The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) continues to play a key role in facilitating entrepreneurial activities, with 1,009 clients accessing its business advisory services for the January to March quarter.
Of the total, 685 or 68 per cent were new clients, while 423 or 42 per cent represented new businesses.
State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahamsmade the revelation on May 17, at the opening of the JBDC’s 5th annual Small Business Exposition at the Wyndham Kingston hotel.
She informed that in the area of business incubation, which is one of the most important tools to enhance entrepreneurship, a total of 2,586-man hours of business assistance were provided to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) for the quarter, with some 171 clients served.
The agency also provides technical support through the 13 Jamaica Business Information Centres (JAMBICS) across the island.
Mrs. Ffolks Abrahams further praised the JBDC for its assistance to small businesses through its ‘Things Jamaican’ brand, which provides a platform for quality products made by small manufacturers to be sold and showcased to the world.
She also pointed to the agency’s intervention for furniture manufacturers under the Furniture Jamaica project, which aims to increase the supply of locally manufactured furniture to the domestic as well as international markets and to assist the industry in making a more visible contribution to economic development.
“The JBDC’s Business Advisory Services team has been visiting furniture manufacturers and has already assessed facilities in the parishes of Clarendon and Manchester. These assessments included business performance, business needs, training, facility and production areas, production management, safety, energy management and product designs. The JBDC has also finalised a Business Opportunity Profile to be made available to the Furniture and Wooden Products industry,” she informed.
She lauded the JBDC on its mentorship programme, which allows for small businesses to learn best practices from larger companies. “By so doing, these smaller companies benefit from the expertise and experience of the larger companies,” she pointed out.
Chief Executive Officer of the JBDC, Valerie Veira, for her part, said there was no denying the importance of the MSME sector to the development in Jamaica, while stating that she was pleased that support for the sector has been growing.
The JBDC’s goal is to help businesses to survive and prosper by providing them with business advice, consultancy and training of the highest professional standard on both generalist and specialist business subjects.
More than 30 entities participated in yesterday’s expo, which was held under the theme: ‘Inside the Entrepreneurial Mind: From Ideas to Reality’.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter