From reggae to riches: Levi Roots story to be made into movie

He found fame and fortune after appearing on the small screen and securing an investment for his Reggae Reggae sauce on Dragons’ Den, but now Levi Roots has inspired leading British film-makers to tell his extraordinary story on the big screen.

Meg Leonard and Nick Moorcroft, writer-producers of some of the UK’s most successful independent films, are planning a film for cinematic release to tell Roots’ story: how he went from a child in Jamaica who was too poor to buy shoes and could not read and write when he emigrated to Britain aged 11, was later sentenced to nine years in prison for drugs offences, to turning his life around, and building a Caribbean food and drink empire worth £35m following his appearance on Dragons’ Den.

Moorcroft said it would be a “life-affirming tale of hopes, dreams and second-chances, all set to an uplifting reggae soundtrack and bathed in Caribbean sunshine”. It will be filmed next spring in Jamaica, as well as Britain, particularly around Roots’ home in Brixton, south London.

Roots, a musician and chef, told the Guardian that being immortalised on screen is overwhelming: “It’s ‘fab-ilicious’, which is that sweet point between fabulous and delicious … It’s amazing.”

He was selling his homemade sauce at Notting Hill Carnival when he was talent-spotted for the Dragons’ Den in 2007. After serenading the dragons with his guitar, he whetted appetites for his sauce, securing a £50,000 investment from Peter Jones. The Reggae Reggae brand now has more than 50 products.

Leonard and Moorcroft – with producer James Spring – are building on the success of films such as Fisherman’s Friends – based on the true story of singing Cornish fishermen starring James Purefoy – which has so far grossed £7.2m in the UK alone, ahead of its forthcoming worldwide release. Finding Your Feet, their romantic comedy starring Timothy Spall, made £5.85m in the UK and $18m worldwide. Most home-grown independent films pale against such figures.

Although their new film is a comedy drama, it will show Roots’ tough life, from extreme poverty to violence. Like many of the Windrush generation, he grew up in Brixton at a time of political and social unrest, and was arrested during the 1980s riots. He found success as a reggae artist – singing “Happy Birthday Mr President’ to Nelson Mandela – but his music career was cut short by his time in prison. He describes this as his high point, because he turned his life around there, after “going in a very bad boy”. He converted to Rastafarianism and came up with the idea of a jerk sauce inspired by his grandmother’s Caribbean cooking.

2011 high court case in which he was accused of stealing his “secret recipe”from a former friend was his lowest point, he says. “I was the most famous black man in the country that didn’t kick a ball or run fast. I thought everything was amazing and I could relax … Then one of my mates threw a spanner in the works.”

Most painful was disappointing his beloved mother and the Caribbean community, who were so proud of him: “Her son was in court … My world came crumbling down. Maybe I should have said that I tried to ‘recapture’ my grandmother’s flavours… [rather than] ‘her recipe’. Then the judge said this is not a recipe that you can actually protect. He believed it was my work that created the sauce and the brand.That’s why I walked away with victory.”

Leonard described Roots as the “embodiment of triumph over adversity”. “It’s a classic redemptive tale, and so relevant.”

Despite difficult chapters, his story will be told as a comedy “because it’s life itself”, Roots said: “You have to laugh at yourself. I would love it to show the warts and all.”

He would like an unknown actor to play him on screen, and might take a cameo role – “maybe a bumbling takeaway shop owner who never has anything on the menu,” he laughs.

Written by: Dalya Alberge

Original Article found here


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Source: Caribbean News

Karting puts Jamaica’s Beckham Toupikov 3rd

Jamaica and sports go hand in hand.  In like manner, what we are seeing these days is Jamaica expanding our sporting prowess and going into many non-traditional types of events. Be that as it may, not only are we entering the events and competitions, but we are also medaling and creating records and history at the same time. ‘You just don’t expect to see Jamaica in this sport’, is a statement of the past.  We are in everything, and best of all, everything is within us. 

The black, green and gold stamp is now firmly on Karting. We have turned a tourist and amusement park pull into one of our national sporting events. We have a national body for the sport in the Jamaica Millennium Motoring Club (JMMC). Subsequently, we are invited internationally to compete and represent the flag. The JMMC has a great team which supports their drivers where ever they compete. 

