Project Description

Consulting firm continues its goodwill program in partnership with RetailROI to support economic opportunities in Jamaica.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA, UNITED STATES, October 26, 2022 / — The Parker Avery Group, a leading retail and consumer goods consulting firm, recently concluded its second iteration of an entrepreneur development program in the Clarendon parish of Jamaica.

Since early 2021, Parker Avery has been actively involved in supporting the Retail Orphan Initiative (RetailROI), a charity founded by retail veterans that seeks to improve the lives of orphans and children throughout the globe. Parker Avery’s Jamaican Entrepreneur Development Initiative (JEDI) Challenge is an extension of RetailROI that focuses on students and recent graduates of Jamaica’s Clarendon College (a high school in Chapelton, Jamaica).

In partnership with the Fergus Simpson Foundation and the high school, the mission of the JEDI Challenge is to promote economic opportunities and revenue growth by supporting young Jamaican businesspeople.  The challenge is an eight-week-long class delivered by Parker Avery consultants that covers essential elements of a business plan.  There is no cost for the students to participate, but they are required to meet strict criteria, and participants must commit time and focus to complete all course modules as well as rigorous weekly homework. Six candidates were selected each of the past two years.

The JEDI Challenge culminates with each participant (aka “JEDI”) delivering a 45-minute presentation of their business to a group of judges. Like the popular show, Shark Tank, the panel of judges asks questions and then scores the businesses based on a pre-defined scoring methodology, which considers all elements of the business plans, as well as the JEDIs’ participation throughout the course. This year, the final presentations were conducted live at Clarendon College as well as streamed for remote judges. Two consultants from Parker Avery traveled to Jamaica to meet the JEDIs and manage the finals. Based on the scoring results and assessment of the businesses, The Parker Avery Group awarded tiered funding to the fledgling businesses.

Our hope is that other companies want to get involved to further the reach of this program to other areas of Jamaica and even globally.

— Robert Kaufman, CEO

“I was fortunate this year to participate as an instructor for the JEDI Challenge,” said Parker Avery’s CEO Robert Kaufman. “The tenacity of these students as they navigated floods, precarious internet connectivity and technology, as well as other obstacles just to participate in the program was remarkable.  I was even more impressed by the quality of their final business plans and presentations, the latter delivered under what most Americans would consider less-than-ideal circumstances.”

This year’s JEDI Challenge participant businesses included a soap manufacturer, a healthy candy company, a poultry farm, a jewelry maker, a custom crochet business, and a lip gloss company.  Three of the participants had already started their businesses and were seeking to expand their reach or enhance their operations.  The top award was granted to the candy company and the poultry farm.