Commentary Jamaica Magazine

The Jamaican 1% – CEO’S/Entrepreneurs/Tech Gurus ????

Written by JaneNina Buchanan

How has Jamaica become the land of Entrepreneurs/CEO’S yet almost 20% of the population live below the poverty line?

Who are the 1% in Jamaica?     Spend a few minutes surfing the net and you will soon see just how many Jamaicans are self appointed “CEO’s and Entrepreneurs”. If we believed every title we’d be led to think we were reading a Zug phone book!

In the States,when you apply for a job corporations now investigate your resume. Everything from your college grade point to the reasons why and when you left each employer. On top of that many will random drug test and check your financial returns. Even if you are applying for the most humble of roles. This has led to the level of accountability within the professional community. There’s no margin of error for the words CEO to slip on ones resume if it can’t be backed up with fiscal returns and a corporate office address.
Jamaica has become the juxtaposition to this transparency. When job prospects declined there was a tsunami of interest to become an “Entrepreneur”. I know few in Jamaica who want to, nor ever have, ‘worked for the man’.  I often hear the term ‘slave driver’ being used when I show potential candidates corporate job prospects in Caricom. The same people who urge folks to ‘start your own business’ are the same parasites who are afforded the luxury to live off a family member or get wires from abroad.

I applaud true entrepreneurs and their spirit to risk their assets and reputation day after day to get results. I would support any of them to go for their goals. But first objectives have to be founded on solid experience. Where are all these self proclaimed Jamaican “CEOs/Entrepreneurs” getting their knowledge since few I’ve seen have ever had staff experience with any major brand? Let alone be familiar with corporate responsibilities and fiscal reporting? Yet they preach and teach, blind leading blind.

Tech is the biggest area for this “Get Rich Quick/Be Your Own Boss” scam. It’s a huge concern to me; So many new “Tech Guru’s/Awards/Social Media” experts, it’s become the arena for snake oil salesman. All of these “CEO’s” but I don’t see that any of them have the experience or true corporate knowledge. But people so badly want to believe and the circle jerks of flossing continues but there’s rarely revenue and certainly no recognition from any credible foreign market.

Few foreign technology talents who have real authority have been invited to host workshops, why? Just a handful of ‘consultants’ and more ‘self employed’ folks are in the mix to ‘teach’. The money in Tech is such that talented people tend to work for hearty salaries and seductive perks for the major brand leaders (if they are good!). Those that are ‘consultants’ I would even be so bold to say are folks who’ve never been invited to be a staffer.  Plus, outside of the corporate arena it’s tough to keep ahead of the curve as they aren’t Beta testing with deep pockets. So who are people in Yaad learning from? Would you learn carpentry from someone who can put together a jolly nice IKEA unit?

Is it now time to be realistic and have better expectations for our workforce? Have a level of accountability and transparency? Find modern solutions to gain credibility for all of these “Entrepreneurs/CEOs”, it’s all rather Kings New Clothes. (Webinars for schools and groups hosted by major corporate global brands on a variety of platforms could be one idea). If we don’t Jamaica will fall so far behind as more an more corporations don’t choose Jamaicans for their workforce as so few have worked for ‘the man’ or are credible in their claims and like it or not it is important to be able to reap the corporate dollar.

About:
Jane Nina Buchanan, Owner stooshpr.com. Originally from Liverpool, England she started her career as producer and presenter of the SONY award winning show “Streetlife” on the BBC. From radio she moved on to television with seasons as Entertainment Producer for the network Granada TV show,”This Morning” and later “Jameson Tonight” on Sky TV. Headhunted from Sky TV by Sir Bob Geldof and Lord Waheed Alli company at 25yrs old, she was appointed the position of US Producer for Planet 24 Productions. Based out of NYC she coordinated and produced all US strands for the controversial show “The Word” and later, Channel 4’s “The Big Breakfast”.
When Planet 24 relocated to LA to produce the successful “Survivor” reality show, Jane decided to make NYC her home and continues to live and work in the media. She has held staff positions at New Video Group/Docurama (Home Video arm of A&E/The History Channel), Disney Theatrical (Lion King,, Mary Poppins and Phil Collins’ Tarzan) Maxim Magazine/Dennis Publishing, and Bad Boy Entertainment with Sean P.Diddy Combs.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Jamaicans.com

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JaneNina Buchanan