Tea maker Shavuot Int’l expands with second farm, factory in St Mary Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

In the lush landscapes of Wynter’s Pen, Spanish Town a family-owned business has blossomed into a beacon of sustainable entrepreneurship. Shavuot International conceptualised by Joel Harris, co-founder and marketing director, has not only achieved significant growth but has also become a testament to the coexistence of business and environmental responsibility.

Established in 2014, the business has been exporting 90 per cent of its Jamaican exotic herbal teas, spices, fruits, gluten-free flour and castor oil to the US, UK Canada, Puerto Rico, Australia, Barbados, Sr Lucia, and the Cayman Islands among other countries.

Recently, Shavuot expanded its operations with a second farm and factory at Baileys Vale Road, Trinity in St Mary to meet the high demand for Jamaican produce in the overseas markets.

Sagicor Bank’s Manufacturing and Agro-processing Loan assisted in turning this vision for growth and expansion into reality. Designed to inject much-needed capital into businesses like Shavuot, the loan offers entrepreneurs up to $50 million to retool and expand with up to 12 years to repay.

“We regard Sagicor (Bank) as a huge part of our success. Thanks to the flexible credit facility, Shavuot was able to pivot during a time that was very crucial for us, not just for growth but also from a risk management perspective. Sagicor Bank has created an unbelievable product that has allowed us to manage our debt, assist with cash flow, and present opportunities for us to place our energies into other areas of the business. We have since added a new overseas market, which we are very excited about,” explained the Harris.

Joel Harris (left), Co-Founder and Marketing Director of Shavuot International greets Michael Willacy, Senior Vice President, Corporate Banking, SME Business Banking and Strategic Business Development Unit at Sagicor Bank Jamaica, during an exclusive tour of the Shavuot Factory in Trinity, St Mary.

As Jamaica continues to navigate the complexities of a rapidly evolving global economy, the role of agro-processors becomes increasingly indispensable, and Harris believes the sector is a catalyst for sustainable agriculture, job creation, and global market penetration. Shavuot currently has over 40 employees.

“Agro-processing should be a key focus for Jamaica at the policy, manufacturing, investment, and consumer levels. Processed goods, such as exotic jams, herbal spices, and beverages, help to create a niche market for our nation’s agricultural exports. Our reputation for high-quality, uniquely Jamaican products has the potential to open doors to new trade partnerships which will inevitably enhance Jamaica’s economic standing on the world stage,” he shared.

For Sagicor Bank, supporting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) is an integral part of the company’s commitment to clients at every stage of their financial life.

According to Michael Willacy, Senior Vice President, Corporate Banking, SME Business Banking and Strategic Business Development Unit at Sagicor Bank: “Our small and medium business clients are a part of a thriving and innovative community. Sagicor Bank has always been an avid supporter of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

He continued: “Our Manufacturing and Agro-processing Loan is designed to help our SMEs, like Shavuot, survive the difficult times and thrive sustainably when they have recovered. Our strategic partnership with Joel and his team exemplifies how we can catalyze growth and truly be in our clients’ corner.”

According to Harris: Shavuot stands for one thing, and that is harvesting goodness.

“This extends beyond our products and applies to our employees, the communities we occupy, as well as the environment. We utilise biodegradable materials in our production processes that are then used in the composting process by other farmers. In compliance with the National Environmental and Planning Agency (NEPA) we ensure our waste treatment aligns with environmentally safe governance. It has always been important to us to leave a negligible impact on the environment as possible.”

This commitment aligns seamlessly with Sagicor Bank’s vision of fostering environmentally conscious business practices.

“By embracing eco-friendly practices, businesses not only contribute to a healthier environment but also enhance the communities in which it operates. Sagicor Bank is pleased to align itself with a client like Shavuot International that is putting sustainability into action for the long-term net positive effect on the environment,” stated Willacy.