Jamaica – EAB’s Pilot Country
EAB Jamaica’s poverty reduction efforts work closely with civil society, private sector, academia and international development partners to achieve the following key initiatives:
- Develop a Sustainable Village founded on the theme of economic self sufficiency
- Improve Educational and Vocational Training
- Support Micro & Small Enterprise
- Scale high impact entrepreneurial organizations
- Implement EAB’s Sustainable Agriculture Program
Attributes of Jamaica Suited to Pilot EAB
- Easy Access – Very active resort and vacation destination provides a number of flight alternatives from multiple U.S. airline hubs.
- English Language – As a former British colony, English is spoken throughout the island, though for those who like language challenges you can also find locals conversing in Patois.
- Entrepreneurial Ethos – Poverty is extreme in many parts of the island, especially as you get beyond the immediate resort areas on the North Coast. Even there is no government provided social safety net, the cultural norm is not one of victimization but instead lots of hustling to do whatever one must do to make a life where there are very limited opportunities for employment.
- Rich and Welcoming Culture – Distinct food, captivating music, art/handicrafts, interesting history, active sports and political scene – add up to a deeper, richer culture here than you will find on other Caribbean islands. Jamaican warmth and optimism is recognized internationally, notwithstanding many personal struggles created by lack of opportunity. All of this creates ample opportunity to explore over multiple visits.
- Internet Access & Smartphone Penetration – Jamaica has one of the lowest price points for mobile internet access in the Caribbean. As smartphone penetration increases, so does the likelihood of ongoing mentor to aspiring entrepreneur contact through email, Skype and social media.
- Compact and Connected Community – With a total land mass slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut and population of about 2.7 million, Jamaica is small enough to easily cover wide ranges of the country and connect relationships having impact that can help. I’ve found access provided by introductions made through the island’s largest international aid non profit has opened many doors and helped build the network of supporting resources.
- Family Visits to Resorts – It is an accepted reality that experienced entrepreneurs are usually able to stay put on a beach resort vacation only for about 1-2 days before wanting to “do something.” Being able to have the family remain on resort premises while entrepreneurs meet and help other entrepreneurs has always been part of what makes this a great pilot location.