JIS News

Story Highlights

  • In keeping with the Government’s growth strategy, the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), is vigorously addressing the issue of access to financing for small entrepreneurs.
  • “This programme doesn’t only allow you to get the actual business plan or financing, it also allows you to get coaching and training,” Mrs. Tracey said.
  • “It boils down to some inefficiency in our market, one of which we are suspecting is an information deficit…people just don’t know how to access these things,” Mr. Cox added.

In keeping with the Government’s growth strategy, the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), is vigorously  addressing the issue of access to financing for small entrepreneurs.

General Manager for the Strategic Services Division at the bank, Claudine Tracey, told a recent JIS ‘Think Tank’ that the DBJ has taken a systematic approach to addressing the issue.  She said the DBJ has a loan financing option available through commercial banks, but uses its capacity development programme to prepare persons in accessing the necessary financing.

She also noted that a recently announced voucher for technical assistance announced by Finance Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, in May, is still available for entrepreneurs.

The voucher system assists entrepreneurs without a proper business plan, financial statements or who may have other deficits in accessing financing,  by providing them with a voucher to access the required service from a consultant and then afterwards become eligible for financing.

“This programme doesn’t only allow you to get the actual business plan or financing, it also allows you to get coaching and training,” Mrs. Tracey said.

She informed that the DBJ is also partnering with the Mona School of Business (MSB) to address the perceived information deficit plaguing small entrepreneurs.  This, she said, will involve the development of a portal with information on grants and loans available to finance their businesses.

“A lot of our entrepreneurs just don’t know or understand what is available…to make them expand, to make them grow from micro to small to medium, and to let their business be sustainable,” Mrs. Tracey noted.

Meanwhile, Executive Director of the Growth Secretariat at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Joseph Cox, who also addressed the ‘Think Tank’, said access to credit as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Jamaica is about 35 per cent, which is way below the international benchmark.

“It boils down to some inefficiency in our market, one of which we are suspecting is an information deficit…people just don’t know how to access these things,” Mr. Cox added.

In the meantime,  Mrs. Tracey said the portal being developed by the MSB and DBJ will be very simple for entrepreneurs to access, as they will only need to “enter very basic information, such as what kind of business they are in, and the portal can feed to them the kind of financing information that is available.”

The DBJ will seek to distribute approximately $3 billion in loans to micro, small and medium businesses this year,  an increase from the $2.3 billion issued last year.