JIS News

The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) has announced an increase in the loan ceiling for tertiary graduates to $250,000 per applicant, for the establishment of viable business enterprises under the Young Entrepreneurs Programme (YEP).
Two graduates may borrow a maximum of $500,000 to fund one project. The limit for high school leavers remains at $100,000 per applicant. Four high school leavers may borrow a maximum of $400,000 to fund one project.
General Manager for Associated Financial Institutions (AFI) Relationships at the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), Yvonne Lewars, stated that “the decision to increase the loan ceiling for this cohort of school leavers was taken after careful consideration and discussions with the Hon. Prime Minister (Bruce Golding)”.
“Aspects of our discussions that weighed heavily on our decision were the fact that having attained the age of 18, tertiary level students are able to enter into binding contracts, and they can be held liable. Additionally, this cohort is more advanced and their educational training would have exposed them to the rudiments and nuances of managing a successful business,” she noted.
“We are positive the students from UWI (University of the West Indies), UTECH (University of Technology), Edna Manley College and the community colleges, will be pleased with the increase,” Mrs. Lewars added.
In the meantime, the month of August has been designated for interface with tertiary level graduates.
“We (will) meet with UTech students on Thursday, July 30 at 1:00 p.m., in the Faculty of Education and Liberal Studies Lecture Theatre 9B,” informed Wayne Beecher, a member of the consortium engaged to provide business development services.
“We are presently working with the career and placement units of the other tertiary institutions with a view of setting up the meeting schedule for students during August. Students are urged to call their respective institutions for the date and time. Information can also be obtained from the YEP hotline at 929-4015-7,” Mr. Beecher said.
YEP is a social safety initiative announced by the Prime Minister in his 2009/10 Budget presentation in May, and is geared at providing self-employment opportunities for 2009 graduates, who will not be pursuing continuing education immediately or may not be able to find positions in the workforce.
The programme is being spearheaded by the DBJ, which will provide some $200 million in funds to be on-lent through Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) to borrowers for viable business projects, at a rate of 10 per cent per annum.
The MFIs involved in YEP are: Access Financial Services Limited; Jamaica National Small Business Loans Limited; Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League; Micro Credit Limited; and NationGrowth MicroFinance Limited.
School leavers are able to access up to $100,000 for viable businesses and up to four applicants can combine to access $400,000.
YEP began in June 17, 2009 with orientation sessions across the island. To date, approximately 900 participants from high schools have been exposed to the programme. Three-day workshops are scheduled to begin on July 28 and will continue for two weeks across the island.

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