Karting Today

In the same fashion, today we report on Jamaican representative Beckham Toupikov who continues to improve after stepping up in class. Competing in his fourth ever Mini race at the Spring/Summer Series Race #3 event held at Ocala Gran Prix in Florida on May 11th.

Accordingly, Beckham started off his weekend by qualifying 5th in the Mini Swift class. Under those circumstances, he then lowered his lap time by over a second to finish 3rd in the Pre-Final. This was over six seconds behind the winner. For this reason, in the final, he again dropped his lap time, finishing 3rd by just over one second.

JMMC has expect their congratulations to Beckham for his

Consequently, besides Karting, the JMMC supports motorsports such as drag racing, circuit racing, sprints, dexterity tests, and rallies. To learn more about the club and to become a member, check out their website at


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Source: Caribbean News

Jamaica Appoints New Honorary Consul in Philadelphia, USA

The Government of Jamaica has appointed veteran banker, Christopher Chaplain, as the new Honorary Consul to the State of Pennsylvania in the United States of America. The announcement was made by Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Sen. the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith on Monday, April 29.

Chaplain, who replaces the late Dr. Alston Meade, has extensive banking experience in Jamaica and the United States and has worked for premier financial institutions in both countries. He is a Senior Associate of Opportunity Finance Network and co-owner of the New York-based public relations firm Hard Beat Communications.

“Mr. Chaplain has a solid track record in serving Jamaica’s interest overseas. He brings to this post a wealth of experience, and will no doubt bring a vibrant and renewed energy to the execution of consular duties in Pennsylvania and increased engagement with the Diaspora in that part of the United States,” said the Foreign Minister.

In response to the new post, Chaplain noted, “I am greatly honoured that the Government of Jamaica, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, has seen it fit to appoint me to this very important position. It is a position in which I am strongly committed to serving Jamaica’s interests in the state of Pennsylvania.” Chaplain is a member of the Mayor’s Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs for the City of Philadelphia. He also received the Award of Excellence from the African and Caribbean Business Council for his leadership in the African and Caribbean community during the 2010 US Census.

He is the founder of the Canada Hall Scholarship Fund and the founding president of the St. George’s College Old Boys Association of the Northeast.
Mr. Chaplain holds a BSc. in Industrial Engineering from The University of the West Indies (St. Augustine) and an MBA from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He has been married for 26 years, to Margaret and the couple has two sons.


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Source: Caribbean News

Health Minister Opens Paediatric Cardiac Centre at Children’s Hospital

Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, has officially opened a new multi-million dollar state-of-the-art Paediatric Cardiac Centre at the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

The centre currently offers treatment and surgeries for children living with congenital heart defects. It is the only one of its kind in Jamaica, and it is complete with a 10-bed intensive care unit and a state-of-the-art biplane catheterisation lab.

The opening ceremony for the facility took place on Monday (April 15), on the grounds of the hospital, in Kingston.

Dr. Tufton said the centre will make a major difference in the lives of children who suffer from congenital heart defects.

“We have a responsibility to the next generation, and this demonstrates our commitment to carrying out that responsibility. There are about 400 or so children who are born in Jamaica with congenital heart-related diseases. Of that number, some 200 require some sort of surgical intervention. We have a waiting list of close to 200 currently in the country, so this facility is a response to that,” the Minister said.

He said one major goal within the first year after the official opening is to deliver a minimum of 100 heart surgeries inside the facility.

Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (right), hugs Dr. Venice Guntly-McKenzie (second right), inside the new Paediatric Cardiac Centre which was officially opened at the Bustamante Hospital for Children on Monday (April 15). With them are Senior Medical Officer, Bustamante Hospital for Children, Dr. Michelle-Ann Richards (left); and Chief Executive Officer, Sagicor Bank, Chorvelle Johnson.

“We’re going to be building that up until we get to the stage where we can satisfy the demand [for heart surgeries] that exist,” he added.

