BizSuccess Today

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BizSuccess Today: Headstart Accelerator and Coworking Space

Mandeville, JamaicaMandeville, Jamaica
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The HeadStart Business Accelerator and Coworking space aims to raise the success rates of startups in Mandeville, Jamaica and increase the level of employment for youth and women. It will do this through training and development, fundraising and the creation of a vibrant startup eco-system.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if startups had all the resources needed to succeed and the rate of success were 80%?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

80% of new businesses fail within the first three years because of lack of planning, no product market fit, lack of financing among others. The economy of Manchester took a nose dive when the bauxite industry folded in 2009. Since then unemployment has increased as many businesses folded and new graduates have few job prospects. Many persons tried to start businesses but have failed for some of the same reasons mentioned above.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

HeadStart business accelerator and coworking space intends to provide the environment in which startups can launch successfully. The Accelerator provides a thirteen week program using the Lean Start-up methodology. This methodology has entrepreneurs validating their ideas before launch. During the program participants will have access to a workspace, computers,internet, training and other support services. The space will also house entrepreneurs who provide professional services such as accounting, marketing and graphic services. The centre will also host training for entrepreneurs already in business.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Small businesses are born most often because the founder has a passion for something. Take for example Keilia who has a passion for baking. When Keilia started out she was only interested in baking sweet treats that people loved. She soon discovered that she needed to know about pricing , purchasing, accounting, packaging, marketing all things she has no knowledge or experience in nor did she have an inclination for. Having a access to a space like HeadStart will give her the coaching and mentoring as well as the support services necessary for her to grow her business. It will also give her the opportunity to network and collaborate with like minded people. Very soon her business could expand and start hiring people.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

A pilot of the program was conducted between September and December 2014 with six young people who had ideas for starting businesses. The program gave them a much greater appreciation of what was required to run a business. They are now a varying stages of completing their business plans to seek funding.It is hoped that there will be three cohorts of fifteen persons each year and over a 5 year period 225 persons. If 80% of the cohorts result in viable businesses who each employ an average of 5 persons, the project would have generated a minimum of 900 additional jobs. The impact on existing businesses would also focus on expansion and by extension job creation. The idea is to take the model and deploy it across Jamaica.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Once the model has been validated it is hoped that it can be replicated in other towns in Jamaica. A model will be developed where like minded individuals can start similar hubs in collaboration with BizSuccess Today. The curriculum will be the same and we will train trainers to execute. The desired impact will be a very strong and robust small business sector, higher rate of employment and a stronger economy.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We estimate that we will need 2500 sq ft space. The major cost associated with running the space will be rent, utilities and maintenance cost. We hope to rent offices to professionals as well as conference and meeting rooms. These should cover the entire cost of maintaining the space.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are two other organisations who target small business owners. Jamaica Business Development organisation a government run entity who works with SBO on a consultative basis. The other is The Morris Entrepreneurship Centre which also provides consultation and business planning services . BizSuccess differs in its program offering and the fact that there are resident professionals to support start ups. Participants will be able to work from the hub and benefit from peers.