Sade Jemmott answers unvoiced plea of unemployed, entrepreneurs
Attorney-at-law Sade Jemmott
Attorney-at-law Sade Jemmott is offering her services free of charge to retrenched workers following the announced approximately 1500 job cuts from central government and across the public sector.
She is being the change she wants to see.
However, she did not expect the response when she posted her willingness to help freely on Twitter.
But what led to the gracious tweet?
“To whom much is given, much is expected, so service has always been very important to me. I had been thinking for a while about the plight of retrenched workers and the whole prospect of starting over in those circumstances. My heart really breaks for everyone affected even though I understand that it is a necessary evil given the state of the economy and the recovery efforts. I wanted to help but did not know exactly how. Then one day on Facebook, someone shared a post from a young lady named Joy-Ann Haigh which said that she wanted to offer her marketing and communication talents free of cost to any displaced public servant who wanted to start their own business. I immediately shared her post with the thought ‘This is a fabulous initiative! Selfless and timely. I too am happy to give free legal consultations re: those businesses. What can you do to help?’
“Then my post on Twitter came a few days later.”
“Truly overwhelming!" That’s how she best described the influx of requests. “I honestly did not expect that level of response. My tweet was shared over and over again and I started getting interest from young entrepreneurs and MSMEs who wanted to know if they could access the free legal consultation as well. It was also especially heartwarming when other professionals started to reach out and indicate a willingness to offer their services. Just like that, we started to build a network of support. It was beautiful!”
Posting expecting that “someone might need it,” turns out many someone’s need it now.
So Loop asked Sade what’s next in her plan to deliver on her offer? She explained:
“In my experience, people go into business and cut corners when it comes to legal advice especially when they have small budgets to pursue big dreams. I hope to help as many people as I can to start smart by pointing them in the right direction and flagging the issues they should be thinking about a little more carefully, such as putting appropriate contracts in place.”
But Sade herself is not on e to cut corners or do things haphazardly and half-heartedly, therefore she put everyone on notice very quickly that a website was coming.
“I have a friend - Kimberly Adams, who is very focused on building personal brands and we had been casually talking for a while about my passion for entrepreneurship and the fact that I wanted to turn my informal business mentorship into more structured consulting. So when I started getting all this interest in the free consultations, she more or less demanded that I take it as a sign that the time is now. She made the process extremely easy and painless. I was booking appointments via my website within a couple days of the tweet.”
The Tweet went viral amongst Bajan Twitter on November 7 and by November 10, she as taking appointments via her website.
And she has opened the offer to entrepreneurs as well.
“Apart from having been an entrepreneur myself, I have sat on the board of the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation (BEF) since 2014 and when I was at Lex Caribbean, I was heavily involved in developing its Entrepreneurial Business Unit. Supporting this special demographic of the business community has always been near and dear to my heart. Even now that I am General Counsel at Bitt, I know more intimately the challenges that can face start-ups. Therefore, when I saw the interest I was getting from them, I just could not say no. As long as my capacity would permit, I decided to extend the offer to them as well.”
However, recognizing that not everyone who needs the help will come forward and sign up, Loop asked the 30-year-old past Queen’s College student what advice do she has for entrepreneurs, start-ups and even retrenched workers who may think the offer is not for them?
“I would say that you have options. There are lots of wonderful institutions in Barbados geared towards supporting entrepreneurship. These include the Barbados Agency for Micro Enterprise Development Limited (FundAccess), Barbados Coalition of Service Industries (BCSI), Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC), Barbados Manufacturers Association (BMA), Barbados Youth Business Trust (BYBT), Small Business Association (SBA), Student Entrepreneurial Empowerment Development Project of UWI (SEED), Ten Habitat, Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES) and Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation (BEF). The best one FOR YOU really depends on where you are as an entrepreneur, what exactly is your undertaking and the nature of your need(s). It is not one size fits all. Reach out to each of them, do some research and make an informed decision.
“However, I would also say entrepreneurship is not for everyone. There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking another job instead. Get professional help with updating your CV and contact agencies as well as job vacancy websites and social media pages. Retool if you have to but do not give up!”
Finally, Loop asked Sade what she thinks Barbados needs now more than anything?
Without missing a bit, with a smile she said, “Compassion!
“The economic situation we have found ourselves in is a difficult one. The burden must be shared by all, but inevitably some will feel it more than others. We need to be compassionate about that and each do our part lend a helping hand. This is my way. Everyone has something they can do.”
Sade’s website is www.sadejemmott.com
Facebook: Sade Jemmott Consulting
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