He also thanked the donors: Shaggy Make a Difference, Digicel Group, Digicel Foundation, Chain of Hope, Sagicor Group Jamaica, Rotary Club, National Health Fund and individual donors, for contributions they have made to the construction and equipment.

“Their contribution on this journey is unquestionable. In fact, we wouldn’t be here without them,” the Minister said.

He also noted that the Government and donors are currently paying the cost for the surgeries, which can cost families approximately US$5,500 for surgery for children or US$2,000 for other procedures that are offered at the paediatric cardiac centre.

“We don’t charge for surgeries currently. We’re asking for contributions, because that’s what it costs us and our partners,” Dr. Tufton said.

He said the Ministry of Health will continue to put strategies in place that prevent children from suffering from congenital heart defects.

“It’s in keeping with our thrust to not only push prevention, but there are so many cases when prevention is not sufficient. In this instance, our young kids who are born with these conditions need curative measures, and we have a duty to provide that,” the Minister said.

Original Article Found Here


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Source: Caribbean News

Bond 25: James Bond’s 25th Film Launched in Jamaica

James Bond or 007, the iconic fictional character that was created in the 1950s in Jamaica, has returned to the island for its 25th film: Bond 25.

“Bond 25” was officially launched on Thursday, April 25 via a live stream on the official James Bond Twitter account, which featured Director Cary Fukunaga, Producer Barbara Broccoli and James Bond himself (Daniel Craig). Many of the cast and crew are currently in Ocho Rios, Jamaica at the GoldenEye Resort, the villa where James Bond creator, Ian Flemming wrote all 13 Bond novels.

The producers and director revealed that at the beginning of Bond 25, 007 is not on active duty. He’s doing what most people do when they’re hiding out in Jamaica: just trying to have a relaxing vacation. No title has been released for the film yet, but it was revealed that Bond 25 will be Daniel Craig’s final time playing the character.

Aside from Jamaica, filming locations include Italy, Norway, and London, with studio production based at Pinewood Studios outside London. Bond 25 is due out April 8, 2020.

Speaking on the return of the famous character to the island, Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett said that showcasing Jamaica once more in such an iconic franchise as James Bond will have an impact on Jamaica’s tourism industry, providing enormous eternal marketing for the island.

History of James Bond in Jamaica

Ian Flemming

Jamaica has been heavily involved in all things Bond since the creation of the character in 1953. Not only were all the novels written on the island, but the first ever Bond film Dr. No. (1962) along with Live and Let Die (1973) were filmed in Jamaica. The Goldeneye estate, adjacent to James Bond Beach, is where Flemming lived and wrote in Jamaica for 12 years, before his death in 1964. In 2011, Fleming became the first English-language writer to have an international airport named after him: Ian Fleming International Airport, near Oracabessa, Jamaica.

Original Article Found Here


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Source: Caribbean News

Boys can!

The British Council announced on Thursday that it will be presenting its third annual Boys In Education Week from April 29 – May 2, under the theme: Boys Can!

The week of activities, it said, will be a precursor to its islandwide Boys Can Mentoring Programme, a three-year project set to launch in May with the support of the Grace & Staff Community Development Foundation.

“Last year we presented an opportunity for our male students (grades 5-9) to highlight the challenges and opportunities in their school life. Simultaneously, we brought parents, teachers and policy-influencing stakeholders to the table to engage each other in a meaningful way, to discuss challenges, opportunities and possible solutions to address boys’ learning, motivation and engagement. We also aim to address the wider issue of gender equity, with a view to demonstrating how engaging boys contributes to a more egalitarian education system for the advancement of both boys and girls,” explained Olayinka Jacobs-Bonnick, British Council’s country director for Jamaica.

“Now, with the support of the Grace & Staff Community Development Foundation, we will be working with more than 30 schools across the island to provide active mentoring for some of their most vulnerable male students with the hope of not only encouraging them to remain in school through career mentoring, but to help them to develop healthier relationships and lifestyle choices,” she added.

Christopher Williams, president & CEO of PROVEN Management Limited, also volunteered his time to mentor students during the 2018 Career Speed-Networking event. 

