St Ann businesswoman closing the ‘Gapp’ thanks to Honey Bun and Digicel foundations

Nordian Thompson is finally ready and equipped to revolutionise her online business.

The small business owner was the first user to download The Honey Bun Foundation’s Gapp App and complete the app’s survey, which identifies gaps in a company’s business model.

The Digicel Foundation, which is a partner of the application, donated a laptop to Thompson for being the first to use the app during its live-stream launch recently.

Thompson had downloaded the Gapp App after watching The Honey Bun Foundation’s live launch. Her aim was to identify potential growth areas in her St Ann-based clothing boutique, Porte-Bonheur.

Speaking about her early days as a business owner operating online, Thompson said: “It was incredibly challenging. I started with a ZTE Blade – a-not-so-smart phone, but I had to make it work. I often had issues accessing certain apps to edit or to set up posts that required using a computer.

“I once had a small business Zoom presentation and was unable to showcase my products as I needed a computer, or any other device, which I didn’t have access to at the time.”

Now, equipped with her new laptop, Thompson can do so much more. She fondly recalls the moment she found out she had won the grand prize from the Gapp App launch.

“I was in shock. I was screaming, hugging my friend and I sent it to a few persons asking: ‘Hey, you see this? That’s me, right?’ Oh my God, I was overjoyed – super excited. At one point I became teary because a few days prior I was looking at a laptop. I was just saying like, ‘This is you, God. ‘ ”

Now there is no stopping this budding entrepreneur who started her store while also overseeing her mother’s grocery shop and working part-time at a bill payment outlet in her community of Bonham Spring in St Ann.

Now, Thompson is focused on closing the gaps identified through the Gapp App survey.

For her, using the app was eye-opening. “I was just focused on having what was needed and providing it. I didn’t realise that there were other routes to marketing that I was overlooking that would aid my sales projection,” said Thompson.

“I never had a business plan, and no way to identify the areas of my business that I could improve on. I just took what I had saved and decided I wanted to do something for myself and I did,” added Thompson.

Having used the app, Thompson said the most immediate change she will introduce to her business is accountability.

“I was just spending and replacing, and after I started using the Gapp App, I realised that I did not even know if I was operating at a profit or loss. So, now I am more selective when making purchases, researching cheaper vendors while satisfying the need for quality, yet affordable items. I am working towards a greater score for my next review,” declared Thompson.

She is now looking to the future and sees her business someday becoming, “a recognised entity that will provide employment for Jamaicans – an example to other small businesses that with commitment, hard work, dedication, and a dream the impossible will always become possible”.

According to general manager of The Honey Bun Foundation Nashauna Lalah, Thompson’s experience perfectly captures the aim of the Gapp App.

“The benefits Nordian gained from the app are exactly what we intended and what we want more small and medium businesses to access.

“The fact that the grand prize from the Digicel Foundation was also such an essential missing piece of the puzzle for her gives me goosebumps. It’s the start of great success for Nordian and we’ll be here to guide her and others like her along the way,” said Lalah.

Speaking of the partnership, Digicel Foundation CEO Charmaine Daniels, said: “We have to look out for our SMEs [small- and medium-sized enterprises]and social enterprises. These are the businesses that are being started in communities and have untapped potential to impact lives.”

Daniels said the Digicel Foundation’s vision is to create a world where no one gets left behind and that is achieved through its three portfolios: education, special needs, and community development.

“At the heart of everything we do, community is key because where Digicel grows, so, too, should the communities we work with – small business owners have a big role to play in that,” said Daniels.

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