The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) is on a mission to strengthen the small business sector and promote brand Jamaica locally and internationally through its Jamaica 50 initiatives.
As the official merchandising partner for the Jamaica 50 Secretariat and the national agency responsible for fostering small business development, the corporation has been capitalising on the marketing opportunities that will arise from the celebration.
In an interview with JIS News, Executive Director of the JBDC, Harold Davis says that the agency, through its Things Jamaican brand will be promoting brand Jamaica and the products and services of a number of its small businesses specifically in the areas fashion and accessories, aromatheraphy, agro-processed food, wellness products and a whole range of food, confectionery and other items.
"We are looking on how to capitalize on the commercial activities that this Jamaica 50 celebration will bring… we are also looking forward to see how we can contribute to the excitement, the euphoria, the feel good time that it (the celebration) will create," Mr. Davis notes.
He adds that locally, there will be a "retail presence," as all Things Jamaican stores located at the JBDC Corporate Office,14 Camp Road; Devon House; Norman Manley and Sangster International airports; the Marina, Port Antonio; and Norman Manley Boulevard, Negril, will be outfitted with special Jamaica 50 products/memorabilia for sale.
Items will also be available at the Things Jamaican booth at the Jubilee Village which will be set up at Independence Park from August 1 to 6. Overseas, the JBDC team will be involved in several activities in the United Kingdom (UK), aimed at promoting brand Jamaica and Jamaica 50.
"We will be in Birmingham at an event called 'Jamaica in the Square' for ten days and we will be having a complete Things Jamaican shop in that space, which promises to be exciting since that area has a large concentration of our Jamaican diaspora," the Executive Director tells JIS News.
In London, the JBDC will be partnering with Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) in the Jamaica 50 and the 2012 Olympics activities including 'I Love Jamaica day' on August 12. The JBDC will also participate in the Brixton Splash on August 5.
"We are expecting really high traffic in these areas with Jamaican businesses and products on full display through the Things Jamaican brand," Mr. Davis points out.
The feedback, he notes has been very good so far as persons have been enthusiastic and supportive of the Jamaica 50 products that were on sale at the National Trials and the Military Tattoo that took place in June.
'We had a range of products on display at these events such as the pins of pride, Jamaica 50 T-shirts, hats, umbrellas and persons were just excited to get them and to be a part of the celebration", the Executive Director expresses.
In relation to the costs for items, he notes that "we have products in the shops for all price points… persons, who have a $100 or $200 to spend, they can get some form of memorabilia to purchase… those who have a couple thousand dollars to spend, we certainly have something for them as well. There is something for everybody, from the very simple, inexpensive products to the keepsake products… we have it all."
He says that there is a genuine excitement from local shoppers and diaspora communities, who have been making their orders.
"This is a time for us to feel good about Jamaica, to celebrate Jamaica and what better way to celebrate than by supporting our small businesses and quality Jamaican products," the Executive Director states.
He adds that persons may also order items online at thingsjamaicanshopping.com.