Recently I read a post on LinkedIn titled “We need our brightest people working on our biggest problem “. The post was written by Bill Gates, who made reference to his foundation and their fight to eradicate polio and other global diseases .
Problems are opportunities disguised! Living in Jamaica, we can all relate to problems/ issues that militate against our productivity & efficiency. Depending on your perspective, Jamaica’s problems present opportunities for us to make a difference – while making a profit.
The main problem areas
1.High Unemployment & Low Production – opportunities for reducing unemployment & increasing production of goods & services are available in several emerging industries. Areas such as ‘medical marijuana’, ‘health tourism’, ‘sports tourism’, ‘Business process outsourcing’, ‘music production’, ‘Art & craft’ are showing great potential. Jamaica’s highly skilled, yet largely unemployed labour force is providing the impetus for greater investment (outsourcing – business processing, research, animation, graphics design, web development etc.).
2. Education – Education that creates producers not consumers. Education related to independent thinking, business & personal development, cash flow, personal finances and health is a great area of opportunity.
3. Health – Obesity is an insidious problem, related in some ways to a lack of education and indiscipline. Hypertension along with other life style diseases posed a significant problem for our people. According to a World Bank study, 60% of Jamaicans aged 35 to 54 were either overweight or obese. This same study also found that approximately 70% of Jamaican women were overweight, 80% of whom were in the 35-54 age group. Several drugs & medications are prescribed for mitigating the impact of these illnesses but the opportunity for entrepreneurs lie in the prevention of these alignments (Prevention better than cure). A few local companies have started exploiting the business of keeping people healthy & fit, but we still have a far way to go – more opportunities to exploit
4. Energy – we should continue to strive for a solar energy future. As solar panels become cheaper (Solar panel prices down 80%), we should start positioning our country to benefit fully from solar energy – more creative thinking is need to provide affordable solar energy solutions to Jamaicans. Currently most Jamaicans don’t have the wherewithal to install solar energy solutions – what can we do to change this? There is also potential to create employment through conservation & environmentally friendly initiatives.
5. Lack of data for decision makers – This area is under my purview and at Balcostics Ltd we provide research solutions that we hope will make information more affordable & accessible. Yet, we still have a far way to go – more opportunities abound in this field.
6. Inadequate water harvesting & storage – this is evident from Jamaica’s annual island-wide drought problems. In short, the National Water Commission (NWC) needs a competitor!
7. Slow Justice system – recently another US report criticized the sad state of Jamaica’s justice system. What if anything could new graduates & senior legal professionals who are unsatisfied with the status quo do to improve this situation? The ‘so called’ problem of ‘too many lawyers’ will hopefully provide the impetus needed to change the Justice system for the better.
Therefore, which of these problems will you make your mission? Which of these areas can you make just a little better? Which of these issues are you passionate about?
Do you have any to add? Please share in the comments below
Luwayne Thomas (Co-Founder, Balcostics Ltd.)
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