After visiting a bookstore and being displeased with what he saw, Altano Morgan decided to start his own I Can! brand of notebooks, which, he hopes, will help to empower people with the messages that they bear.
Morgan, who is the chairman of Canaan Family Entertainment Limited, said he decided to start the brand in 2009.
"It started when I visited a bookstore and saw some books with some secular artistes on it. It came to me to start a book that had gospel artistes on it," he told The Sunday Gleaner. "While talking with my wife, we decided to put a message on the book that will help to empower people and transform their lives."
The books have the images of gospel artistes such as Ryan Mark, Prodigal Son, Goddy Goddy, DJ Nicholas, Teena Tamara, Jason Mighty and Kevin Downswell, as well as gospel radio host Nadine Blair. Some of the notebooks also have images of different scenes in Jamaica.
Morgan said he decided to use the images of gospel artistes on the books because, "Some persons gravitate to persons that they know. Persons come specifically for that reason but then they will open the book and see the message".
"On every page we have a message so that you will see this motivating you when you are going through and doing your work," he said.
As part of the I Can! brand, there are other products such as hardcover and softcover notebooks, stenopads, pocketbooks, pens, pencils and notebook with places in Jamaica that were designed for the tourism market.
But before he was able to start the I Can! brand, Morgan had several setbacks. In 2005, he was made medically redundant. Nonetheless, he persevered and started a company called Altano's, which manufacturesd breast-feeding pillows and crib sets. He also started a sound system that catered to the gospel industry.
With no knowledge of how to manufacture and print books, he went to someone else who had the expertise. However, this did not work out.
making a move
Eventually, he decided to start manufacturing the books himself.
"I took The Sunday Gleaner and looked in it for printing equipment. I called the man and every equipment you want, him have it. The Tuesday I took my son to school and saw a friend of mine and told him about the dilemma and he gave me the money to buy the equipment and he told me to give him back the money in three years," Morgan said.
Soon after, he found a place to operate his business from at a small shop on Molynes Road. With the equipment and the shop, Morgan said he found someone to teach him how to start producing the books.
With four persons on staff, Morgan said he plans to expand his facilities and the range of products he offers. In addition, he said he would like to get more equipment to do all production work at his company.
The entrepreneur also said he would like the message to reach the youth in the inner-city communities, but he would need help to do this.
"If we had the capabilities to supply the books without anything at all we would, but we can't. So that is why we need some companies to come on board," he told The Sunday Gleaner.
Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter, The Gleaner