It only takes one idea, one dream, and one person to make a difference. Steve McDonald is a prime example of what one can do when they follow their dreams.
Steve grew up in the small seaside town of Savanna la mar, on the southwest coast of Jamaica.
From an early age, Steve started spending his free time at his family farm in Lennox Bigwoods, a tiny rural community in the parish of Westmoreland. The journey from Savanna la mar to Lennox Bigwoods was full of adventure for Steve but it was his love for farming that grab his attention.
Every Friday and Saturday, Steve would accompany his cousin to the bustling local food market in Savanna la mar where they would sell their produce. This was Steve’s first exposure to the savvy business skills of each bargain hunter.
Through his tenure at Mannings School, Steve began to develop a passion for business. His early interaction with small farmers and consumers, many of whom he called Aunty and Uncle, steered him in the direction of social entrepreneurship.
He knew he had to be socially responsible in any business venture that he created. He also knew that the power of “us” as a Caribbean people-no matter where we live, was important.
Like most of us, reality set in and a new chapter in his life started. That journey took him to Toronto, Canada where he build a strong career in financial planning. At the same time he remain committed to strengthening the network of Jamaicans in Toronto.
For those who know Steve, he is always involved in organizations related to either a wider network of Jamaicans abroad or alumni associations. One such association is the Toronto Chapter of Manning’s Past Student Association, where he sits on the executive committee.
A few years ago while listening to the radio in Jamaica, Steve heard a farmer saying that they had watermelon spoiling in the field, while the radio show host was saying that there was shortage in the capital city.
That led him to create yaadmarket.com, which is a free to-use online noticeboard. This platform connects buyers and sellers of agricultural produce.
But Steve’s vision goes beyond simply making money. He remembered his childhood days-his “Aunties” and “Uncles”, who toiled hard in fields, the old lady who didn’t have much to buy the almost spoiled cabbage. Experiences like these have helped to shape the direction for his new platform.
Yaadmarket.com is as a way to use technology to make the agricultural marketplace more efficient and to alleviate poverty through economic and social empowerment.
In the video below, Steve talks to a farmer in Jamaica who is using Yaadmarket
McDonald has taken his vision another step further by creating online platforms, yaadlinks.com and yaadtraders.com.
- Yaadlinks provides users mainly from the Caribbean diaspora with the opportunity to connect with Caribbean businesses and professionals.
- Yaadtraders is an online marketing platform which provides free websites to artisans and SMEs who cannot afford their own websites or need help to market their services/products.
For those who know Steve personally, his passion for life, love for Jamaica and Mannings School, are what makes him a true inspiration for young Caribbean entrepreneurs.