Advice from Jamaican Entrepreneurs: Jamellia Blythe




Name: Jamellia Blythe
Age: In early 30s
Name of business: High Flyer Tutoring Service
Your job title: Manager
Age at which you started business: 28

What do you think is the most important trait in a successful entrepreneur?

You have to be passionate and resilient. You have to reinvent, try and find other solutions to things as they arise; because as the boss, the buck stops with you.

Identify one hardship that you experienced while building your business and how you overcame that.

Because our model is not recognised by them, and they don’t have a category for us, we are not registered with the Ministry of Education. We need to have a tutor service registry. The MOE must include other models that have to do with mobility, not brick-and-mortar. So our credibility is really based on our reputation and the results we get with our students.

Describe one moment in which you felt immense pride in your accomplishment as entrepreneur.

I had a client who had a very quiet girl child. She attended public school and never spoke in class. She came to me in the evenings. The teacher asked her father to get her assessed, and the father was livid about it. The child that he was describing based on what the teacher said … I got a different child coming to me in the evenings. Clearly, something was different. Then he asked if I could homeschool her. I did for a year, and that father said it was the best thing he had ever done for her, was to move her to homeschool. She got space to ask questions, be herself, had nobody to shut her down. We went outside to learn about roots, for example, and she was comfortable while learning. Having one-on-one gave her the chance to feel appreciated, to not e ridiculed, to ask questions … Her average was in the 50s, and when I was done working with her, she got into Merl Grove High. It proves that individual attention does help.

How important were family/connections/relationships to your work’s success?

Support is very important. Not everybody will believe in your ideas – including friends and family, but you do need a support system. Find fellow entrepreneurs, like-minded people. For me, most of my siblings work in public education, marine biology … so at first, they were like, do that part-time. Then they realised that I had the potential and ability to do it.

What advice would you give to youth considering starting entrepreneurial ventures in Jamaica?

You have to have passion. There will be a lot of down times, especially in the initial stage, depending on the industry that they’re in.

For the picture: Why did you choose this pic and what does it say about you?

Because the support team was fellow women entrepreneurs. The person who did the makeup was a friend (Latoya Ford from D Empress Makeup Studio). The photographer was female. Too often, in business, women don’t support each other. The men have a boy’s club mentality, so we need to be more unified. It takes a team to build a dream.

Be sure to leave your comments below. See responses from other Jamaican entrepreneurs here .