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  • Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Valerie Veira, says the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) provides an opportunity for micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) operators to find new ways to expand their services and meet the needs of their consumers/clients.
  • “It is now a time to do some serious reflection on how we do what we do and how to serve our clientele better. There has to be a way forward.
  • “We have to identify new services and products based on what we are experiencing at the moment, as new niches are coming, so we should look at identifying them, and looking at how we convert them into new businesses,” she added.

Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Valerie Veira, says the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) provides an opportunity for micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) operators to find new ways to expand their services and meet the needs of their consumers/clients.

“It is now a time to do some serious reflection on how we do what we do and how to serve our clientele better. There has to be a way forward.

“We have to identify new services and products based on what we are experiencing at the moment, as new niches are coming, so we should look at identifying them, and looking at how we convert them into new businesses,” she added.

Ms Veira, who was speaking in an interview with JIS News, suggested that MSME operators should use this period to do research, which is crucial to product development.

Entrepreneurs are also encouraged to formalise their operations in order to be viable for opportunities and support.

“If the Government comes up with packages for support for MSMEs, we have to understand that it is important that you are formally recognised as a business. This is crucial for MSMEs as they reach out for assistance so it is also a time to reflect on that,” she added.

The JBDC is also urging MSMEs to make use of technology as they interface with clients/partners as well as embrace other distribution channels like e-commerce.

“We recently launched thingsjamaicanshopping.com and we intend to ramp up the marketing of that website to encourage consumers to shop online. If you are a local producer of authentic Jamaican products within our database, this is an excellent opportunity for you,” she said.

Ms. Veira told JIS News that the agency has been utilising the period of working from home to reflect on the agency’s programmes.

“Our officers have been charged to review the programmes that we have been offering; what new information we need to be sharing; new methodologies to institute, such as more webinars and more meetings being held via online platforms,” she noted. “As senior management, we have been considering how we can restructure, how we do things more efficiently, so we are using [this time] as a creative period to see how we can come up with these new approaches.

“We are looking to see if our information technology infrastructure is robust enough for us to provide this kind of new approach to service,” Ms. Veira added.

JBDC is the Government’s business development agency that assists in the sustainable creation and development of MSMEs in Jamaica.

Members of the public may contact the agency via email at info@jbdc.net or sign up on its new client platform JBDC Client Platform.

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