Portsmouth Secondary School students: from project to entrepreneurship

Some of the products on sale
Some of the products on sale

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.

Some of the products being shown
Some of the products being shown

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60 Comments

  1. student
    August 9, 2013

    as one of the students who partake in this project i would like to say on behalf of all of us we are really grateful for your positive feed-backs and motivations as we intend to carry out our life’s dream. we did this project to put a change in Dominica. we intend to see a decrease in the import rates and and increase in the export rates of local products from our country and also a healthier life style for the public on a whole. hearts out to Mr McKenzie the bureau of standards Mr Banillo Eve our inspirational teacher Mrs Roslyn Mathew and our lord and personal savior Jesus Christ our God. we will push Dominica to the next level…Forward on PSS Forward on :-D

  2. student
    August 9, 2013

    as one of the students, we are very thankful for your positive feedback’s as we intend to move forward and see some changes in our country such as a decrease in import rates and a boost in our economy as well as healthier lifestyle for each and everyone of you. we will also want to thank Mr McKenzie and each and everyone of them who motivated us and put us where we are today. hearts out to all. we will move Dominica forward…Forward on PSS forward on

  3. UDOHREADYET
    August 6, 2013

    Brilliant!!! allu ready!

  4. Hasta la Victoria
    August 6, 2013

    Im very proud of my old school!!

  5. Yeah Yeah Yeah
    August 6, 2013

    I applaud them, reducing the importation bill by consumption of local products should be a priority for us in Dominica, if we don’t want to buy our own products, then who else will?

  6. PHILLIS
    August 6, 2013

    that’s great, don’t stop
    keep working at it.

  7. d uk
    August 6, 2013

    proof of what can be done by younger ones when given a chance; what about exporting there product

  8. Dominican by birth
    August 6, 2013

    Keep up the good work! we need positive ventures like these in our young people lives

  9. RMA
    August 5, 2013

    Congratulations to Ms. Matthew and her students. I am very proud of my Alma Mater. Keep up the good works PSS in taking learning to another level.

  10. Mabouché
    August 5, 2013

    Who is gaining the profit from the sale of these products ? The students involved or the school ?

  11. Anonymous
    August 5, 2013

    Who is gaining the profits from the sale of these products?students or the school ?

  12. Porcey Boca
    August 5, 2013

    Forward on PSS… This is great stuff. The idea of thinking out side the box and leveraging practical applications while students are in school is amazing. For our part (Friends and PSS Alums abroad) we will continue to invest in our young people and reward them for excellence. In addition, we will shift our focus to include rewarding our teachers who demonstrate their commitment to the education of our students. Forward on PSS….Forward on…

  13. gwaj
    August 5, 2013

    Very heartened to hear this. Keep up the good work, young people!

  14. DRAGON
    August 5, 2013

    Good Luck to all involved! My hope is that some of the established enterprises will invest capital to assist with expanding production to sustain this new venture.

  15. Allyne
    August 4, 2013

    keep it pilingky good luck

  16. observer
    August 4, 2013

    The Dominica Manufacturers Association is doing a great job with these young people. Keep up the good work Mr. McKenzie.

  17. poe-ki-toe
    August 4, 2013

    good job guys …as a former student of the PSS I am extremely proud of what you have thus far started…FORWARD ON>>PSS!

  18. anonymous2
    August 4, 2013

    Good for them. They are showing that this island can support itself.

  19. Good news
    August 4, 2013

    When something good happens in dominica no dog barks.when is something bad all church bells ringing dog barking . Our children are doing positive things all dog a sleep.

    • church bells ring
      August 5, 2013

      Dogs doh bark nor. PSS at it again. Let the church bells ringgggggg. I simply love it. Go Mrs Matthew and your team

  20. LuvNY
    August 4, 2013

    As a former PSS student I am so proud of your accomplishments. Keep working hard. Congrats!!! Well done.

