Female Entrepreneurs Dominating the Business Landscape in Jamaica

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#POSHgirls Entrepreneurship

Owning and operating your own business is a dream come true for so many. It’s one of the most outstanding achievements and requires passion, determination, and the right resources to make it a reality. As the world celebrates Global Entrepreneurship Week—November 14 to 20, 2022—the highlight is being placed on the innovative minds behind some of the most life-changing enterprises, many of which are owned by trailblazing women.

Approximately one-third of all entrepreneurs globally are female and according to The World Bank, between 8 and 10 million small and medium-sized businesses worldwide have at least one female owner.

In the Caribbean, women make up approximately 30 percent of entrepreneurs, and Jamaican women have definitely been making their mark in the sector. The likes of Monique Powell, Michelle Chong, Anna Palomino, Kimberly Megan, Yanique ‘Curvy Diva’ Barrett, and Kalilah Reynolds are among the most inspirational and impactful entrepreneurs islandwide. Here’s how they’ve set themselves apart as forces to be reckoned with in the business community.

1. Monique Powell – QuickCart

When Monique Powell realized the need for a streamlined way by which people could order food from restaurants and have it delivered to them, she invented the e-commerce and logistics company QuickCart, formerly known as QuickPlate.

Powell used her expertise in the fields of marketing and communications to make QuickCart a success. With a certificate in Project Management and a Bachelor of Sciences in Management Studies, both obtained from the University of the West Indies, and having worked with entities such as The Gleaner Company, Digicel, and Scotiabank, she was well equipped to branch out on her own.

Powell was the regional marketing manager at Scotiabank when she realized she had little time to even prepare food at home and would often resort to ordering out, specifically pizza. It was then that the Kingstonian decided to try her hands at something else, something of her own.

Founded in March 2016, QuickCart is based in the capital city, Kingston. It is the leading food and delivery company in Jamaica, connecting over 60 restaurants with customers who now benefit from access to a variety of food options made available through one application.

Although getting her business off the ground wasn’t easy, Powell is enjoying the fruit of her labour. QuickCart’s Instagram page boasts over 10,000 followers, kept up to date with a delectable food post each week. On her personal page, Powell hosts a little over 300 followers where she lets everyone in on the fact that she loves to unwind, particularly in the countryside.

2.  Michelle Chong – Honey Bun (1982) Ltd

credit: About Her Culture

The name, Honey Bun Ltd, is renowned in Jamaica’s food industry. In operation since 1982, the company was co-founded by Michelle Chong alongside her husband, Herbert Chong, and is the fastest-growing wholesale bakery in Jamaica.

A graduate of York University in Canada, Chong attained a Bachelor of Arts degree. Among her many achievements, she was CVM TV’s Business Woman of the Year in 2020. She is presently the CEO of Honey Bun Ltd and the Honey Bun Foundation, providing valuable mentorship to small to medium-sized businesses.

Honey Bun distributes packaged pastries and baked snacks islandwide, as well as, internationally to the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The bakery is famous for products such as its cinnamon roll, goldie, and shorty loaf bread. Starting out with only 12 employees over 30 years ago, Honey Bun Ltd now employs over 400 people with an Instagram following of over 14,000.

3.   Anna Palomino – The Money Societe

@annathemoneycoach

Anna Palomino may be young but she has quite the impact. At 29 years of age, she is one of the most respected and highly sought-after independent personal finance coaches in Jamaica. Where did she receive the know-how to guide her over 525 clients thus far? The ‘serial entrepreneur’, as she refers to herself, was a Financial Advisor at Sagicor Life Jamaica. Prior, she obtained a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Degree at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.

Through The Money Societe, the Kingstonian teaches her clients how to become financially free by providing coaching that involves specific steps curtailed to each member’s desired goals. It is her success in this area along with her bubbly and authentic personality that keeps her over 18,000 Instagram followers transfixed on what she has to say—most recently, that ‘wealth whispers’.

