GraceKennedy’s Group CEO Don Wehby said that the company is targeting 15 per cent of revenue being accumulated from its digital platforms and has a clear roadmap of how it will execute its digital strategy.

Money transfer giant Western Union and GraceKennedy Money Services ( GKMS) will be launching their online platform at the end of April this year. At a press conference held at GraceKennedy’s downtown Kingston headquarters earlier today, Western Union’s President and CEO Hikmet Ersek said this money transfer platform is the first of its kind in both the Caribbean and Latin America. GraceKennedy’s Group CEO Don Wehby said that the company is targeting 15 per cent of revenue being accumulated from its digital platforms and has a clear roadmap of how it will execute its digital strategy. Speaking with Loop News GKMS’s CEO Michelle Allen said; “ WU. com will be hitting a new customer base; customers who are account-based. We don’t expect to cannibalise our existing customers but will reach out to new customers that use the banks. “It will be a convenient 24/7 online service. You can now send money from anywhere in Jamaica. It has been in development for over two years and heralds our move to digital money. We want people to understand that gone are the days of walking around with cash . We want people to use their phone and GK M Pay products. You can send remittances on your phone and we want you to use your debit and credit cards online to send money. You can now send money into someone’s bank account using Wu. com. “ Grace has over 140 locations islandwide which connects into 200 countries across the globe. Both Wehbyand Hikmet Ersek would not be drawn on how much cost to implement but Loop News understands that it is somewhere near 4% of GKMS’s total revenues. That 4% is similar to the 4% West Union is investing in global compliance . As much as 20 % of West Union’s workforce works in a compliance capacity. As far as WU. com in Jamaica is concerned, front end and back end systems are in place. A robust global framework has been built which then plugs into the local set- up. This means the same security systems infrastructure that protects Grace’s online business globally is the same security systems that protects Grace’s transactions here in Jamaica. GKMS’s CEO Michelle Allen Jamaica is the first country in all of Latin America that will have the capability to move money to anywhere in the world. Wehby stressed that it is vitally important to have the proper regulations in place as quickly as possible. This is particularly so bearing in mind the growing importance of cyber security. Only this week it was revealed that a company gained access to 50 million Facebook accounts. “ When you move large volumes of money through cyber space it certainly keeps you up at night and gives you a lot to think about. One of our highest investments is in cyber security. We have stringent measures in place, measures I don’t want to reveal here today for obvious security reasons. “I think every CEO worldwide has this issue. We have constant management reviews on this. We are always looking to see how we can prevent cyber attacks,” said the Western Union boss, Hikmet Ersek. The GraceKennedy CEO made it clear that this move to digital remittances does not signal the closure of many brick and mortar branches. In fact GKMS will be expanding its locations in terms of the number of services that can be accessed through those locations and they will be branded GKOne. “ We still have a large number of people who do not have access to digital platforms .We now have 143 locations and by the end of this year we will have 20 or 25 of them where Jamaicans can go to do their insurance, credit top ups, banking and micro loans. In fact you may well see an expansion on that 143 locations.,” said Wehby. The GraceKennedy boss went on to add that the digital platforms are attracting new customers with 80% of the digital customers being new ones. This is dominated by millennials. “We have set ourselves aggressive targets . We have launched GK MPay and will be launching GK Online. Before the year is out we will be launching GKG Online which will be a mobile App where you can do online insurance, banking and money services all on one App. “As I say, ‘ what gets measured, gets done,’ so I am measuring on a monthly basis the roll out and execution of the digital strategy. We have a stand alone strategy that will be integrated into the overall traditional strategy. This will be monitored to determine where are we, who is doing it and how much will be invested in it." “I am hoping that by 2020, half our locations will be branded GK One where customers can do many different financial services transactions under one roof.”

DBJ's Managing Director Milverton Reynolds signing the official sponsorship agreement with Platinum Sponsor PANJAM Investments VP New Business Development and Strategy, Joanna Banks.

