$8 Million Boost for Small Business Sector


The small and micro business sector is expected to benefit from the donation of $8 million from the Jamaica Bureau of Standards.
The funds, which were garnered through the efforts of the ‘Consortium’ – a group comprising six projects and organisations dedicated to providing development support for small and micro businesses – will go towards providing constancy services for persons involved in the sector.
“We have seen where small businesses sometimes have difficulty moving their businesses forward due to problems such as developing proper accounts and so on. Some of these can be solved with a little financial assistance towards consultancy services. In light of this, the Bureau decided to provide such financial assistance,” said Colin Henry, Consultant Manager for the Quality Jamaica Project (QPJ) at the Bureau and convenor of the Consortium.
He told JIS News, that the funds would be disbursed to the Jamaica Business Development Centre (JBDC), one of the agencies involved in the Consortium, which will in turn provide the businesses with the required expertise.
Mr. Henry said that the Bureau was committed to the vision of the Consortium, which is to pool with all members to optimise results and reduce duplication and overlap. He noted that there was a “refreshing wind of change” blowing among the players in small business development in Jamaica.
The Bureau, through the QJP, has been providing consultancy training services for small and micro enterprises (SMEs) and has heavily discounted its rates to clients of any member of the Consortium. Businesses are provided with training in the area of food safety and they benefit from expertise on how to bring their products and services up to international standards.
Accreditation bodies such as the International Organization for Standards (ISO) and the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), a food safety body, are being used by the Bureau to train and accredit personnel.
Project Manager of the National Quality Infrastructure Project (NQIP/SWEDAC), Marguerite Domville, who also served on the management committee of the QPJ, told JIS News that the Consortium was a good idea since members have common objectives. She further added that, “small businesses might not benefit now but will benefit down the road from the awareness and knowledge gained about food safety”.
Chief Executive Officer of the bakery, Honey Bun, Michelle Chung has lauded the Consortium for its approach to small business development. “It is an excellent approach and it is not specific to any company and it trains people to be consultants as well as identifies the elements needed to bring companies up to international standards,” Ms. Chung said.
She added, “Honey Bun will benefit directly due to my consultancy training. We have so far received a gap audit from the Bureau, which identifies the requirements that are needed to bring the company up to international standards”.
Formed on January 13, 2004, the Consortium sought to bring together donor agencies with the best of the country’s consultant and business development experts from the public and private sectors, to provide much needed assistance to small business people.
Seven projects and companies initially came together to form the Consortium. They are Jamaica Promotions Company (JAMPRO); Jamaica Business Development Centre (JBDC); Agricultural Support Services Project (ASSP); Jamaica Cluster Competitiveness Project (JCCP); National Quality Infrastructure Project (NQIP/SWEDAC); Caribbean Regional Human Resource Development Programme for Economic Competitiveness (CPEC) and the Quality Jamaica Project (QJP).
Since then, the Caribbean Regional Human Resource Development Programme for Economic Competitiveness (CPEC) has been dissolved. However, the former Project Manager, Paulette Mitchell continues to serve on the project management committee of the QJP. The project management committee was established and formalised by Commerce and Technology Minister, Phillip Paulwell earlier this year.

JIS Social