Kimala Bennett is a Jamaican filmmaker, entrepreneur, strategist, creative thinker, author and more. She has created a name and reputation for being multifaceted and uncompromising in the pursuit of a higher standard. Ms Bennett has emerged as an entrepreneurial visionary in the creative space as founder and CEO of the ground-breaking marketing firm The Limners and Bards (LAB) Ltd. As the Caribbean’s business landscape continues to evolve, the creative industry has become a powerful economic resource. Over the last ten years, The LAB has built a reputation as a fully integrated creative agency and production company which produces 360-degree campaigns from concept to consumer, with high-quality content, digital management, as well as audio and film production.
Kimala’s role as the managing director of The LAB is to execute the vision of a truly integrated creative agency by pooling the best thinkers in the Caribbean and pairing them with the best executors. This philosophy also emanates from the business model of The LAB which prides itself on seeing the big picture where a client is concerned. The research arm drives the creative, and the creative powers the execution.
She is also co-founder of Blue Dot Data Intelligence which specialises in the data analytics which drive strategic frameworks, as well as the founder of spin-off companies including Cr8space, a creative professional hub which serves as a collaborative work and learning space for local and international production teams, and Scope Caribbean, the Caribbean’s first booking database for talent and production locations. Scope has received support from the Development Bank of Jamaica to the tune of JM$1 million for programming costs, and is intended as a freely accessible platform available internationally.
A trained filmmaker herself, Ms Bennett took a hands-on role early in her career, parlaying her on-set experience with artistes like Sean Paul, Kanye West and Alicia Keys, into a sustainable film-making business. Stepping away from the lens, she shifted into a more managerial role to start her own company with then business partner Melissa Llewelyn in 2007. Under Ms Bennett’s leadership, The LAB has highlighted the expert level of Caribbean filmmaking on the world stage. The company has produced over 300 commercials within the region, as well as supporting international feature films such as Nick Cannon’s “King of the Dancehall” and music videos such as Rihanna’s “Man Down” and Drake’s “Find your Love”.
Ms Bennett has been making significant strides in building a comprehensive business platform for the Caribbean’s creative industry. The LAB prides itself on close collaboration with a list of high net worth clientele, including, National Commercial Bank (NCB), Grace Kennedy Limited, and The Digicel Group among others. As powerhouses with multi-national footprints, these brands have trusted Kimala and her team to create lasting campaigns throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. Ms Bennett uses these international collaborations as a platform for learning and exposure between local and international crews. These relationships and skills help to develop the regional film community and continue to build invaluable institutional knowledge.
In addition to her own business ventures, Ms Bennett has made strides in boosting her industry, ensuring that resources are invested in transforming the marketing and advertising sphere throughout the Caribbean. This year The LAB hosted their inaugural think tank which presented Jamaica’s most current and cutting-edge study on millennial consumer behaviour, with guest speaker, the world-renowned market researcher Tina Wells. Dubbed “The Millennial Whisperer” by Fast Company, Wells has guided brands such as Nike, Oprah’s OWN Network, and Sony. The event saw over 200 of the nation’s marketers and key decision makers in attendance, and is intended to expand throughout the region.
Ms Bennett is a visionary business leader who is determined to share her success by building those around her. She has published three manuals for Caribbean entrepreneurs: “Starting a Business in Jamaica”, “The Young Entrepreneurs Handbook, and “Let’s Talk Money.” Her passion for guiding and nurturing young entrepreneurs comes as no surprise. Inspired by her own opportunities studying internationally, Kimala is committed to investing in others and sharing her own knowledge with her peers.
Ms Bennett has also championed the education of well over 7,000 young Jamaicans in conceptualising, planning, and executing their own businesses. In 2011, the “I Am the Change” young entrepreneurship programme was launched by her organization – and tutored by Ms Bennett herself. The two-year programme, a JM$15 million partnership with The Mutual Building Societies Foundation, a partnership between Victoria Mutual Building Society and Jamaica National Building Society and Digicel Foundation, saw the participation of six of Jamaica’s non-traditional schools impacting over 4,000 high-schoolers each year.
Kimala studied at Mount Holyoke College, and thrived under the tutelage of the Network for Training Entrepreneurs and the internationally acclaimed Action Coach programme. She is currently enrolled in the Jack Welsh Management Institute MBA programme.
She serves on several boards and has received awards including the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica’s 50 under 50 award, Bigga’s High Achievers award and the Rotary Club of St Andrew North Vocational Service Award.