In its Creating Equity in Teaching and Learning module, the Jamaica Teaching Council highlights that: “the concerns for the underperformance of boys have been expressed islandwide. The results of various formal examinations provide the evidence that the education of boys is in a crisis… The question of why boys are underperforming within our school system has been linked to a number of factors, including teaching methodology; socio-economic background; lack of communal support from parents and schools; and structure of the education system insufficiently catering to the needs of young men.”

Grace & Staff Community Development Foundation has supported Boys in Education Week since its inception in 2017. The fund’s general manager Tanketa Chance-Wilson shared that the goal of the programme aligns with Grace & Staff’s core principle.

“GraceKennedy is firmly committed to the development of Jamaica’s youth, and given the current and ongoing widespread discussion about the range of influences faced by our young people, and our young men in particular, we realise our responsibility in helping them to be their best selves now, and set a solid foundation for them to grow. We are really impressed with the work of the British Council on this area, and are very proud to partner with them again for the benefit of our young people, our boys in particular, and Jamaica at large,” she said.

The programme will feature more than 30 mentors across multiple career disciplines, each working with one school. Over the period of a year, mentees, mentors, teachers and parents will be taken through a programme to explore aspects of career development, emotional intelligence, leadership & confidence building, conflict management, communication and problem-solving skills.

UNESCO, which has been producing work on the subject of masculinity, is also partnering with British Council for the 2019 Boys in Education Week.

The four days of activities will take place at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

Tomorrow, the Empowering Educators Seminar lead by UNESCO will discuss inclusive pedagogies. Through group discussions and break-out activities, educators will explore alternative ways of teaching boys in an effort to help address the underperformance of our male students. The event’s guest speaker will be Dr Margaret Chin.

The focus will turn to parents on Tuesday, in a seminar, also led by UNESCO, exploring what a positive male role model looks like. Professor Opal Palmer Adisa will lead a panel that will facilitate discussion on masculinity and equip parents with skills to motivate their boys as they move through their academic journey.

On Wednesday, the focus will be on mentoring some 80 boys drawn from schools across Jamaica who will have the opportunity to engage leaders and professionals from diverse fields on a variety of topics.

The Career Speed-Mentoring Day for both boys and girls will be on Thursday, May 2, featuring professionals from organisations across the island engaging students in one-on-one sessions aimed at steering them towards achievable career goals, engendering more confidence in their ability to contribute responsibly to society, and creating a safe space for dialogue and sharing new ideas.

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities.

Original Article Found Here


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Source: Caribbean News

Filming of Bond Movie Major Boost for Tourism

Buoyed by the positive feedback emanating from the news that the latest in the James Bond iconic franchise will be filmed in Jamaica, local officials and stakeholders are calling it “a massive publicity boost for the island”.

“It’s not a stretch to say we get filmed all the time,” said Chief Strategist and Advisor in the Ministry of Tourism, Delano Seiveright.

He told JIS News that just last year international hitmaker, Beyonce, was “here at least five times” doing videos, while fellow artist, Cardi B, was a fixture at the Trident Castle in Port Antonio, Portland.

“We have had calibre movies filmed here, such as The Mighty Quinn, Cocktail, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Dr. No, Live and Let Die, and Papillon, just to name a few” he added.

For his part, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, whose Ministry had been working hard behind the scenes in conjunction with the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, and Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), said “this latest development” can only further reaffirm Jamaica’s position as a favourite getaway spot for the “rich and famous”.

The Minister further noted that “the country’s allure and rich history,” notably in tourism, culture, sports and entertainment, “put it head and shoulders above its island competitors”.

“Not too long ago, we had Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, at Round Hill, Hanover, where they were here to attend a wedding,” Mr. Bartlett noted.

“Also not too long ago, Khloe Kardashian from the reality hit show, ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’, was here with her family on vacation. There have also been sightings of countless others, including the great Stevie Wonder,” he added.

Mr. Bartlett said he is very happy with how things are panning out in the industry, noting that Jamaica is now the envy of many other destinations.

“I have been saying, at every opportunity, that we do have an edge as it relates to making inroads in the high-end market,” he noted.

“There is no way we could have paid for the kind of publicity that we have been receiving from this new James Bond movie – a real shot in the arm for our tourism sector,” the Minister said.