Palomino is the author of two books, The Big Bad Book of Everything (Things You Should Have Learned In High School But Didn’t) and My Amazing Book of Everything (Finance for Kids). The wealth coach and speaker also has a YouTube channel—Anna Novia—home to over 25,000 subscribers. There, she educates on finance while sharing spontaneous moments of her life, such as her exciting trip to Medellín, Colombia.

4.   Kimberly Megan – Shoeaholic Boutique

@kimberly_megan

Kimberly Megan’s thriving business may flaunt the head-turning name Shoeaholic Boutique but this enterprise offers far more than the latest and most stylish footwear. Available as well are eye-catching and unique jewelry and classy apparel that can be purchased from the Shoeaholic Boutique online store.

The 41-year-old hails from Kingston and attended Merl Grove High School. She is the wife of Dancehall icon, Aidonia, rising to fame in 2016 after she and the popular deejay tied the knot. Now married for 6 years, the Yeah Yeah singer’s beautiful bride has built a stellar brand of her own, confirmed by the almost 27,000 people who follow Shoeaholic on Instagram. Not to mention, the 87,000 who keep up with the fashion maven on her personal profile.

5.   Yanique ‘Curvy Diva’ Barrett – Dining With Curvy

@yaniquecurvydiva

For Yanique Barrett, popularly known as Curvy Diva, the sky is the limit. She was introduced to many Jamaicans on television as the sassy and curvaceous host of Magnum Kings & Queens of Dancehall, a TV talent show that sought to unearth the next male and female dancehall superstars. As the show was winding down—before coming to a close in 2018—the now 37-year-old stunned Jamaicans with just how versatile she is as an entertainer.

It began with the release of her hit single, Lifestyle, in 2017, and in 2020, she introduced Jamaicans to another side of her, her passion project and a foodie’s dream, the pop-up kitchen and delivery service, Dining with Curvy Diva Series that has since evolved into the highly esteemed Dining With Curvy restaurant, located on Dunrobin Avenue, in Kingston.

Dining With Curvy opened its doors in 2021 with her second passion project, Dining With Curvy Express, opening on Constant Spring Road in 2022. The former boasts over 50,000 followers on Instagram with over 1,000 for the latter. Barrett, on the other hand, is one of the most popular Jamaican celebrities on the platform with 1.6 million followers.

If it’s one thing the Curvy Diva has taught us it’s to never underestimate her or place her in a box. After all, the former Northern Caribbean University attendee had her sights set on becoming a lawyer when she was younger, and before that, a nurse.

6.   Kalilah Reynolds – Kalilah Reynolds Media (KRM)

kalilahreynolds.com

Kalilah Reynolds, born Kalilah Antonette Enríquez, grew up in Belize and presently resides in Kingston, Jamaica. Her career in media began in her homeland, in 2005, where she was a radio host on KREM Radio’s Wake Up Belize Morning Vibes. In 2010, she earned her master’s degree in Communication Studies at the University of the West Indies Mona Campus and shortly after, became a broadcast journalist/reporter for CVM TV.

An award-winning business and finance journalist, the 39-year-old launched her company Kalilah Reynolds Media in 2020. Through KRM, she educates the masses on the financial market; topics as light as budgeting and as in-depth as investment instruments such as stocks, bonds, and cryptocurrency.

Kalilah Reynolds Media is home to the power trio, Money Moves Ja, Money Mondays Ja, and Taking Stock, available for viewing on her YouTube channel which educates her over 37,000 subscribers, just a few thousand less than the 47,000 who keep up with the ‘Money Queen’ on Instagram.

Brianna Vernon

Brianna Vernon is a published journalist and editor, covering trending topics in entertainment, global news, and fashion. With over five years worth of experience in the industry, Brianna writes for several international blogs including Caribbean POSH, Her Bones, The Middle Land, and Dancehall Mag. Brianna is also a radio producer and broadcaster at one of Jamaica's most prominent radio stations, Mello FM. It is through her love for journalism that she uses her experience in media to bridge the gap between readers and the affairs of the world.