Fourteen teams of student entrepreneurs are gearing up to compete for up to $4 million and an all-expense paid trip to represent Jamaica at the International Business Model Competition (IBMC) in Utah. The tertiary students will compete on Thursday and Friday at the 2018 staging of the National Business Model Competition at the Knutsford Court Hotel. The NBMC is one of the many initiatives of the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) that is aimed at ensuring a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem exists in Jamaica. “This initiative that we have created and which is being executed by our universities is pivotal and will form the background and, indeed, is the platform for unearthing dynamic business ideas, thought leaders and new and revolutionary businesses that will impact not just Jamaica but the wider Caribbean,” stated Audrey Richards, Project Coordinator, Jamaica Venture Capital Programme, at the Development Bank of Jamaica, and who has direct responsibility for the NBMC. Finalists in the 2015 staging of the National Business Model Competition, Kadeem Petgrave and Simier Lansend of Educatours JA converse with Audrey Tungwell-Henry, Executive Vice President, Retail Banking, Caribbean, Central and North America for Scotiabank. Leading up to the finals, each school has been hosting internal competitions to select the teams that will represent their university on March 22 and 23. Participating universities are: four- time NBMC winner, Northern Caribbean University (NCU); Edna Manley College of the Visual & Performing Arts (EMC); University of the West Indies (UWI); and University of Technology, Jamaica (UTECH). “Annually, we look forward to this competition as it has become a fixture on UTECH’s calendar of events. We appreciate the synergy that is being developed between Jamaica’s public-private sector (led by the DBJ) and the university community in Jamaica. The DBJ and its partners of this year’s NBMC - IDB-MIF; PanJam Investment, Restaurants Associates through its flagship brand Burger King, Musson Foundation, NCB Foundation, Sagicor Group, Scotiabank, GK Capital Management and the PetroCaribe Development Fund - have brought 'student entrepreneurship’ to the forefront of the nation’s agenda. Everyone is now talking about the subject. We are proud to be playing our role in nurturing and moulding Jamaica’s future leaders,” stated Dr. Carol Nathan, Lecturer, University of Technology, Jamaica The business ideas for this year’s competition include concepts from a wide variety of sectors and industries in the society including: Biotechnology, Agrotechnology, Health and Wellness, Construction, Security Technology and the Service Sector. Each team will receive ten minutes to pitch their business ideas to the Judges Panel, followed by a brief Q&A. Judges, drawn from the list of sponsors and Jamaica’s investment community, will select the winner to be announced at the Awards Ceremony, following the Finals on March 23. The Business Model Canvas is a management tool that is geared at reducing the failure of startups. It differs from the static business plan and focuses on interacting with potential customers to gain their feedback, then pivoting and reassessing their original concepts based on lessons learnt and customer feedback. The Business Model Canvas is universally accepted as an excellent tool to be used, not just for startups, but businesses wishing to scale. The impact of the NBMC over these past years, both at the university level, and nationally, has been tremendous. A number of the teams which entered the NBMC are now fully operational and have progressed well; some have won awards, grants and financing, others have established markets locally and internationally. The performances of the national teams at the International Business Model Competition held in the USA have been phenomenal, as well - every year the Jamaica team places in the top ten out of over 5,000 students and 42 universities worldwide. The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) through its Jamaica Venture Capital Programme (JVCP) and the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) provide project management, technical support and leadership support during the National Business Model Competition.

