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Public affairs officer at the United States Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica, delivers the sponsors' address at the Branson Centre Summit 2019 held at the Spanish Court Hotel on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. (Photo Chris Lewinson)

US Embassy in Kingston signs MOU with Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship Caribbean

Public affairs officer at the United States Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica, delivers the sponsors' address at the Branson Centre Summit 2019 held at the Spanish Court Hotel on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. (Photo Chris Lewinson)

Public affairs officer at the United States Embassy in Kingston Jeremiah Knight revealed that the US outpost has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship Caribbean in a bid to enhance its strategic relationship with the business accelerator operation.

“It just so happens that the embassy team and the Branson Centre team, we were all on the same page about how we wanted to do our relationship. And so we signed an MOU, not that long afterward, discussing our relationship together and how we would do a series of fireside chats at the embassy and discuss the various aspects of scaling up,” Knight shared with the audience gathered at the Branson Summit last Wednesday.

Public affairs officer Jeremiah Knight disclosed at the Branson Centre Summit 2019 that the United States Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica, had signed a memorandum of understanding with the centre that focused on having fireside chats to discuss businesses scaling up.
(Photo: Chris Lewinson)

The event was held at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica, under the theme ‘Scaling for Impact’.

Knight said that the fireside chats are a platform for entrepreneurs from various sectors to come together and discuss topics such as ‘Scaling up for the US Economy’ and ‘Scaling Up with Artificial Intelligence’.

Panellists at the Branson Centre Summit 2019 discussing the topic ‘Scaling the Blue Economy’.
Llewelyn Meggs (second right) and Jaedon Lawe (right), co-principals of Yardie Divers, were members of the 2019 cohort of entrepreneurs to be trained by Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship Caribbean. (Photo: Chris Lewinson)

“So we held them at our American Center at the Embassy and the invitation went out to about 40 select persons each time we had. Then the finalisation of that was to support this Summit at the end of every year,” the public affairs officer told Caribbean Business Report.

And since the fireside chats are collaborative events planned by the two institutions, the invitees consist of entrepreneurs who engage with the US Embassy in Kingston as well as people in Branson Centre’s contact list has.”

Knight pointed out that the small number of invitees made the fireside chats more intimate and allowed for more inquiry into discussions.

“The entire Department of State in Washington, DC, was very happy that we signed an MOU with the Branson Centre and we shared our best practices with other embassies around the world.”

— Public Affairs Officer, United States Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica, Jeremiah Knight

“With these larger types of conversations, you really don’t get into the nitty-gritty and ask questions. So with the smaller types of fireside chats, the audience gets a chance to discuss,” he said.

So far the US Embassy has invited an economics officer from the US and Jamaica’s exporting and marketing agency, JAMPRO, to discuss the barriers to entry into the US market as well as what the Government of Jamaica has been doing to alleviate the situation.

Panellists Kerry-ann Stimpson (second left), group marketing manager at JMMB; Sandra Glasgow (second right), principal of BizTactics and First Angels JA; and We Inspire Women CEO Cortia Bingham (right) discuss the topic ‘Scaling the Impact of Women’ with the guidance of moderator Tashaine Morrison, project management specialist at Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship Caribbean. (Photo: Chris Lewinson)

So what has been the response to the collaboration?

“I think this [agreement] has really worked out for both sides. The entire Department of State in Washington, DC, was very happy that we signed an MOU with the Branson Centre and we shared our best practices with other embassies around the world,” Knight told the gathering.

He noted, too, that he looks forward to “having additional strategic relationships with the Branson Centre”.