Organisers of New Fortress Energy's entrepreneurship workshops, held March 26, are happy that the events attracted more than 250 participants who received sound investment advice from experts — among them Danny Warshay, executive director of the Jonathan M Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship at Brown University.
The events opened with two interactive sessions at the Mona School of Business & Management (MSBM). Among the student participants were the two winners of the National Business Model Competition — Kevonne Martin and Shani Bennett. Educators from several universities participated as well, as did MSBM executives Dr Maurice McNaughton, entrepreneurship lecturer; Minna Israel, special advisor to the vice chancellor on resource development; and Dr David McBean, executive director.
The third workshop, held at Jamaica Pegasus hotel, featured a plenary session, round-table discussions and networking sessions, where the participants seized the opportunity to engage, and in some cases pitch their start-up ideas to, Professor Warshay; Sandra Glasgow, founding member of FirstAngelsJa; and Audrey Richards, venture capital consultant at Development Bank of Jamaica.
Making the point that bottom-up research is the most critical skill in the entrepreneurial process, Warshay emphasised that research has shown that the top two reasons start-ups fail are “one, ignoring customers, and two, no market need”, despite the fact that most people believe cash or lack of funding was the number one reason.
Citing examples from global brands like Procter and Gamble, Warshay gave actionable and practical advice to the participants, urging them to employ the right type of research in their start-up ventures, which includes listening empathetically and observing anthropologically, rather than simply relying on focus groups, surveys and feedback, all of which can produce biased and emotionally driven responses.