Tuesday 25 June, 2019

Tortuga shares business of baking in JSE 50th anniversary school tour

Florence Reid (right), head of manufacturing at Tortuga breaks down the cooling process for a small group of Camperdown High School students who toured the Tortuga Cake Factory recently as part of an education outreach initiative by the Jamaica Stock Exchange. (Photo contributed)

Florence Reid (right), head of manufacturing at Tortuga breaks down the cooling process for a small group of Camperdown High School students who toured the Tortuga Cake Factory recently as part of an education outreach initiative by the Jamaica Stock Exchange. (Photo contributed)

Tortuga opened its doors to teachers and students of Camperdown High School to share the rich history of Tortuga, its business model and innovations in manufacturing through a Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) outreach initiative.

The students on Tuesday visited the company’s plant near Cross Roads, Kingston as part of an educational programme for secondary and tertiary institutions.

According to Tracey Wynter, JSE depository services unit officer, the goal of this exchange for the students is tri-fold.

“We’re trying to get the students to have a broader understanding of the markets and the relevant players within the capital markets and to be made aware of the products and services offered by listed companies, registrars, brokers and regulators. And today we’ve invited them to view the operations of one of Jamaica Producers’ international brands, Tortuga,” highlighted Wynter.

Jamaica Producers Group, Ltd. (JP) an established international specialty foods group made a strategic investment in Tortuga International Holdings Ltd in January 2012.

The Grade 9 students were allowed to tour the SQF Level II Certified Bakery Facility under the guidance of Florence Reid, Head of Manufacturing.

They were also able to sample the newly launched JP St. Mary’s Banana Bread in original flavour (baked at the Tortuga factory) after a short corporate presentation by Lorraine Brown, Tortuga purchasing and administrative officer.

“We embraced the tour as an opportunity to showcase the skill and productivity of a Jamaican-owned business, so that this generation can see first-hand what an entrepreneurial exploit can blossom into.  Tortuga emanated from the entrepreneurial pursuits of its founder Robert Hamaty, but today it’s contributing to the growth agenda of our country.  We [Tortuga] are creating jobs and continuously investing in our nation,” noted Jermaine Robinson, Tortuga’s regional commercial manager.

Robinson also noted that introducing students to finance and best practices in business at an early stage serves as great source of empowerment.

“We want students to get invested in business, not only from an employee perspective, but from a business owner’s perspective as well. How Tortuga came into being is the easiest and probably the coolest part. However, to become an award-winning international brand and product, in addition to becoming and maintaining a profitable business, takes much dedication. We hope we showed that to the students we met today,” concluded Robinson.

Jermaine Robinson (right), Tortuga regional commercial manager greets group one of two sets of students from Camperdown High school with their chaperones after their tour of the Cake Factory in Crossroads, Kingston.

According to Janiel Jackson, business education teacher at Camperdown High School, she hoped her students walked away with higher business acumen.

“I hope they learnt about business models and processes; how to manage a business, as they got to the opportunity to speak closely with the head of Tortuga’s manufacturing and are aspiring to work in a business organisation at her managerial level,” shared Jackson.

She also emphasised the importance of reinforcing theory with practical.

“We teach business theory in the classroom, but the practical experience is better for them. And, we often speak about value added experiences, this is one, and it is always good for students to capture,” concluded Jackson.

Grade 9 student Paris-London Dennis soaked up quite a bit from the Tortuga experience.

“I enjoyed the tour of the facilities. It was fun. So many cakes, so many things happen before it gets into the box,” shared Dennis. “Personally, my take away was they are many ways of processing food, but the most important thing is to keep your environment clean.”

The day of outreach started at the JSE, with a formal presentation to the group about the history, roles, and functions of the JSE and its subsidiaries. At the brokerage house the group is exposed to trading, research and how brokers fit in promoting a sound financial eco-system. The final stop on each tour was to see the operations of the company listed on the JSE.

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