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Three hundred women-owned small and medium sized businesses are to benefit from a project to improve their business skills, and increase their access to finance.
The project valued at just under $40 million is being financed by a grant of over US$320,000 (approximately J$28 million) from the Inter-American Development Bank/Multilateral Investment Fund (IDB/MIF), and over US$130,000 (approximately J$11 million) raised by Women Business Owners (WBO) Jamaica Limited which will manage the funds.
WBO Jamaica Limited targets women who own small and medium sized businesses, with the potential to grow and prosper in both the formal and informal sectors and become large businesses.

President of Women Business Owners (WBO) Jamaica Limited, Dorothea Gordon-Smith (seated, left), signs the documents for a grant from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to help with strengthening and promoting women entrepreneurs in Jamaica, at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston on Thursday (June 17). Looking on are Country Representative for the IDB, Gerard Johnson (seated); treasurer of the WBO, Dena Davis (left); and Operations Consultant at the IDB, Erica Haughton.

“If times are bad, it seems better off the radar than on radar; better not to be paying taxes; better not to be part of the formal system.This is for those business owners who are trying to be responsible citizens and paying taxes,” IDB representative in Jamaica, Gerard Johnson explained, during a signing ceremony involving the IDB and the WBO, at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston, Thursday (June 17).
He stated that the IDB was happy to be partnering with the WBO on the venture, given the challenges faced by women business owners, especially with regard to accessing capital.
President of the WBO, Dorothea Gordon-Smith, expressed gratitude to the IDB and said that the grant would go a far way in helping the organisation achieve its mandate.
“We are delighted that IDB shared our vision for this development and strengthening of women entrepreneurship in Jamaica.We have been working towards this day for some time, and are extremely excited to be signing this contract to begin this project,” she said.
The key deliverables of the project are: training and mentorship for 300 women-owned small and medium sized businesses; production of a training manual; production of a case study book; and a special financial product designed specifically for women business owners/ entrepreneurs.