  21. JUDGE DREDD
    August 4, 2013

    love that, good luck guys,
    ALLU HAVE MORE VISION THAN THOSE GREEDY AND CORRUPT MINISTERS IN OFFICE.
    when i came to posse i going to buy one of each, especially the virgin coconut oil which promotes a health immune system.

    good luck

  22. "O" STRESS"
    August 3, 2013

    When will they give MR MCKENZIE his flowers while he is alive? That’s a brother from the East. { Where the wise men came from.” Playing his part as a true servant in a land divided amomgst it self but instead of running away he has stood his ground for the sake of country, despite all the odds and the tireless contributions made by this brother. Keep the faith MR MCkenzie and the real reward will come from above. We are proud of you and your contribution to country. Thank you sir! Just a word of caution for those “RED” BLUE” AND” GREEN.” Take example from this brother. Or take a sit and shut “STFU”.

    • orchid
      August 5, 2013

      It is the students and the school who MUST GET THE FLOWERS. Mr. MCkenzie needs to be congratulated for facilitating them in marketing the products. GREAT WORK STUDENTS! Please remain focused and ensure that you do all in your power to take your products to the highest level so that not only Dominicans can enjoy but the rest of the Caribbean region and the world. The sky’ the limit.

  23. NiKa
    August 3, 2013

    Boy would I love one a few of those tall bottles of coconut oil. Keep it up students and maybe one day in the not so distant future you all will be able to export your products and I could get my hand on some. Great initiative and which ever Minster is responsible for import/export/trade please help them out with some funding to keep their business going to higher heights.

    • NiKa
      August 3, 2013

      s/b “one or a few”

  24. Very Concerned
    August 3, 2013

    Admin

    Please show clearer pictures of the PSS products. Except for the students, the pictures shown here are not PSS products. The students would feel VERY ENCOURAGED TO SEE PICTURES OF THEIR PRODUCTS SHOWN TO THE PUBLIC.

  25. pokey
    August 3, 2013

    everyone says congrats. So do i, But no one seem concerned about the rum punches produced at school, and we expect secondary school children to stop using alcohol. Now students are presenting alcoholic drinks for sale. Well so what is so we come.

  26. Aye
    August 3, 2013

    Great initiative

  27. Anonymous
    August 3, 2013

    Hats off to Ms Matthew for teaching with her heart. She is always so excited about her students and their work. I am appealing to the general public to support the students on their venture, lets students regain school love!

  28. possie
    August 3, 2013

    great job PSS… very proud of my ALMA MATER

  29. Anonymous
    August 3, 2013

    forward we go pss congrats!

  30. Me Dat
    August 3, 2013

    Well done PSS , a step in the right direction. Forward On Forward On!

  31. Mclean Debones
    August 3, 2013

    Thumps up to PSS! God answer prayers and He has no boundaries!Keep up the good work!All the glory and praise belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ. The honour I give to Ms Matthew and here dedicated students.

  32. khannnn
    August 3, 2013

    I so proud of these young students. I am from Roseau,and would like to encourage the students and the Teachers to continue the excellent work. May the good Lord continue to bless the works of their hands.
    So proud t be a Dominican

  33. LCM
    August 3, 2013

    Coconut oil is making a huge comeback and i have seen it on shelves in the US even ranked higher than corn oil up there with olive oil. You guys may be on to something life changing so get ready for it. I love hearing such positive vibes. Mrs Matthew for teacher of the year.
    Add coconut butter on list. Will try to oder some

  34. August 3, 2013

    GO LOCAL. Reduce diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease, cancer, etcetera. GO BACK TO BASICS. CONGRATULATIONS!

  35. Elated
    August 3, 2013

    To Admin

    Please post more pictures of the PSS products. If the write up is about PSS then it is all well and good to show PSS products. We want to see the products which were displayed at the Roseau Market on Friday.

  36. Elated
    August 3, 2013

    congrats to pss and their determination
    great job in marketing

  37. Elated
    August 3, 2013

    Foreward on PSS! I Love you! Big up to
    Ms Matthew and her dedication towards the development of PSS. Also to the hard working students like Geron, Markisha, Kadim, Billy and little Zoe.Hard works pay. This is the beginning of new things to come. Be encouraged! The new light has begun to shine. Please Dominicans lets support our own! Lets help our students to become the real agro-processors in Da.

  38. Jimi Hendrix
    August 3, 2013

    That is an excellent initiative. We are too geared toward being employees after we finish school. Dominica would be miles ahead if we had more entrepreneurs on the island. Bravo PSS.

    Scale this enterprise up, and take a percentage for the school to help fund projects. Give the students a piece of the pie as incentive to others to think of the benefits of entrepreneurship. Great job.

  39. Observer
    August 3, 2013

    I wanna big up the PSS students for their dedication towards the development of such high quality products and in particular to Miss Roseline Matthew their class teacher and mentor. Go students until finished line and let’s take Dominica to the next level! God bless you guys!

  40. Anonymous
    August 3, 2013

    so proud of u guys

  41. Anonymous
    August 3, 2013

    Good initiative. That’s the type of entrepreneurial skills that should be taught at the secondary and tertiary level in Dominica. To many of our programmes are designed to train students to seek employment upon completion instead of creating small businesses of there own.

    It should also be highlighted that all the products on display are agriculture based. So there is potential for the agroprocessing / agribusiness sector which will in turn drive primary production.

    This should be a lesson for the Ministries of Agriculture and Trade. Their policies of late have stagnated the sector but the students young as they may be have taken an initiative which demonstrates that their are opportunities to be explored and there is money to be made within the sector.

    Now I say to the general public and the developmental agencies (govt and private sector)support support support ….and the ministries should take a page out of that book.

    Big up to PSS my alma mater

  42. Ohhh Dominica!
    August 3, 2013

    Wow wow wow! What a brilliant initiative. Don’t know her but I am very impressed with her initiative, what an awesome teacher with excellent foresight.

    This is what you call an innovator!

  43. Observer
    August 3, 2013

    Very Impressed. Congrats to the hard working teachers. Keep up the good work and make us proud.

    • Me Again
      August 3, 2013

      And to McKenzie, who ave them the initial exposure.

  44. PSS legacy
    August 3, 2013

    Asa former student and teacher of the PSS, and having workedwith Ms. Matthew, I’d like to pen my congrats to the said Ms. Matthew and the students. This is a clear example of practical learning. Surely, this is knowledge transfer par excellence. We are proud of PSS, as a premier learning institution in the North, and all those who work tirelessly to ensure the students are our primary focus.

  45. smite
    August 3, 2013

    great to see our youth involved in building self and nation. keep it up. GOD’S SPEED

  46. August 3, 2013

    This will be very good for the country on a whole. Keep up the good work and congratulations to you all.

  47. bev
    August 3, 2013

    FORWARD ON PSS …… THAT IS WHAT LEARING TO DO MEANS …… WHAT EVER WE LEARN IN THE CLASSROOM HAS TO BE RELEVANT…. CONGRATUALTIONS……… SO PROUD OF YOU BEING A FORMER STUDENT OF PSS……..

  48. Samantha
    August 3, 2013

    The is soooo great. Please keep it up PSS.

  49. Concern citizen
    August 3, 2013

    Fantastic, keep it up, next advertise on the web

  50. August 3, 2013

    This is absolutely fantastic. Kids are beginning to think like entrepreneurs instead of future employees

  51. KING WILLY
    August 3, 2013

    Very good job students.Let dem lazy pips sit back and allow the pm to spoil dem with free handouts jus to buy votes.

    • I DIE NU
      August 3, 2013

      Everything for all you is POLITICS!where does the PM coming in there?

      • marion
        August 4, 2013

        how you think they getting top up money and scholarship?

    • PAC
      August 5, 2013

      I agree…some of the young people sit buy the road side and say government don’t do anyting for them. They need to wake up and do for themselves. We can’t blame everything on the government. Way to go young entrepreneurs!!!!

  52. Supported!
    August 3, 2013

    SPLENDID JOB YOUNG ONES! AMAZING!

  53. anonyme.
    August 3, 2013

    this is very refreshing. As a teacher, I am proud of Ms Mathew and her colleagues for what they ve done thus far. this should serve as an inspiration to the rest of us as educators. Let us endeavor in the new school year to be passionate about what we do even when the rewards are not immediately evident.

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