Originally published on April 30, 2015 on Forbes.com by Patrick McGinnis.
If Jamaica successfully hacks entrepreneurship for itself, it may also do so for its neighbors, many of which are in similar economic doldrums. As the largest nation in the English-speaking Caribbean, the country is well positioned to serve as a regional hub for ideas, capital, and talent. That idea is not lost on billionaire Richard Branson, who owns an island in the British Virgin Islands. The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship- Caribbean, based in Montego Bay, recently launched an online training platform in order to efficiently expand its program to other islands.
The Branson Centre embraces a broad view of entrepreneurship by fostering innovative business models in technology and also in more traditional sectors such as tourism and agribusiness. This approach appeals not only to local investors, but might also attract capital from the vast Caribbean diaspora that sends remittances back home. “We’ve found that members of the nascent angel community feel comfortable investing in companies that they understand, and where they can use their contacts and their experiences to help scale the company, particularly into new markets outside Jamaica.” says Lisandra Rickards, Entrepreneur Program Manager, “So we encourage entrepreneurs in any industry to pursue scalability and exportability to attract the eye of wealth holders – no matter where they live – who can propel them even further.”