Vincent HoSang Entrepreneurship Programme (VHEP)
The Vincent HoSang Entrepreneurship Programme (VHEP) was established in 2002 at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, through a partnership with Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM) and the Vincent HoSang Family Foundation to assist budding tertiary level student entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to life. Ultimately our goal is to be the premier resource for student entrepreneurs in the Caribbean, equipping them with the resources they need to operate successful businesses.
We are focused on leveraging strategic partnerships along with our innovative Programme to realize the potential of student led business opportunities from the idea stage to becoming small and medium size business success stories.
As the COVID-19 Pandemic has reshaped and given birth to new industries, the need for innovative entrepreneurs with agile skills has never been more critical. This global crisis has highlighted the importance of encouraging students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, in an effort to be more in control of their own careers especially during these uncertain times. The aim of the Vincent HoSang UWI Venture Competition (UWIVC) is to be a part of a larger ecosystem of support and premier resources, for the development of tertiary level student entrepreneurs.
VHEP Managing Committee
- Douglas Lindo - Chairman
- Tamra Thomas - Vincent HoSang Entrepreneurship Programme Coordinator
- Janice Henlin - Director of Marketing
- Ramon McLaren - Lecturer
- Dawn Morgan - Student Services and Alumni Officer
Vincent HoSang Family Foundation (VHFF)
Vincent HoSang is a Jamaican Born Entrepreneur who realized the American Dream by building a highly successful business from the ground up after he migrated to New York from Jamaica in the late 1970s. His story has been aptly documented in his book ‘Change of Fortune’. Being number eight of ten children, Mr. HoSang understood that even though he was from a small island he had the ability to make a huge and lasting impact on the world.
Mr. HoSang’s entrepreneurial journey began in February 1978 when he and his wife Jeannette bought a fast food store known as Kingsbridge Delight in the West Bronx, selling fried chicken, shrimp, ribs, and French fries. In 1980, Sunrise Bakery which was owned by another West Indian, became available. The HoSangs bought it in December 1980 with the intention of making it a full-fledged Jamaican bakery and changed its name to Royal Caribbean Bakery. In 1984, they expanded into a 15,000 sq. ft. facility in the Bronx where Caribbean Food Delights (CFD) was incorporated and became the frozen food division of Royal Caribbean Bakery. The Company at this stage expanded into the wholesale trade. Three years later in 1987, both companies expanded into a 20,000 sq. ft. facility in Mount Vernon, New York. The HoSangs then bought a 73,000 sq. ft. building on 10 acres of property in Tappan, New York in 1993, the home of CFD.
Mr. HoSang established the Vincent HoSang Family Foundation (VHFF) in April 2002 as a means of giving back to the community and educating future entrepreneurs. The foundation funds The UWI as well as the Vincent HoSang UWI Venture Competition (UWIVC) which was also established in 2002. The Foundation is involved in a range of philanthropic projects, such as serving over 4,000 meals to student athletes at the Penn Relays in Pennsylvania each year, and donating US$250,000 to Missionaries of the Poor in Jamaica to build a place of worship, a food pantry, and other community activities.
Today CFD is one of the largest and premier manufacturers of Jamaican frozen food products to the world. Its products are available at Walmart, Sam’s Club, BJ’s, Costco, Price Rite, HEB and Publix, Winn Dixie and Harris Teeter Supermarkets, local grocery stores and Commissaries worldwide. The Company remains rooted in its motto, “Quality is Our Priority” and has received many accolades and awards in this regard, with Mr. HoSang being named the 2019 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
Vincent HoSang UWI Venture Competition (UWIVC)
One of the key components of the VHEP is the Vincent HoSang UWI Venture Competition (UWIVC) which is used as a vehicle to propel ideas into successful businesses. Participants in the Competition go through 6-8 weeks of preparation to include a series of business boot camps, mentorship sessions and pitch training, after which they make a pitch of their business idea which gives them the opportunity to win cash prizes to invest in their company among other awards.
Open to both undergraduate and graduate students at The UWI, Mona, students have a chance to win over a J$1 million in cash and prizes. The Competition is not only about winning prizes, but our approach has been to place a keen emphasis on resilience and determination, by guiding the entrepreneurs on how to adopt a positive growth mindset which has proven to be the real difference between surviving and thriving. As recently designated one of the top 1.5% Universities in the world, the UWI believes a part of our mandate is to produce transformative globally competitive leaders that not only impact bottom lines, but the society as a whole, contributing to improving the lives of others. By entering this Competition, budding students entrepreneurs have signed on to a project that is meant to stimulate their creativity, enhance their professional lives, develop their entrepreneurial skills and drive growth in their communities.
The VHEP Network is made up of esteemed academia, industry experts and thought leaders from both the public and private sectors. This network is one of the many strengths of the Programme, as all stakeholders are committed to promoting and encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset in our students while building world class business leaders.
Our core network also supports the Competition through mentorship, training and capacity building Boot Camps. Over the years, one of the biggest successes of the Programme has been the continued support of and the longstanding relationship we have with our sponsors, particularly Caribbean Food Delights Inc., through the Vincent HoSang Family Foundation who have sponsored the Programme since inception. The VHEP provides an opportunity of a lifetime for our partners to be a part of a Programme that will enable innovation while strengthening our ability to increase competitiveness, trade, promote investment and foster that endemic spirit of entrepreneurship among a very important demographic.
Other Sponsors over the years include longstanding partners: Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority, JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation, Development Bank of Jamaica, Baymac and Mona Entrepreneurial Commercialization Centre (MECC).