Micro Enterprise Sector to Benefit from $20 Million Assistance Package


The Government is seeking to foster the development of new and innovative industries through two financial packages that are to be made available to the small and micro business sector. Speaking at the annual conference of the Jamaica Business Development Centre (JBDC) at the Jamaica Conference Centre on Wednesday (Nov. 5), Prime Minister P.J. Patterson disclosed that the Development Bank of Jamaica has proposed a J$10 Million package to be administered by the JBDC, while another J$10 Million will be available through Development Options Ltd.
The funds are to provide support for businesses engaged in new and innovative industries, with emphasis on tourism projects that have been analysed and deemed to have the potential to significantly impact the development of the tourism sector and communities in which they are located.
The Prime Minister said however that funding should not come only from the Government, but that the commercial banking sector should also get involved in financing the small business sector.
“There still exists the need for greater access to funding not only from the Government but also from the commercial banking sector,” Mr. Patterson said.
He said further support would be provided to businesses that are clients of the JBDC, with special emphasis on the encouragement and development of youths involved in the small business sector. He added that there was a commitment to identify and assist in the development of exotic crops as well as to develop a programme aimed at providing raw material for the craft industry.
The Prime Minister noted that while there is evidence to prove that a large informal sector exists, productivity in the sector has not risen significantly. He said planning for the informal sector would require proper research and mapping to accurately measure its size, with a view to providing sustained development services and programmes designed to strengthen the sector’s capacity and economic viability.
He said the culture within the public service has been transformed to embrace the concept and realities of micro businesses, while appreciating the value and merit of a good business idea as a legitimate foundation for support and business development services.
“We must rise to the challenge of rolling out business development services across the country. Less centralisation will a enable greater access at the community level,” the Prime Minister stated.
Mr. Patterson stressed that business development was an essential part of his Administration’s long term strategic plans to expand the economy and fulfill the collective vision of a strong and growing economy producing high quality jobs. He said there were many opportunities for small and micro business that are to be made available through the Caribbean Single Market and Economy and the Free Trade Area of the Americas. He noted however, that business would have to perform at very high standards in order remain competitive.
“There is only one world standard for businesses – large and small – in terms of production, trade and service delivery. No separate standards exist for small business or for developing countries. Everybody must perform to the same high global standards,” Mr. Patterson asserted.
The major objective of the JBDC is to facilitate the development of dynamic micro, small and medium enterprises, for a more meaningful and visible contribution to industrial and economic development, with special emphasis on youth.

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