inspiration through writing, Garry Parrish of Garry’s Concept was able to formulate a new business, with the help of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).

Previously the owner of a restaurant, Mr. Parrish would inscribe inspirational quotes of his own on the menu board in his restaurant. His messages caught the eyes of many persons, with one woman prophetically telling him that he would be spreading his messages not just locally, but overseas.

Mr. Parrish would later approach the JBDC for help with a new business idea. He was encouraged to put his unique inspirational quotes on aprons, plaques and refrigerator magnets, among other things. The quotes and Jamaican proverbs soon birthed the label, ‘Granny Seh’.

“The JBDC has catapulted me.  Persons from overseas would see my product in the airport and call me and tell me that they purchased one,” a beaming Mr. Parrish tells JIS News.

A finalist in the JBDC’s Entrepreneur of the Year for 2013/2014, Mr. Parrish is amazed at his achievement. However, he notes that he has put in a considerable amount of hard work to reach this far.

A highlight of his multifaceted small business career was the opportunity to showcase his material at the Christmas in July Expo, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, on July 24.

The expo saw some 80 local producers of authentic Jamaican gift and souvenir items showcasing their products and networking with corporate entities and various industry players in the tourism sector.

Mr. Parrish says several persons were impressed by the product he was offering.

“I was placed in new territory. There were persons from Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and different organisations screening products. Based on the product I presented, persons from JIPO and the JTB  were impressed,” he tells JIS News.

As a result of that event, the former restaurateur was able to connect with persons from all over the island and establish formidable partnerships.

“The Communications Director from the tax department (Tax Administration Jamaica) introduced me to several other members of staff at the head office when I took aprons to her,” Mr. Parrish says.

He tells JIS News that this contact and encouraging words gave him more confidence to push his business, as they were impressed by the quality of the aprons made from bandana and calico materials.

Interest in his product continues to grow, with places such as Fontana Pharmacy and the My Jamaica/Sun Island store having his product on sale.

Mr. Parrish tells JIS News he is optimistic that as the Christmas season approaches, sales will increase.

Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the JBDC, Harold Davis, says his agency worked with Mr. Parrish for a while, in order to make sure he had a well-structured business.

“We made sure his product was up to international standard, tweaking here and there, and that he had the branding structure (right). A presence in our Things Jamaican stores provides direct revenue to the client,” he adds.

“Mr. Parrish is an excellent example of the kind of fulsome support you get from the JBDC – business support to product development support to market access support,” Mr. Davis tells JIS News.

The Deputy CEO says the agency is just making sure that he maximises his full potential.

Mr. Davis is encouraging persons wishing to enter into business, to talk with the JBDC first.

“Let us guide you as to whether that business is ready to be started. Sometimes you have an idea and you may need to work on it a little bit more before you venture into starting the business itself. Let’s help you structure it and manoeuvre through it,” he advises.

Small businesses provide for wealth creation and employment. Approximately 80 per cent of the employment in Jamaica is provided by micro, small and medium-size enterprises.

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