Mr. Bartlett pointed out that there are a host of other celebrities who have been coming to Jamaica unannounced for their vacations, with Port Antonio, Hanover and Negril being the favourite destinations.

He said Jamaica is also benefiting from the celebrity-pull factor, where persons are flocking to destinations where they see “their favourite stars going”.

“What you find is that the tabloids and gossip seekers tend to follow these people wherever they go, writing about their whereabouts, so their fans can keep up with them. Jamaica has been the direct beneficiary of a lot of free and positive publicity as a result,” the Minister said.

Original Article Found Here


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Source: Caribbean News

Poorman Giving As Good As He Gets

Calvin Poorman has been doing his part in developing the community of Harmony Vale in St Ann.

As a party host and promoter, Poorman makes a profit from entertaining the public with four annual parties held in the Claremont and Harmony Vale communities. He was led to give back to his community after an encounter in a barber shop.

“I had a party, and one day I was at a barber shop talking about the party,” Poorman said. “A pastor who was in the shop asked how I was giving back to the society, and I had to think about it. From then, I have tried to help and do as much as possible.”

Poorman explained that he has been giving back to his community since 2013, starting with the Harmony Vale Basic School. “I purchased a stove for the basic school, and I also helped with their Christmas party that year,” Poorman said.

During that same year, he repainted the community’s welcome sign to make the surrounding more inviting. Poorman continued to contribute by painting the Harmony Vale Basic School in 2014 and assisted the Bensonton Primary School’s breakfast-feeding programme by donating utensils.

With the students’ safety in mind, Poorman also donated material to fix a railing at the Harmony Vale Basic School in 2015. He assisted in the years that followed, the most recent of which was an Easter treat at the St Ann’s Bay Infirmary in 2018.

Poorman Outstanding Student

While Poorman is proud of what he can do to help others, he is extremely proud of one student that he has been assisting since 2017.

“There is one little boy who I help with back-to-school supplies,” he said. “I met him one day when I went to do some business with his father, and this little boy was so ‘prime’ that I started to video him and had him repeat stuff, promoting one of my upcoming events, and the video went viral,” Poorman recalled laughing.

Many saw the video and contacted Poorman, jesting that he has to pay the young boy. Poorman considered how he could repay the boy and has since then found ways to assist his parents with back-to-school preparations.

Poorman has also proved that the saying, ‘what goes around comes around’, is true as he has also benefited from giving back.

“I see where from helping where I can, my brand has expanded and I am getting more support at my events, and I will continue to help who I can,” Poorman stated.

He started hosting parties seven years ago when he and a friend were talking in a restaurant.

“One day I was in a restaurant talking with a colleague and he was talking about parties and money, so I thought, since I know so many people, maybe I could do something like that,” Poorman said. “I used BBM (Blackberry Messenger) to send out a broadcast that I was having a party, and the response was great.”

That is how the foundation started and his first party, Eazzii Access, was born. With so many events making profit, Poorman makes it a duty to have a party in December in Harmony Vale just to show his appreciation for the support he gets throughout the year.

The businessman grew up in Harmony Vale and attended Claremont All-Age School, then went to Ferncourt High School, where he did the business subjects. He later pursued an associate degree in business and marketing at Moneague College.

Poorman told The Gleaner that his motivation to keep earning and helping comes from his two-year-old daughter, Cahlia.

By: Vanessa James

Original Article Found Here


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Source: Caribbean News

Happy Birthday Charlie

You have always been a trend setter. Every time I’m introduced to someone, there is a story to be told about how Charlie impacted life. Your soul might be at rest but your legacy lives on. You have never been forgotten and I know it is one of the things you wished for.

Without fail, every year during the Christmas time, your “Old Folk” joke from ‘Perils of Charlie’ is sent around and ends up in my inbox, or on What’sApp at least 15 times. Does that mean that I have a small circle of friends that all share the same content? I think you and I know that is not the case. It’s because that monologue is set in stone as one of the best ever, period. You did that.. and so much more. Your mark on Jamaican society is what a friend would call, indelible. The greatest thing about being your son is, I get a to smile every time someone else tells me a story about you and them.

