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Story Highlights

  • State Minister predicts a bright future for MSMEs through support from JAMPRO’s Business Linkages Programme.
  • When business linkages are sustainably developed along practical commercial lines, MSMEs stand to benefit.
  • Opportunities Jamaica seeks to promote opportunities between local suppliers of goods and services and buyers.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams, sees a bright future for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Jamaica, as they create and maintain jobs in communities, through support from JAMPRO’s Business Linkages Programme.

She said that when business linkages are sustainably developed along practical commercial lines, MSMEs stand to benefit from increased employment and wealth creation, access to new domestic and/or foreign markets and opportunities to upgrade, innovate and increase competitiveness, among other things.

The State Minister, who was addressing the opening ceremony of JAMPRO’s two-day business linkages event: ‘Opportunities Jamaica 2013’ at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St. James on September 30, said that the programme is in keeping with the national effort towards the strengthening of business synergies in the economy.

“The presence of all the various private and public sector stakeholders here today reaffirms our shared belief in the power and value of forging sustainable business linkages,” she stated.

Opportunities Jamaica, which is being held under the theme: ‘Establishing partnerships for Success,’ seeks to promote opportunities for mutually beneficial partnerships between local suppliers of goods and services and targeted local and overseas buyers.

It is the signature event of JAMPRO’s Business Linkages Programme, which has performed creditably over the past five years, by facilitating contracts valued at over $2 billion.

Minister Ffolkes Abrahams noted that the impact of these business linkages is far-reaching as they are primarily focused on expanding the growth of MSMEs, which would help to create and maintain jobs in the communities in which they operate.

“The Ministry …which has portfolio responsibility for the MSME sector, is fully cognisant of the important role that MSMEs play in our economic development.  The catalytic potential of the sector in this regard has made it an area of high priority on the national agenda, with great attention being paid to the various ways in which the country can enhance the viability and competitiveness of the sector,” she stated.

Turning to the MSME and Entrepreneurship Policy, which was tabled in the House of Representatives in July this year, the State Minister said that this represents a significant step in establishing a framework for growth and survival of the MSME sector.

“The policy document seeks to inculcate a deep-seated culture of entrepreneurship in MSMEs, reduce bureaucracy to improve the ease of doing business, build capacity and improve timely and relevant support by forging strategic partnerships and linkages with key sectors in the society,” she stated.

The aim, she said, is to create “greater win-win business synergies between MSMEs and buyers, which will ultimately benefit the local economy.”

More than 140 local buyers and some 20 regional buyers from across the region, have converged on the Montego Bay Convention Centre for targeted business matchmaking, particularly in the tourism/hospitality sector.  The event ends on October 1.