A scene from 'Sherlock Gnomes'

This week, Palace Amusement releases a movie about the untold story of one of the most controversial females in the bible,Mary Magdalene. Other films premiering at Jamaica’s only movie company include 'Sherlock Gnomes' and 'Acts of Violence'. Mary Magdalene You have heard the story before, but not like this. Academy Awardnominee Rooney Mara stars in the biblical drama,'Mary Magdalene'which follows a devoted and fearless woman in her tempestuous spiritual journey. Set in the Holy Land in the first century C.E., a young woman leaves her small fishing village and traditional family behind to join a radical new social movement. At its head is a charismatic leader, Jesus of Nazareth, who promises that the world is changing. Mary is searching for a new way of living, and an authenticity that is denied her by the rigid hierarchies of the day. As the notoriety of the group spreads and more are drawn to follow Jesus' inspirational message, Mary's spiritual journey places her at the heart of a story that will lead to the capital city of Jerusalem, where she must confront the reality of Jesus' destiny and her own place within it. The film is directed by Garth Davis and written by Philippa Goslett and Helen Edmundson. 'Mary Magdalene' also stars Academy Awardnominees Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 years a slave) and Joaquin Phoenix. Sherlock Gnomes Gnomeo and Juliet moved to the city with their friends and family, only to discover a string of Garden Gnome disappearances in London. Concerned for their fellow Gnomes’ whereabouts, the pair must recruit renowned savvy detective Sherlock Gnomes to investigate the mysterious disappearance of other garden ornaments. The famous detective and sworn protector of London's Garden Gnomes arrives with his sidekick Watson to investigate the case. The mystery leads the Gnomes on a rollicking adventure where they will meet all new ornaments and explore an undiscovered side of the city. Directed by Academy Awardnominee John Stevenson, Sherlock Gnomes stars the voices of Golden Globe Award winner Emily Blunt as Juliet, Academy Awardnominee Johnny Depp as Sherlock Gnomes, Academy Award® nominee Mary J. Blige as Irene and James McAvoy as Gnomeo. Acts of Violence Bruce Willis and Cole Hauser star in 'Acts of Violence', Brett Donowho's action thriller about three Midwestern brothers who take the law into their own hands when a family member becomes a victim of human trafficking. The youngest brother’s fiancé is kidnapped by human traffickers and Roman (Ashton Holmes) and his ex-military brothers must set out to track her down before it is too late. To save her, the MacGregor boys call on their military training and the strength of family to fight the most important battle of their lives. The film stars an ensemble cast made up of Golden Globe Award winner Bruce Willis, Cole Hauser, Shawn Ashmore and Ashton Holmes.

Beyonce and Jay Z on a motorbike during a video shoot in Trench Town on Tuesday afternoon.

Hip Hop power couple, Jay-Z and Beyoncetransformed the normally docile day activities of Trench Town into a Hollywood movie set on Tuesday, with the shooting of a video scene alongCollie Smith Drive in the community, the birth place of reggae music. The presence of a high-level security detail made it clear to those venturing into the area, the status of the individuals involved, as some of the major streets leading to the scene were blocked off with both police and private security standing guard. It got tighter closer to the scene, which involved Jay Z riding a 'Yeng Yeng' bike up Collie Smith Drive with wife Beyonce coolly nestled on the back in a blue sweat topthat covered a short set that complemented the pink shoes she wore. The diva completed her outfit with a diva-like shades. Jay Z was simple - the rap legend had on a sweat suit with a kerchief wrapped around his head. While the power couple was the lead, the scene also involved a number of riders behind them. The scene had many takes, with the residentsof the area shouting adoringly,"We love you Beyonce". "Queen B" and "Diva Beyonce" were some of the names they called her, while she waved and smiled approvingly duringbreaks. Jay Z visited the communitylast year during arecording visit with Damion 'Junior Gong' Marley. For the latestnews, download our app at Android; and at IoS.

Neymar playing for Brazil.

