#MyWorldMonday - Owen Grant: “I always knew how much I wanted to make”
Owen Grant, 41, founded Country Court Jamaica in 2017 after seeing a need to take produce from the farm to the table. After a failed attempt at doing meat products at the onset of the start-up, Grant had the idea to take elements of Coronation Market and merge with the convenience of offering consumers the opportunity to receive their favorite farm fresh foods at their favorite neighbourhood supermarkets.
At last week’s win of the Maxine McLure Trophy for Most Improved Cases at the Annual Sagicor Group Jamaica Corporate Awards, this once ‘indisciplined’ young man, has big dreams ahead including domination in the Food and Packaging Industry locally of which he’s already staking a hefty claim.
But who is Owen Grant and what made him start the business he now runs while at Sagicor?
This is his story on a special post Corporate Awards edition of #MyWorldMonday.
We meet Owen, busy as per usual, the life of an advisor, this time via phone as his day’s getting ahead of him. Settled, he agrees to speak with us about his business, not just surviving, it thrives.
“I always see myself living a particular way and achieving certain things; if daddy is doing this, then I can do it too.”
His father is famed Sagicor Life advisor, the late Walter Grant, record-breaker, history-maker, all around great guy. Back to the story.
He recalls his 25 year-old self watching in awe as his father pulled up in a brand new vehicle; setting the foundation and drive.
Walter Snr gave Owen the push to do more and want more out of life - in fact Owen vividly remembers the sayings of his father "black man get up outta di bed early cause nuh ooman nah come mind yuh"; That played in his head daily and allowed him to build character. His dad would often make him pull weeds regularly, Owen saw this as punishment, his father, saw this as discipline.
'It helped to mould me into the person I am today', says Owen.
6 months after he saw his dad with that car, Owen bought a new vehicle as well.
Initially his father warned him against going into Life Insurance as Owen, according to his father lacked discipline. His father constantly told him to join the army or the police force; but failure pushed him to insurance. Failure and learning from his growth is a continuous thread with Grant, but it wouldn't be until his glimpsed he father's pay slip as a teen that he became interested in insurance. He was determined to get structure and fight through his issues.
It’s this same spirit of growth that courses through Owen’s veins; due in part to his forever mentor, his father. A far cry from the lad he was growing up, Owen sees ambition as the driving force behind all his success, not talent. “If you don't have ambition you can have talent ‘til God come, it won’t come together. It's from the ambition that I get up to have purpose and the drive to get up and get going (daily)”.
This ambition was the birthplace of his latest venture, Country Court Jamaica.
After a brainstorm of what would be the next big business venture, he noticed the gap in farming; after the produce was made, the in-roads through packaging and distribution were a typical standstill. The father of three focused his company on offering quality and convenience through farming, packaging & distribution; this he said would allow the company to grow, offering services with a value added chain.
“The truth is most farmers produce goods or products but they don’t know where to take the goods; I decided to come with the packaging business to buy the goods, package and deliver to supermarket shelves”, said Grant.
Data Was The Key
The genesis of this genius move, was embedded generations ago on a family farm, owned by his grandparents. Upon doing his research and seeing the then import/export data, Owen decided on the move. “After seeing how much we import, like close to 1 billion worth of farm stuff per year; I said if we are importing that much stuff per year, if someone can even 1% in that market, they can become a Jamaican billionaire”.
To that end, Country Court engages in commercial farming, a continuation from his grandparents’ movements and his own foray into farming, always ensuring he owned the process, every step of the way. This idea of ownership continues as Grant notes, is key that they ‘secure the crop’, it’s in his DNA.
His grandparents, then large scale banana farmers in St. Mary instilled in him the value of hard work, while on his trips to the farm this value, in his words, was ‘unconsciously passed down’ to both his father, Walter Grant and then to him. Over time, he developed an appreciation for the family trade but wanted more. He now owns his grandparent’s land and leases other land to expand the business.
His father, the late and great Walter Grant, award winning advisor and entrepreneur at heart, dabbled in real estate as his side hustle in addition to farming; Though coconut trees and plantain were his main crops he had other smaller ventures that made him money on the side. Always having a vision, like his father, Owen sees the business growing to the scale of a GK Foods in the next two decades. It’s possible.
Considering the fact that currently, the company’s growing client list includes the likes of General Foods and Loshusan, major hotels and an export arm, we think Country Court is one to watch. The company recently added a new director, Owen’s brother, Walter Grant Junior to the team in a strategic growth role.
He notes that his greatest driver so far as his children, but his long term goal is to start a charity program to give back and help people, this includes a home for the aged. “I want to be able to help some people so that when I’m gone someone can say that person was a great man”. Currently he’s working on himself.
Self-described as impatient, Grant notes that movement is very important, not just talk, action. In fact, if time travel were a thing, he would tell his 25 year old self to:
Get up earlier.
Work twice as hard.
Decide to do things and do it differently.
His greatest achievement in life is being able to constantly better and constantly reinvent himself in everything he does. That includes the company in every way possible. His advice to others in business? “Don’t give up, when you try something and it doesn’t work a particular way, try again, a different way. Continue pushing and don’t give up”
To learn more about Owen and Country Court Jamaica, visit here. For more on Sagicor culture, work life and inspiring team member stories, follow us on our LinkedIn page.