The craft sector has been further strengthened with the training of 30 producers through the recently concluded ‘Craft Biz Facility’ project, an initiative of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) and the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ).
Launched in April 2012, the aim of the project is to enhance the business and technical capabilities of craft producers in an attempt to foster growth and improve competitiveness within the sector.
In an interview with JIS News, Project Coordinator, Nelissa Thompson, explains that over the one-year period, the producers, through training, monitoring and hand-holding, made an assortment of craft and fashion items including jewelry, footwear, fashion apparel, home accents and souvenirs.
“With the completion of this project, all the craft producers who participated now have market-ready, authentic Jamaican products for distribution in both the local and international market place,” Miss Thompson says.
She informs that at the beginning of the project, an assessment of the business, product and marketing needs of each participant was carried out, which resulted in the development of a one-year action plan with recommendations to support each business.
The Project Coordinator explains that throughout the year, workshops were conducted on critical areas and factors involved in operating a business. These included costing & pricing; business formalization; taxation; records management and bookkeeping.
“We also focused on improving the aesthetics and finishing of their products and provided them with business kits which will assist them in further enhancing their products,” Miss Thompson informs.
To culminate the year-long initiative, a Marketing Seminar and Product Exhibition was held on May 9, at the JBDC Incubator and Resource Centre at 96 Marcus Garvey Drive.
The event, was to showcase the new products made by the craft producers to local buyers as well as give further assistance in areas such as brand development; online marketing; trade show participation, commercial buying and establishing a healthy buyer relationship.
Beneficiary of the project, Paula Hurlock is expressing gratitude to the project organizers, noting that she is now fully equipped with some of the critical tools to operate her business effectively.
“Projects like this benefit the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector tremendously,” Ms. Hurlock says.
“We were given the exposure at several events where we were able to market our products and meet with individuals and entities who are interested in our products,” she adds.
Rickeisha Harris, another participant who specializes in footwear and head pieces, says that the project helped her tremendously as she was able to network with institutions who have offered her grants to develop her products.
“I learnt a lot in terms of getting my products market-ready and up to international standards; the best materials to use in creating my designs and how to better present my ideas,” she explains.
“There are several other areas that I would want to tap into and with the things I have learnt from being on this project, I can employ them to complete my product line,” she reveals.
Contact: Kadian Brown