Nominated to SBA National Small Business Awards:
Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Hernández Sibilly are an asset to the small business community through their dedication and commitment to the success of promoting the US Virgin Islands. When they started working on developing their business plan, Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Hernández Sibilly had one common goal, becoming independent no matter what. They both were interested in opening a business in which they were knowledgeable, and felt comfortable. This is how Media Marketing started, and has now been in existence for five years.
Media Marketing has grown to be “the” publishing company for the Virgin Islands Tourism Guides. Through their printed products, they reach to approximately 500,000 people a year, duplicating this number through their on-line virtual editions. All their products are varied, and they provide as much information as one may need to learn, and understand our culture, our islands, and our people.
400,000 copies of Places to Explore are distributed annually throughout the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. It is also distributed at all of the stateside offices of the USVI Department of Tourism and are available at many off island trade and travel shows. Places to Explore contains information on history and culture, activities and attractions, shopping, dining, water sports, land sports, transportation and more. It contains a handy pull-out map, ferry and taxi schedules, calendars of events and a reference directory in the back of the book.
100,000 copies of the Marine Guide are distributed annually throughout the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, stateside by the USVI Department of Tourism and at many on and off island marine shows and events. It is the only guide of its kind serving the U.S. Virgin Islands and contains all of the information anyone needs to know while chartering in our waters, from customs information to locations and amenities of all our marinas. Also, it contains a reference directory in the back of the book.
There is one thing that ALL visitors must do while enjoying our islands. EAT! The Places to Eat Map provides a listing of not only some of the finest dining establishments on St. Thomas, but also a map that directs you right to their front door.
Media Marketing has grown to be the main provider of information for both locals and tourist, directing them to the different attractions our islands provide. Their books are displayed at our ports, hotels, groceries and stores; they have developed an excellent distribution system, and have been successful with making their products available at all times. Distribution tools necessary for a sustainable and growing media business.
The Virgin Islands Small Business Development Center, through its business counselor Mr. Daryl Edwards provided counseling services to Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Hernández Sibilly during their start-up stage. They had previous experience in the business which allowed them to have much of their plan prepared when they visited UVI-SBDC. We provided the technical assistance in reviewing the plan, and offered additional information in terms of opportunities for funding that were available. We also assisted them with their loan packaging.
The Business Plan assistance provided by VI-SBDC was essential. It gave Media Marketing the opportunity to really take a look at their proposed venture and determine if this business was something they not only believed in, but was a concept that would work for them and the community. In the publishing business, printing companies require payments in advance, and in their case, most advertisers preferred to withhold payment until they saw the finished project since it was a new company. Thanks to the assistance provided by UVI-SBDC, they were able to secure a $150,000.00 SBA loan through FirstBank Puerto Rico, which assisted them to cover their start-up cost in lieu of these advanced payments.
From Daryl Edwards, Business Counselor II who worked directly with Media Marketing: “Mrs. Rita Jones and Mrs. Jennifer Hernández Sibilly are as close as possible to being perfect clients. At the VI-SBDC, we encourage our clients to pursue business ventures in which they are passionate about, conduct research about the industry their business is in, and also to take the initiative to launch these ventures. We at the VI-SBDC then will be in a better position to assist them.”
“When Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Hernández Sibilly came in for counseling, I immediately sensed their deep passion for this business venture. Whenever a client comes to me for counseling, I question them to determine the feasibility of their business idea. I was impressed by the knowledge the two ladies had about the industry. I provided them with the verbal and written guidance necessary to prepare their business plan in order to obtain funding for this venture. They took the initiative to prepare an impressive business plan that needed only a few modifications, although this was their first attempt in preparing a business plan!
The process for obtaining funding for their business venture took longer than usual because of some technicalities. However, Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Hernández Sibilly persevered and obtained the necessary funding and launched a successful business.
For all the reasons mentioned above, the VI SBDC nominated Media Market for the Small Business of the year for three straight years. Finally in 2006, they were recognized as the VI-SBDC Small Business of the year. I am elated that they have now been nominated as Small Business Persons of the Year for both the district and nationally. They are an excellent choice!
The Virgin Islands Small Business Development Center was honored to present the nomination of Mrs. Rita Jones and Mrs. Jennifer Hernández Sibilly to become the Small Business Person of the Year for both the District and the National Awards. They are exceptional women in business and a great example to our community. The United States Virgin Islands is proud to have a small business with such great potential. They are wives, parents, grand parents, and as women in business, they are committed to giving the best of them in their private and public lives.
Financially, Media Marketing has grown 23% within the last three years. Since their beginning, their products have increased not only in the number of customers, but in page count as well. Additionally, Media Marketing has entered into contracts to be local representatives for magazines published by other companies, as well as special projects for small local businesses. Their newest venture for 2007 was putting their publications on-line in virtual formats, making the distribution “virtually” unlimited. Anyone with internet access can browse their books in their entirety on-line at www.mediamarketinginc.net.
This technological accomplishment has allowed them to reach beyond the Virgin Islands boundary and expanding their business globally.
In 3 years, Media Marketing hopes to still be a small business, broadening their revenue and clientele, enhancing their on-line versions, and increasing their relationship with other small businesses assisting them with special media projects.
As said by Media Marketing: “We like the position we are currently in, and hope to continue helping enhance our tourism market by providing as much helpful information as we can to people around the world”.
Unfortunately, Media Marketing was not the final selection for the District, however, they remain a strong candidate for future nominations.