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Small Businesses Going for Growth! Highlights from Credit Union Week 2020

Gateway Co-operative Credit Union's mission has always been to empower its members by providing excellent service and sound financial guidance. We continued this mandate with our 3-Day Virtual Conference which took place under the theme Small Businesses … Going for Growth”. Surely, we’d have loved to engage physically with all our members but taking the conference online allowed us to keep energies high and introduce thought-provoking discussions while keeping our members safe!

Our Conference was hosted from October 12- 14 to help kick off the much anticipated Credit Union Week 2020: Inspiring Hope for a Global Community. Great timing, don't you agree? We all could use a little inspiration during these tumultuous times. The week spanned October 11 - 17 2020, with International Credit Union (ICU) Day being celebrated on Thursday, October 15, 2020.

Historically, ICU Day was celebrated in January with the Inception Date being January 17, 1927. The day emerged from a deep desire to establish an annual occasion to acknowledge the important role of the Credit Unions' in creating an opportunity for their members and communities, as well as the achievements of pioneers who laid the foundation for ongoing credit unions' success. In time, it would grow into a full week packed with exciting activities for the credit union and its members!

Credit Unions’ Week is the highlight of our calendar, it's where we spotlight truly giving back to our members and building the communities we operate within. With such a special occasion upon us, we are eager to find new innovative ways to celebrate without compromising the health of our members.

JCCUL Comedy Watch Party: October 11,2020

On Sunday, October 11 we streamed a Watch Party for the Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League(JCCUL) Comedy Show which featured host Chris ‘Johnny’ Daley, as well as comedians Dahlia Harris, Chris Larmond, and Kathy Grant with a Special Guest Performance by Wayne Marshall. The evening was marked with laughter, entertainment, and giveaways to kick off Credit Union Week Celebrations.

3-Day Virtual Conference: October 12-14, 2020

Following an exciting Sunday afternoon, we began our 3-Day Virtual Conference, “Small Businesses...Going for Growth”. The Conference targeted MSMEs with the aim of empowering them with tools to help them grow their business, navigate these uncertain times and inform them of resources available to allow them to become more knowledgeable within their respective industries.

Day 1: “Maintaining Good Mental Health in Times of Crisis” & “Estate Planning”

To speak on this crucial topic we were joined by Dr. Charmaine Johnson-Garwood, Director of Clinical Services at Child, Adolescent & Adult Research, Evaluation and Support (CAARES) Psychological Services. She shared valuable advice on how to check in with yourself during these difficult times. Dr. Garwood also provided great insight into protecting your mental space, how to check on those you think might be struggling mentally and warning signs to look out for.

For the following topic, “Estate Planning”, we were guided by Gloria Brown, Attorney-at-Law and Senior Partner at Brown, Findlay & Co., on how to prepare for the future and protect your family in the event of your incapacitation or death.

We ended the day beautifully with an engaging Question and Answer Segment of the presentation.

Day 2: "All You Need to Know about Business Planning" &” Taxation - What You Need to Know”

We discussed our first topic with Charlieanna Bailey-Carey, Business Development Officer/Research Assistant at Jamaica Business Development Corporation. She provided viewers with useful information as to how to properly plan for your business’ future.

Our next guest, Lavern O’hara Jenkins, Taxpayer Education Officer at TAJ explored "Taxation - What You Need to Know". Taxation is often met with high anxiety for most so having Ms. O'hara Jenkins breakdown down this often misunderstood topic was particularly helpful for MSMEs who had various queries about the subject.

We facilitated our usual Question and Answer section with our experts which was met with much curiosity.

Day 3: "Managing your Business...Managing your Finances" & "Driving your Small Business through Digital Marketing"

On our final day we were joined by Nevada Powe, Chief Project Architect of the PSOJ's AFFP Project who presented on the topic "Managing your Business...Managing your Finances". Mr. Powe guided viewers through various strategies and tools they could implement to ensure they were operating their business and overseeing their finances in a way that was optimal.

Following, we had a discussion on "Driving your Small Business through Digital Marketing", presented by Debra Haughton, Digital Marketing Strategist and Director at ImagenNation. This topic was particularly of major interest as Digital Marketing is a key tool that can be used to reach consumers you may not be able to reach physically during these times.

We had our usual Question and Answer session which was met with much excitement.

International Credit Union Day: October 15, 2020

On Thursday, October 15, International Credit Union Day, we distributed seedlings to our members across all branches (10,000 seedlings) as part of our Grow What You Eat initiative.

We also did the handing over of our Herman Johnson and Bayley Haye Scholarships at our Fairview Office.

Tablet Distribution: October 16, 2020

Finally, on Friday, October 16, we distributed tablets to some students in need in the western region. This endeavor was made possible through collaboration with the Social Development Commission.

In light of Covid-19 certain protocols had to be adopted

  • We moved our events online (Our Watch Party for the JCCUL Comedy Show and Our 3-Day Virtual Conference both streamed on Facebook Live

  • In-house participants in our Conference were required to wear masks and were seated in a socially distant manner

  • We handed out masks to in-branch visitors.

Thank You to All Who Made this Week Possible!

Overall the planned activities were a marked success and would not have been possible without our members’ active engagement. We would like to use the opportunity to extend our most sincere thanks to all parties involved and look forward to continuing to serve all our members.

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