Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 25th 2014 Contents SEPTEMBER 2014 • WEEK FOUR www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG5
Mazuree Colin Ali, chief executive officer
of TriniTrolley, is planning to launch the
country s first privately-owned business
incubator over the next 12 months.
"I would say 99 per cent of incubators in the US are privately
owned. I am talking about incubators that helped launch plat-
forms like Twitter. I am convinced that a privately-owned
incubator will foster a dynamic and robust level of entrepre-
neurship within T&T. I have plans to launch the first formal
privately-owned incubator in 12 months with mentorship,
training, access to capital, venture capitalists and more," he
Ali spoke to the Business Guardian in an interview at Guardian
Media Ltd, St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain, last Friday
In September 2013, Ali went to the United States on the
"A New Beginning Programme: Business and Innovation," a
project of the International Visitor Leadership Programme
(IVLP) of the US State Department.
On this visit, he was able to pick up many ideas on the
business incubators among others he intends to implement
in T&T over the next year.
The project was a follow up to United States President
Barack Obama s 2009 "A New Beginning" speech in Cairo,
Egypt, and the 2010 Presidential Summit on entrepreneurship.
The president s speech was such a landmark achievement
and inspiration that the US Department of State and Entre-
preneur s Organisation (EO) partnered for a four-year initiative
called "A New Beginning: Entrepreneurship and Business Inno-
vation" Programme to focus on business innovation and entre-
preneurship for 28 delegates from emerging markets, developing
countries, and countries undergoing significant transition.
Ali said the programme addresses important issues and
challenges in advancing entrepreneurship, promoting job cre-
ation, enhancing access to capital and creating entrepreneurial
"In its final year in 2013, T&T was nominated by our US
Embassy and eventually selected by the State Department. It
is quite an achievement for our country and the US Embassy
stressed the importance of showcasing its merits. The three-
week project included visits to several states such as Washington,
Portland, Dallas and New York," he said.
Referring to the Ministry of Labour s IBIS programme and
other local business incubators, Ali said the business incubators
in T&T have not met their goal of helping start ups and it
is time the private sector gets involved.
"Stories matter. Have you ever heard of any success stories
coming out of government-owned incubators that are spending
millions? I plan on showcasing every aspect of my incubator
with hopes that other entrepreneurs start their own in T&T.
It will succeed as opposed to public incubators because stake-
holders will have vested interest in seeing your idea succeed.
"We all want to succeed and be successful. It is a lot deeper
than just repaying a loan. It is about a vision and changing
the way we perceive and think. We should not have to rely
on the Government for jobs and certainly not for our ideas.
That was the whole purpose of that trip and its importance.
It is about the United States belief that we as entrepreneurs
are responsible for closing the gap between government and
private sector. We owe it to ourselves as social entrepreneurs,"
Ali said many good ideas are lost everyday in T&T because
young entrepreneurs do not have access to people who can
help bring their ideas to fruition.
"Being a past coach and guest speaker at events such as
Caribbean Digital Expo 2013 and StartUp Weekend (an inter-
national Organisation that recently started in Trinidad last
year 2013), I am aware of hundreds of people with brilliant
ideas that lack the resources to execute their ideas to fruition.
I plan on changing that."
Ali said the problem in T&T is there is too much reliance
on the State for everything.
"In the United States, however, the government does not
create jobs, they rely on entrepreneurs to do that."
He said there is not enough coaching in local incubators.
"So I may get a few other investors and start screening
people with business ideas that would realistically work. Then
we provide resources from a phone to a computer to a room
to whatever is needed. We, as the investors, would have our
criteria on getting back the capital that we would spent. But
we will make sure that start up succeed. So if you have an
app you want to develop, come to TriniTrolley and we will
help you and you can use TriniTrolley s resources and we will
help you and give you a reasonable timeframe in which to
develop your business idea."
Ali said he visited the head offices of some of the United
States large multinational corporations in 2013, which sparked
He visited the Nike World headquarters in Portland, Microsoft
headquarters in New York and other Fortune 500 companies.
