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  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, says the Government will continue to put supportive mechanisms in place to facilitate the growth and development of the micro small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) sector.
  • She was addressing the 40th anniversary banquet of the Small Business Association of Jamaica at the Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston on November 28.
  • She informed that the Government has increased its loan support to the sector, with $1.3 billion disbursed by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) during calendar year 2014.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, says the Government will continue to put supportive mechanisms in place to facilitate the growth and development of the micro small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) sector.

“I give my commitment that we (the Government) will continue to engage micro, small, and medium-sized businesses. We will continue to create more opportunities for their growth and development,” Mrs. Simpson Miller pledged.

She was addressing the 40th anniversary banquet of the Small Business Association of Jamaica at the Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston on November 28.

She informed that the Government has increased its loan support to the sector, with $1.3 billion disbursed by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) during calendar year 2014.

The figure represents a 14 per cent increase over the amount provided in 2013. For financial year 2013/14, the DBJ provided $2.3 billion in loans for MSMEs. Some 1000 of those loans were disbursed through micro-financing institutions.

Mrs. Simpson Miller noted that other public sector entities such as the Micro Investment Development Agency (MIDA), continued to offer modest levels of funding to MSMEs, with the agency providing more than $150 million to the sector last year.

In addition to the increased loan support, the Prime Minister said the Government has embarked on new initiatives to help small businesses build their capacity.

These include increasing access to science and technology support through the Scientific Research Council and the Mobile Business Clinic initiative of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).

“The National Competitiveness Council has also been driving reforms to remove obstacles to business. The work of the Council has gone a far way in helping Jamaica achieve major ranking improvements for ease of doing business,” she noted further.

Also, there have been major improvements in the process to start a business; paying taxes is now easier; access to credit has been increased with the promotion of the secured transactions framework; and the commercial court has been strengthened to improve the enforcement of contracts, and the protection of investors.

Another key area of assistance is through the DBJ’s new two-year venture capital pilot programme – Innovation Grant From New Ideas to Entrepreneurship (IGNITE), which has the objective to support the creation and growth of new innovative firms in productive sectors .

The Prime Minister explained that the grants to be provided will support innovation activities to stimulate growth of 30 new businesses in strategic sectors. Funding will be provided to successful applicants and the ventures will be monitored for two years. Applications for this programme are open until November 30.

The Prime Minister noted that her administration has also enacted some of the most far-reaching legislation in support of small businesses as it works to create an enabling environment for the country’s small business owners to be profitable.

She said these legislative reforms and the MSME and Entrepreneurship policy of 2013, are practical actions by the Government to build the capacity of this sector.

“My Government supports wealth creation, through honest, diligent work and wise investments. We want you to make money; we are helping you to create more jobs.

“We want you to do well so that together, we can put more Jamaicans to work,” she said.

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