Tue | May 30, 2023

Jamaican innovator boosts social enterprise, makes impact in Dubai

Published:Monday | January 24, 2022 | 12:06 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Lanisia Rhoden at one of her interactive career workshops for high-school students.
Lanisia Rhoden at one of her interactive career workshops for high-school students.

MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

Following her participation as one of 32 persons shortlisted from over 4,000 applicants in the Expo Live Global Innovator Grant Programme, and one of over 140 innovators in the ongoing World Expo 2020 being hosted in Dubai, Chief Executive Officer of the social enterprise Link Your Purpose, Lanisia Rhoden, continues to ensure greater career development opportunities are available for Jamaica’s youth.

Rhoden, who was also the only Jamaica innovator among representatives from 76 other countries, was able to successfully make a pitch on behalf of her organisation and secure grant funding of US$100,000 in February 2020, to improve the offerings of the enterprise, over a 12-month period.

Following that accomplishment, the main expo, which was pushed to October 1, 2021-March 31, 2022, from October 2020-April 2021 as a result of the pandemic, and showcases the best of collaboration and innovation from around the world, had Rhoden returning in December 2021 to present on how young people can find their path.


“Link Your Purpose has grown tremendously since being a part of Expo Live. As an ed-tech social enterprise, we were able to invest in and improve our online career development platform, upgrade the existing services and software, and add additional services to make it more user-friendly. We were also able to employ additional staff members, launch a marketing campaign, and acquire new technological devices for the organisation,” Rhode said.

Through a number of virtual, interactive career workshops for high-school students, mentoring sessions for third-formers who were in the process of selecting their CSEC subjects, among other activities, Rhoden said the organisation was in a better position to reach more students, to help them identify and fulfil their career goals through the platform, which saw over 300 students being engaged.

“The Link Your Purpose platform, following sign-up, allows students to take our interactive career quiz and have the chance to create their own career tracker, access opportunities such as scholarships, internships, jobs, etc, and speak with professionals in the field that they are interested in, through our videoconferencing platform in our online career mentoring community.”

The innovator said she was able to share with other innovators across the world how technology and public-private partnership can boost sustainable development, influencing their desires to have their own high-school students use the platform.

“I also had the opportunity to tour the Emirate Towers, where the office of the minister and other ministries are housed, and it was quite fascinating to see how the government is facilitating entrepreneurship and innovation among youth. Housed on the same building is a youth hub, where young people with innovative ideas have the space and resources to build out their ideas, as well as numerous start-up incubator and accelerator hubs for entrepreneurs not only from the UAE (United Arab Emirates), but also other parts of the world.”

Rhoden said it is hoped that a similar model can be implemented in Jamaica.

“The space shows collaboration with government, youth and the private sector, knowledge sharing, and an ecosystem where all can share and benefit from each other to create impact to the benefit of the country and world. This model is definitely something that the Jamaican youth, entrepreneurs and government can benefit from,” Rhoden said.