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The Jamaica Exporters' Association (JEA) has partnered with accounting and consulting firm, UHY Dawgen, to assist export ready companies to put their businesses on a sustainable growth path.

JEA President, Vitus Evans, said the project dubbed: 'Jamaica 50 Ideas for Sustainable Earnings,' is in keeping with the organisation's objectives to increase employment, develop new businesses and form key linkages.

"Under the project, we will provide a full suite of services to include those currently offered by the JEA and our export centres, as well as services our partner UHY Dawgen offers, such as financial and accounting support, and company incorporation," he informed.

He was speaking at a JEA breakfast forum held at the Knutsford Court hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday (Sept. 26) under the theme: 'Global Perspective on trade and export opportunities for Jamaican firms.'

UHY Dawgen is a member of the United Kingdom (UK) firm, Urbach Hacker Young International Limited, and forms part of the international UHY network of legally independent accounting and consulting firms.

The JEA will also work with key institutions such as the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), the Scientific Research Council (SRC), and the HEART Trust/NTA to leverage technical assistance and services needed by these enterprises.

"We are in dialogue with the financial sector to partner with us on this initiative to provide the financial support these entrepreneurs will require and the response has been positive," Mr. Evans noted.

He informed that the first in a series of sensitisation sessions on the initiative will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sept. 26 at the JEA offices on Winchester Road in Kingston.

Other sessions will be held in Mandeville on October 3; Ocho Rios on October 10; and Montego Bay on October 24. Interested persons can contact the JEA Secretariat for further information.

In the meantime, Mr. Evans pointed out that the JEA will continue to lead efforts on the ‘All ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific countries) Project’, which is focused on the revitalisation of the fruits, vegetables, roots, tubers, herbs, and spices value chain.

Technical support for the project is being provided by the International Trade Centre (ITC), based in Geneva, while funding support is being provided by the European Union (EU).

Executive Director, ITC, Patricia Francis, who was guest speaker at the function, noted that the world is changing and it is therefore critical that the local export sector keeps pace with global advances.

"Having just celebrated 50 years of independence, I don't think that we are young anymore and therefore, we need to take our own responsibility and not depend on others to find solutions for us, but to come together and find our own solutions," she stated.

Mrs. Francis, who is a former President of the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), said that collaborative effort among local export entities is critical, as single small companies would have a hard time breaking into large markets on their own.

"The truth is that the largest company in Jamaica is actually a small company on the global scale. Small and medium-sized companies in Jamaica are micro enterprises on the global scale, and therefore, if you are actually going to be targeting exports and the world, there is no way you can succeed unless you work together," she pointed out.

The ITC is a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization (WTO), which provides developing countries with trade-related technical assistance to promote their exports.