Leonie Forbes, Charles Hyatt I, and Fae Ellington

I’ll never forget meeting our partner in crime, Big Youth, one day and he grabbed me up and rough me up just to see if I could match up. Then he said, “You a joke man!!! You have no idea how important your father was to Jungle”. Then he patted me on my back and said, ‘Mi glad fi meet yuh. Come talk to me one day’. Then he walked away. One day, that talk will happen because I love hearing about you through your friends. How many Charles Hyatt’s were there?

There are so many of stories just like that one. The blessing though, is that I have my own. (insert big grin) Remember Poor Ting, General, Gertrude, Betsy, Clive, the scotch bonnet tree, when I almost lost my big toe but you introduced me to the real meaning of salt in a wound??? I have to laugh now. I can tell you one thing, you are missed. Rose and Linda talk about you almost every day to their friends and family. Auntie Leonie, Auntie Alma, Uncle Buddy and Auntie Cissy are all getting more beautiful every day. I’m sure Auntie Alma will be with us for at least another 45 years. she is such a gem. Oh, Aunt Fae is now the host of Profile. Good tings don’t??? She is doing such a great job. You will also be happy to know that Blakka still tells the story of that talent show. Also, Christopher “Johnny” Daley is carrying on the stand up tradition really serious. That man have it Dad… but you said that long ago.

Charles and Gertrude

Anyway, on this great day of celebration of your birth and the life you lived, I say ‘big up pon yuh earthstrong’. I pray your soul is resting in peace and if you are able to do all over again, do it!!

Peace and love Daddy!


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Source: Caribbean News

Jamaican entrepreneur creates Glamo app for US beauty industry

FLORIDA-based, Jamaican-born entreprenuer Rishielle Giscombe-Smith is aiming to tap into the United States billion-dollar beauty industry with her app, Glamo.

Rishielle Giscombe-Smith

“It is very diverse. There are two other apps like it, but the convenience of Glamo is what makes it so unique,” the 26-year-old told the Jamaica Observer.

According to the conceptualiser, the app has been well received since its launch in December 2018.

“Already it has attracted more than 500 users and over 2,000 stylists. It has been growing fast and has even been recognised in Silicon Valley. People really love it,” she said.

Giscombe-Smith attended Mona High in St Andrew before migrating to New York in 2011. Three years later, she began pursuing an architectural engineering degree at Broward College in Florida, but soon shelved the studies when she realised her true passion was in beauty and technology.

“I remember being in New York with my mom and you know the struggles that come with being an immigrant; it was basically starting life over. She had to take taxis when she wanted to get her hair done, she had to take the bus in cold weather. When she died I got a bigger sense of independence when I saw other old people struggling; people as old as 60 having to stand in buses and in the rain so I started to wonder how I can improvise, and that’s when I came up with the salon service idea,” she explained.

The app, which took a year to be completed, offers various options for users.

“If you’re a stylist, you put in your information then us at the human resource department run a background check to make sure they [the stylists] have their licence, and so on. Afterwards, clients within their area can make contact within 15 minutes. We have different categories which include barbering, hair and nails. Customers can also see costs for services and include the amount of people they want to make bookings for. There is also a built-in navigation system that customers can use to see the location of the stylists,” Giscombe-Smith said.

In 2017 global management consulting and market research firm Lucintel valued the US beauty industry at US$265 billion.

Since Giscombe-Smith has tapped into the business, she said that she has been reaping the rewards, and looks to double the US$30,000 she invested.

“Even though the app is new, and we know that it takes time to build up, I’ve seen where I have been benefiting. Next month I will be attending a beauty show and from that I will be making twice the amount I invested in the app,” she explained.

Glamo is currently available for Android and iPhone users in Florida, Atlanta, and California, the businesswoman has begun making plans to have a Jamaican launch by July of this year, before branching off into Europe in 2020.

She encourages other entrepreneurs to develop apps in their respective fields to heighten marketability.

“I would totally encourage other people to develop apps for things they like. As you know the technology industry is booming and it is a really good idea,” she added.

By: Kediesha Perry

Original Article Found Here


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Source: Caribbean News

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