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THOMAS... looking forward to launching his restaurant in the coming academic year

Feature

UWI Co-curricular activity sparks ‘delightful’ entrepreneurial venture

TASHIKA TAYLOR

GROWING UP in the second city of Montego Bay, St James, Keno Thomas greatly enjoyed his high school and college life. A member of the quiz team while at the William Knibb High School, he also loved sports and was actively involved in football and track and field. Later, when he went to the Montego Bay Community College, he became the sports president for the Faculty of Arts and Science.

While Thomas was somewhat fulfilled through participation in these activities, he always felt that he was missing something – that missing ingredient was his need to own his own business. “I have always had an entrepreneurial interest,” he told UWIMONA Now. ‘I always dreamed of owning my own business but I didn’t know the type of business I wanted to start or how to start it,” he added.

Nonetheless, he continued his journey which led him to pursue an undergraduate degree in International Relations at The UWI, Mona in 2014. On entering his third year, Thomas discovered his gem among one of the more than 300 clubs and societies on campus – the Entrepreneur Builder Club. This club encourages students to explore options outside of the traditional job market in order to become economically independent. Here, Thomas not only expanded his network and discovered how to start a viable business, but he also uncovered a gap that needed to be filled right on the campus and immediately decided to pursue it.

He plans to open a Caribbean restaurant that will offer three dishes from at least five Caribbean islands, with an added entertainment element. “It will also offer nightly karaoke sessions and the opportunity for aspiring entertainers to showcase their talents through performances at the end of each week,” Thomas stated. He said the restaurant will be staffed by UWI students.

The plan is in its final approval stages, and 23- year-old Thomas is looking forward to launching his Caribbean Delight Restaurant in the coming academic year (2017/2018), when he will complete his undergraduate degree and start preparations for pursuing a Master’s degree in International Business.

His long-term goal is to expand his entrepreneurial venture into the field of logistics through the formation of a logistics consulting firm. He has given himself between five and eight years to achieve this, noting that through his overall entrepreneurial initiatives he will be able to contribute to the creation of an environment that will positively influence the lives of not just Jamaicans, but people right across the Caribbean and the world.

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