Brazil great Ronaldo believes compatriot Neymar will be back from injury in time to lead a "very strong team" at the 2018 World Cup. The South American nation waslast crowned world champions in 2002, when Ronaldo scored both goals in a 2-0 final win over Germany. Selecao hopes are high ahead of this year's tournament in Russia, with Brazil losing just once during qualifying to finish top of the CONMEBOL section. However, much will depend on the health of Neymar, with the Paris Saint-Germain forward battling to be fit after undergoing surgery on a broken metatarsal at the end of February. "At a World Cup, everyone knows it's a very difficult tournament," Ronaldo told Omnisport. "I think Brazil has improved in the last one-and-a-half years with the change in manager. We have a very strong team for the World Cup. "Neymar getting injured is a big problem for us but I think he will recover soon and he'll be fit for the World Cup. "But, as I say, it's a difficult tournament. We have very good teams." Ronaldo - a three-time winner of FIFA's World Player of the Year award - believes Argentina remain one of the leading contenders for glory despite their problems in qualifying. Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick as Argentina defeated Ecuador 3-1 in a dramatic final round of fixtures, finally securing the two-time winners a place in the field. "I think Germany are always strong, Spain is strong as well, England, France, Argentina, with [Lionel] Messi, it's always difficult to win the World Cup," Ronaldo added. "But we will see a beautiful World Cup. I hope Brazil can win again."

West Indies secured qualification for the2019 Cricket World Cup thanks to a five-run win over Scotland on the Duckworth-Lewis method on Wednesday. After bowling out their opponents for 198, Scotland had reached 128- for five after 35.2 overs oftheir run chase when rain arrived to ruin a tense finish in Harare. They had slipped to 67 for four at one stage before a resolute fifth-wicket stand of 38 putthewinner-takes-all showdownback in the balance. However, thedeparture of Richie Berrington, who was trapped lbw byspinner Ashley Nurse (2-35), for 33 turned out to be crucial, tipping the balance in West Indies' favour. George Munsey was left unbeaten on 32 as Scotland weresunk by a heavy storm, the narrow defeat confirming they can no longer reachnext year's tournament in England. West Indies, in contrast, are now certain of progressing through from the Super Six stageatthe qualifying event. Earlier, the Windies, put in to bat, lost Chris Gayle on the very first ball of the match, his seventh career golden duck, and then saw Shai Hope return to the pavilion 12 balls later to slip to two for two. But opener Evin Lewis made a top score of 66 and Marlon Samuels weighed in with a patient 51 from 98 deliveries to post a competitive total, despite them losing their last eight wickets for 75 runs. Hosts Zimbabwe can secure a place in Sunday's final - and with it thelast remainingWorld Cup berth - with victory over the United Arab Emirates on Thursday. For Scotland, it was a sad end to their World Cup aspirations despite being one of the most consistent sides in the tournament. They beat Afghanistan by seven wickets, Nepal by four wickets, tied with Zimbabwe and defeated the UAE by 73 runs, before losing a tight match to traditional rivals Ireland by 25 runs and by five runs to the Windies. SCORES IN BRIEF Windies beat Scotland by five runs (Duckworth-Lewis-Stern Method), Harare Sports Club Windies 198 all out, 48.4 overs (Evin Lewis 66, Marlon Samuels 51, Carlos Brathwaite 24; Safyaan Sharif 3-27, Brad Wheal 3-34, Michael Leask 2-36) Scotland 125-5, 35.2 overs (Richie Berrington 33, George Munsey 32 not out, Calum MacLeod 21; Kemar Roach 2-20, Ashley Nurse 2-35) For the latestnews, download our app at Android; and at IoS.


Spectr News Theme
February 02, 2018

Pressure Drop

A gripping dramedy now playing at the Little Little Theatre, Kingston. Writer Basil Dawkins says the play is about family and the conflicts created by change in Jamaica’s traditional rural communities. Shows are Tuesdays to Fridays at 8:30 PM and Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays at 5:00 PM and 8:30 PM. Tickets are $1,500.

Spectr News Theme
April 01, 2018

Portland Food Festival and Family Fun Day

The Portland Food Festival and Family Fun Day takes place on Sunday 1 April in Port Antonio. Attractions include a family concert featuring Jabez, Joan Flemmings, Carey Sayles and Monifa Goss; a petting zoo and a fashion show. Tickets are $700 for adults and $300 for children.