16-year-old among female entrepreneurs dreaming big
In the sixth grade, Danielle McIntosh, 16, started a business as part of a special school-based project.
Despite experiencing significant failures, she now has more experience and knowledge, and is eager to grow her brand, Zoanelle Designs, even beyond Jamaica's borders.
The brand, which specialises in jewellery making and distribution, is the not the first of its kind, but McIntosh is optimistic about its growth and sustainability.
"I ended up making a great loss when I attempted this jewellery business in the sixth grade. But this time around, I invested in better beads and ensured my products transitioned from the childish version that I had to a more mature version. My father always told me that if I want to make money, I have to plan to spend it as well," she said.
Though it took four years for McIntosh to make the decision to revamp her business, she said that she still didn't see herself becoming a business owner. But so far, she has no regrets.
"I would like my business to grow to the point where I offer real gold and silver and beads of the highest quality. The biggest difficulty right now is finding the right beads. It doesn't take much time to complete, and this is something I love and will definitely continue. I am looking forward to even offering my products on Amazon," McIntosh said
McIntosh was one of the exhibitors at Sunday's Made in Manchester expo which highlights female business owners in the parish.
Owner of Zesti Haven, Leanna Lowthan, has high expectations of becoming a household name despite being in a saturated market.
"I have a passion for food and health and I felt like God wanted me to work on my skills and talents and use it to spread that word that you can eat well, you can eat fruits and vegetables without sacrificing taste," she said.
With a product line of approximately 30 items, Lowthan said she will be focusing on just two in the early stages, gradually adding additional items as the business progresses.
"We have hummus made from chick peas among other items and that's a Mediterranean spread or dip, and we have a sunflower seed cheese. We don't have a physical location right now, but we have retailers. I want to take my product to all the reaches of Jamaica and abroad," Lowthan added
Motivated by her sweet tooth and Jamaican 'cake doctor' Denise Cargill, young entrepreneur Gabrielle Wright, owner and operator of the cake and pastry brand Glacage, has not only honed her talent in baking over the past few months, but is preparing to be as big as her role model.
"I have always been baking as a Jamaican who, after Sunday dinner, always feel for 'something nice'. I didn't think I would be a business owner, but I soon found that is something I like and it's really good to have multiple streams of income," she said.
Wright encouraged aspiring business owners to take the necessary steps to realise their dreams, despite the naysayers and setbacks.
"Devise a plan, think of what you like and what talents you have in your arsenal and just go for it. Sometimes we stop and think that we don't have this or that and so many other persons are doing the same thing I am doing. But you carry something different to the table. Infuse your personality and just go for it. You never know where it may take you, despite the small beginning," Wright said.