I teach CAPE Caribbean Studies to a class of about 20 young people – no one older than 20. They often display reticence to the adoption of technology in our classes, and I often remind them that we are in the 21st century. They’re very likely tired of hearing it by now, but I remind them because I understand that whether they choose to adopt it or not, technology is going to rule the next 10-40 years. Jaianan Hirai has caught on too and he’s doing his best to make information technology a household thing in his home country, Guyana. But he’s doing IT conusulting with a difference. He’s doing it with heart. Read more, to find out the how, and why behind A+ Computer Training Center.
What is the name of your company?
A+ Computer Training Center
What products or services does your company provide?
IT Training and Consulting
If you were headlining a UN event or Ted Talk, how would you love to hear/see your company introduced?
Not Your Traditional Computer Training Center
What inspired the birth of this company?
Got married, was on two weeks leave of absence, returned to work only to find out the company could not have waited for completion of my two weeks leave. Another employee was hired, and I was told to wait for a call which I’ve never gotten up to today (Thank God for that). So newly wed, and with what seemed to be a dead end, I was forced to become an entrepreneur, offering IT training, services and advice to people and companies; co-founder being my wife.
How do you think your company solves any of your village, community, country or region’s problems?
We offer free IT training for under-privileged youth and orphanages in the community with the help of a government ministry and the profits from paying customers. Health fairs are also held where persons in the community can get free blood pressure tests, glucose, HIV, VIA and breast and other cancer examinations.
What would you say has been your greatest challenge as a company thus far and how have you overcome it or how are you working to overcome it?
Our location is the biggest issue. We are in the country area (rural area) and a lot of potential customers are in the city. Talks are on-going to have a center in the city.
What would you say has been your greatest triumph/achievement as a company thus far?
We secured that trust and friendship in the community and we are noted as offering QUALITY IT training which no other training center can match.
What would be your advice to other Caribbean entrepreneurs?
If you ever feel like quitting just hang in there, success will not come overnight. It’s not an easy journey as an entrepreneur, but the rewards will be great. Entrepreneurs are problem solvers so embrace problems and issues; that’s the reason you became an entrepreneur, to solve an issue you saw and to make a difference.
What is your vision for entrepreneurship in your country or in the Caribbean?
My vision is to see youth, doesn’t matter race or religion, get an equal chance at becoming qualified in the IT areas.
1. More emphasis needs to be on youths and technology.
2. Focus on the less fortunate youths, bright minds are everywhere.
What would you say has been your most valued entrepreneurial lesson during the journey so far?
After many many years, heart breaks and proposals to get funding from the government to provide free training to under-privileged youths, one day I met an employee of the Ministry and got a meeting. They like what I had to say and came on board. It’s important to believe in your vision and persevere.
The Man Behind the Company
Country of Birth
Country of Residence
Favorite Music Artist
No one special: just love good music
Too many to list.
What is the book/books that you’ve given most as a gift and why?
Bhagavad Gita As It Is (Hindu Text): Teaches you what is life all about, why we have adversity in our lives and how to be calm during adversity.
What are the three books that have most influenced your life?
- Bhagavad Gita As It Is
- Life comes from Life
- Coming Back
What recent purchase of yours has most positively impacted your life?
Replaced an old laptop with a new professional one
How has a failure of yours set you up for later success?
What is a quote that you think of often or live your life by?
If you are going through hell, continue walking.
What is one of the most worthwhile investments that you have made?
The opening of the IT Training center, purchase of computers and printers.
In the past three years what belief, behavior or habit has most improved your life?
Be patient and always treat people right.
What advice would you give to a school leaver in your country about the braving the uniqueness of the entrepreneurial environment in your country?
Take the leap, ignore the negatives, they will (Negatives) come from the people you least expect it from.
When you feel overwhelmed/unfocused what do you do?
Take a break and go back.
Who most inspires you? What about their life, habits or model have inspired you?
My paternal grandmother was a small time plantain chip seller way up to her late 80’s. She never had a formal education, dropped out of school very young, but still could have read and do math calculations. She was always on time everyday for the 27 years that I knew her, anger never got the better of her; never heard a bad word from her about anyone and upon her death she had millions of dollars that could have completed her funeral, not putting that burden on anyone.Her life taught me a few things: you do not stop doing what you love, discipline is key, always try to be independent and never give up because of age.