From fear to financial freedom – A mother’s story
It is every mother’s wish. To be able to take care of her children as adequately as possible.
At least, this is what Jodi-Ann Dill was trying to do for her two children, both under six years old, before Covid-19 struck.
“I was a freelancer, particularly in customer support, but it wasn’t generating enough to take care of my family,” says Jodi-Ann.
Without a partner to help shoulder the load, Jodi-Ann knew she needed a miracle when the economy began constricting under the Covid-19 pressure in April of this year.
“I needed financial stability, especially when the pandemic struck. So when I saw the ad on the N.C.B. Foundation Facebook page to pay for online courses for persons who had lost their source of income due to Covid-19, it seemed like the answers to my prayers,” Jodi-Ann recalls.
That answer was the N.C.B. Foundation Level Up Grant programme; a J$25M initiative targeted at Jamaicans who were unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Grant programme, done in partnership with iCreate Institute, Northern Caribbean University (NCU) and Internet Income Jamaica Limited (IIJ) offered participants, the opportunity to complete online courses designed to enable them to start earning online immediately following completion of the modules.
However, it would take Jodi-Ann two weeks to fill out the application.
“While I needed this opportunity, I couldn’t believe it was true. This was nothing I had ever heard of before being done by a Jamaican entity. They were offering free courses from the country’s premier online training institution and other top educational entities to help us get back on our feet!”
After getting over the initial shock and bolstered by research into Internet Income Jamaica Limited’s offerings, Jodi-Ann took the plunge.
“I had a choice of three educational institutions to complete training but I chose Internet Income Jamaica Limited because my research showed that they have the widest selection of online training courses and they are all hands-on, with coaches who themselves work on trusted freelancing platforms. As a freelancer, that’s what I needed. I needed to know that whatever I was getting into, my earning potential was guaranteed and that I had qualified mentors who could help me streamline my business,” she said.
Today, Jodi-Ann admits that she made the right choice, having graduated from the programme with two key category certificates from her group of over 200 students.
“I have started earning in both US and local currencies. It was difficult being a freelancer before, all on my own with two kids but I am grateful for the guidance and easy-to-follow courses from the team at Internet Income Jamaica Limited. The programme comes with real access to mentors and a community that is always ready to help with your online business. I was given strategies that worked and continues to work to build my business. I am certainly on my way to the financial freedom I have craved for so long,” says Jodi-Ann.
The N.C.B. Foundation Level Up Grant programme has helped over 1000 unemployed Jamaicans like Jodi-Ann, transition to meaningful online entrepreneurship in just under three months. The Foundation credits this unprecedented success to its drive for minimizing poverty through education and kickstarting the economy following the decline brought about by COVID-19.
“These grants for short-term online courses allow us to stay true to our roots and core focus on education and our push towards enhancing digital literacy and adoption. We are vigorously and continuously seeking ways to assist unemployed persons to resume earning income to support themselves and their families,” said Nadeen Matthews Blair, Chief Executive Officer, N.C.B. Foundation.
Internet Income Jamaica Limited in particular has had immense success with its cohort earning in surplus of JA$6,800,000 since the start of the programme.
Alicia Lyttle, CEO of Internet Income Jamaica Limited, says the overwhelming accomplishment of the Level Up Grant programme proves that Jamaica is now fully embracing online entrepreneurship as a viable method of earning a living, a path her company has been charting for over ten years.
“Our team at Internet Income Jamaica has been advocating for more persons to become gainfully employed through online entrepreneurship. While it saddens us that it took a pandemic to expose the immense opportunities that are available in the digital space, we are happy that organisations like the N.C.B. Foundation saw the need to steer our workforce in this direction. There is no other legal job that one can expect to earn the amounts that our students have earned as entry-level business owners in just under three months. The global marketplace is now almost completely online. We have to wake up to this reality and prepare to compete with the rest of the world,” said the CEO.
The N.C.B. Foundation Level Up Grant programme, was initially scheduled for two months but has been extended another month by popular demand, giving students increased access to mentorship and new courses.