What started as a project at the Portsmouth Secondary School (PSS), has blossomed into a full-fledged business venture with products to hit supermarket shelves on the island soon.
It all began last year when business students were given a project to prepare products ready for export.
An exhibition of the products was held and some people were invited to a panel discussion during the event. Among them was Public Relations Officer for the Dominica Manufacturers Association (DMA) and businessman Severin McKenzie, who was quite impressed with the items produced by the students.
He invited them to the first ever Buy Dominica last year where the products were a big hit and the seeds of entrepreneurship were sowed.
This year, the students are once again selling their products at the second edition of Buy Dominica which kicked off on Friday morning under the business name ‘Nature Serenity.’
Some of the products on display at the Roseau Market include cocoa solids, cocoa powder, local decaffeinated coffee, salt, seasoning pepper sauce, Virgin coconut oil, peanut, coffee and coconut punches, as well as local ginger wine.
Business teacher at the PSS Roselyn Matthew, said the school embarked on the project to allow students to be well rounded.
“We have decided to embark on such a project because we are interested in the holistic development of our students,” she explained. “We don’t only do academics we believe in preparing them for the world of work and life.”
She said it is all part of making ‘learning interesting and practical.’ “It is good that when the students not only know theory but they are able to live life, you know, maneuver in life,” she said.
The products have been a hit among customers. “Sales are better than I expected,” Matthew noted. “Most of the products you see here, 95 percent are already sold.”
Fifth former at the school, Markisha Brumant, who took part in the project said it has helped her set her mind on being an entrepreneur and help in reducing the island’s high import rate.
“My goal in life is to become a young entrepreneur so I can see the decrease in import rates in Dominica and can boost up our economy and our own local products in Dominica,” she stated.
She said taking part in the project was hard but it has its rewards.
Her sentiment is shared by another student, fifth former, Geron Sharplis, of Vielle Case. “The process was very hard at times but as time passed on it became easier as we gained experience. I am very proud of this and I hope the public reacts very positively towards us as we put alot of hard work into our products,” he said.
He expressed the desire to be an entrepreneur in the manufacturing industry.
Meanwhile, Matthew said Green’s Wholesales has come on board with the students and will be one of the major distributors of the products.
“We are also hoping to have some at J. Duverneys in Portsmouth and also at Whitchurch IGA but we are really looking to have our products all over in Dominica. But for now we only have a limited amount,” she said.