"They all exposed how they operate, and shared inside
knowledge, tools and skills for running an effective business.
Nike World headquarters was most inspiring, seeing behind
the scenes of how the company was started, the challenges
they faced and how they got to where they are and, of course,
some of their strategies and advice. Seeing the Michael Jordan
and Tiger Woods buildings and knowing that they frequent
the headquarters to relax as a place of solitude was unbe-
lievable," he said.
Ali also visited Wieden and Kennedy Advertising in Portland,
one of the largest advertising companies in the United States.
The company is responsible for top international brands like
Nike, Coca Cola, Chrysler and Facebook.
Ali said Wieden and Kennedy have a good incubator pro-
gramme T&T can learn from.
"They have a incubator programme called Portland Incubator
Experiment (PIE). It is a dynamic programme. They bring in
mostly tech startups and there is a timeframe in which you
have to complete your proposals. There is literally a clock that
tells you the time in which you have to finish. It was a spring-
board for many ideas," he said.
Ali also visited Microsoft s New York head office.
"One of the top sales coaches in the United States, Jim
Ryerson, also spoke to us about sales pitches and how to
execute sales. He trains companies. People from Amazon s
sales team also spoke to us," he said.
From that experience, Ali learnt that thinking differently
leads to innovation.
"Being a game changer and adapting to the culture that
surrounds is one of the lessons I learnt from Microsoft. I think
that is what we have done at TriniTrolley, we have innovat-
One of the main ideas Ali got while on the business pro-
gramme he hopes to implement in T&T is the new focus on
business about not just generating profits, but the role of
entrepreneurs in giving back to society.
He gave his experience in helping to pack food in the North
Texas Food Bank in Texas on the programme in 2013.
"I visited the North Texas Food Bank in Dallas and helped
package food. After they weighed the amount of food we
packaged, they told us we helped feed 1,800 people that night!
Then they showed us how we can implement strategies in our
businesses and in our countries to help and become more
socially responsible as entrepreneurs."
He wants to implement a similar model in T&T.
"I have already begun speaking to restaurants and food
places that are becoming more involved and they are beginning
to see the social impact for their business. Of course, it does
not hurt their business advertising opportunities as being
more socially responsible. I am showing them its a win-win
situation. If executed effectively, we can ensure no one goes
hungry in T&T again," he said.
He said businesses assisting the community is something
that businesses in T&T do not really pay attention to and this
has to change.
"We should not be relying on the Government to feed people
or for jobs. It is the role of businesses and entrepreneurs to
play this role. When you look at businesses in the United
States, this is where they are moving to, they are giving back
to society," he said.
Ali said TriniTrolley, which he founded in 2009, has several
new services and features launching next year that will change
the scope of e-commerce in Trinidad and the Caribbean.
TriniTrolley is viewed by many as a local Amazon.com
where consumers order goods online.
Some of its future initiatives include partnering with multi-
national financial services company for an alternative form of
payment on TriniTrolley which can be extended to other e-
retailers in Trinidad.
Introducing more departments on TriniTrolley that would
showcase services throughout Trinidad and not just the tra-
ditional physical goods. The company is also moving up the
islands offering products and services.
They have enjoyed considerable success from PayPal being
introduced to T&T from breakthroughs in ICT along with
over 5,000 seller accounts from sellers across Trinidad and
the world from Kiss Cakes and RIK Bookstores to the average
man all reaching a wider market.
TriniTrolley holds strong relationships with local and inter-
national conglomerates like MasterCard.
Ali has been nominated for the T&T Chamber of Industry
and Commerce s Champions of Business Awards---Emerging
Entrepreneur, to be held in October at Hyatt Regency Trinidad
TriniTrolley CEO plans
I plan on showcasing every
aspect of my incubator with hopes
that other entrepreneurs start
their own in T&T. It will succeed
as opposed to public incubators
will have vested interest
in seeing your idea succeed.
MAZUREE COLIN ALI
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