JIS News

While Jamaica’s Commercial banks are stepping up their assistance to small and medium sized enterprises by providing low interest loans, Government is also determined to play its part in strengthening support services to this sector.
Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding has given instructions to the Jamaica Business Development Centre (JBDC) to strengthen its support services and to the Scientific Research Council (SRC), to make itself more available to people who come in with an idea that needs a technical development or a problem that needs technical solution. Mr. Golding said that while Government had indicated that several of its agencies must become self sufficient they are not expected to frighten small businesses away by saying “we will undertake this but you are going to have to pay us”. While you have to charge for your services, we are saying that you must be efficient at the same time.
Mr. Golding was addressing the third annual Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Alliance dinner/awards ceremony at the Mona Visitors Lodge at the UWI, Mona over the weekend. The function was sponsored by Scotia Bank’s Small Business Banking division which has made available J$100 million to lend to the sector, at an interest rate of 8.625-percent.
Government has also been in discussions with the University of Technology to develop special training programmes to help upgrade the skills of persons who are managing and running small businesses.
Mr. Golding called on the members of the Alliance to help change the culture of small businesses because “We are not going to get anywhere if we portray ourselves as disadvantaged, marginalised people and therefore we need a ‘bligh’. If that is our mantra, we will never get the kind of development and push that is necessary”. He said small business people are not to be seen as ‘strugglers’. “They are winners and they must dispel this notion that small is inferior”.
The Prime Minister said it was the first time he has seen this kind of amalgamation of various groups of businesses and he congratulated those who have brought the MSME Alliance to this stage overcoming what he described as cynicisms and jealousies which must have faced them, in order to provide an essential tool of development for Jamaica. He promised that the Government would provide whatever assistance it could in helping the organisation to grow.

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