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Micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) are to receive a boost this year with a $24.4 million provision in the 2010/11 Estimates of Expenditure, for that sector.
The funds are to be channelled into the Productive Integration of Micro-Enterprises in Jamaica/Industry Modernisation Project being implemented by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC). The project aims to assist the micro, small and medium sized enterprises to make a meaningful and visible contribution to industrial and economic development, increasing their competitiveness in the agro-processing and craft sub-sectors.
The project began in 2005 and following a number of extensions, is now scheduled to end in September, 2010.
This year’s allocation is to be used to train two groups in business practices, solar drying of fruits and Hazard Analysis and Critical Points (HAACP) Standards. It will also be used to complete nine outstanding business plans, deliver seminars on environmental awareness, safety and pest infestation; develop 14 manuals; develop policy guidelines for craft and agro-processors; develop a web page; conduct three regional mini expositions; and procure additional equipment and services to aid in carrying out the project.
Since inception, the project has established 14 groups, nine of which were craft and five agro-processing. Other achievements include: completion of 14 baseline studies; holding of 14 workshops with all groups; completion of six diagnostic assessments; the hiring of an international craft consultant to provide product development assistance to beneficiaries; and participation by producers in the JBDC’s annual producers’ fair, ‘Kumba Mi Yabba’.
The $24.4 million will also cover continued monitoring and implementation of business practices as well as facilitate participation in the annual agricultural show at Denbigh by all 14 groups.
The project is funded by the Government and the Inter-American Development Bank.