A total of 44 micro and small enterprises in the August Town, St Andrew community have been awarded grant support valued at $5.8million, under the Government’s Integrated Community Development Project II (ICDP-II).
The project is being implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).
Presentation of the award was made Thursday (April 28) at the Haven of Hope Open Bible Church in the community, where some of the beneficiaries displayed their creations and received much encouragement.
Minister of Education and Youth and Member of Parliament for St Andrew Eastern, Hon. Fayval Williams, lauded the importance of small businesses to community development.
“These small enterprises have been the seedbed for new ideas and the testing ground for new ways of working. They often lead the way for new products on the market and new services [and] help to foster local economies,” the Minister said.
She encouraged the entrepreneurs to “get formalised”, so that they can take their businesses to the next level. The Minister highlighted that Jamaica’s unemployment rate has dropped to 6.2 per cent and the project will further contribute to “economic growth and community development through income generation and job creation”.
She urged community members to encourage these local businesses by offering them the support needed to sustain their operations.
Managing Director of JSIF, Omar Sweeney, noted that in the first cycle of the ICDP-II, approximately $3 million was invested to support 24 micro and small entrepreneurs. With the 44 persons added on Thursday (28 April), a total of 68 enterprises have benefited from the programme.
Mr. Sweeney said more than 300 applications were received.
Looking at the ‘bigger picture’, Mr. Sweeney said: “We want to create the type of community that every Jamaican deserves to live in; a community that is safe.”
He said, further, that, “the impact and the intervention that is being made is to ensure that no community is left behind”.
Mr. Sweeney acknowledged the ministries and organisations that partnered with JSIF to offer additional support to the beneficiaries. Among them are the August Town Community Development Committee, the Ministry of National Security, the JPS Foundation, the Bureau of Standards
Jamaica, the National Housing Trust and the Companies Office of Jamaica.
“These partners will be on hand to provide the necessary business support that the beneficiaries might need to sustain their business ventures,” Mr. Sweeney said.