Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr. the Hon. Norman Dunn, says the Government remains committed to supporting the micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) sector as a key driver of growth in the economy.
He said that several policy measures and initiatives have been undertaken that are aimed at creating a more conducive business environment for entrepreneurs, such as the disabled, youth, women and the vulnerable, which includes addressing informality, business registration, tax issues, among others.
He noted that focus has also been placed on increasing access to affordable and appropriate financing for growth and expansion, through equity-based financial products, moveable asset-based lending products, venture capital funding and partial guarantee schemes.
Dr. Dunn, who was addressing the virtual staging of the Young Entrepreneurs’ Association (YEA) summit in recognition of Entrepreneurship Week 2020, on Thursday (November 12), said that MSMEs also benefit from appropriate business development and capacity-building services tailored for the particular stage of the business life-cycle.
Training is provided in areas such as management and marketing techniques, financial management, among others.
The promulgation of the MSME and Entrepreneurship Policy 2018 provides for a cohesive and coordinated approach to solving the various issues in the sector, while the Special and Differential Treatment Regulation aims to give MSMEs 20 per cent of the procurement budget.
Dr. Dunn said MSMEs are the backbone of the Jamaican economy “and represent our most important source of new employment”.
He informed that Jamaica’s Vision 2030 National Development Plan states that in the next two decades, the MSME sector will play the leading role in transforming the country’s economy.
In addition, he said that the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) in a recent report on Jamaica found that young adults are becoming a major force in entrepreneurship, capturing a larger share of entrepreneurial activity.
“It points to an opportunity to capitalise further on this momentum by increasing efforts to assist young people in getting their business started,” he said.
Dr. Dunn posited that the future of the country now rests upon the youth, the private sector, and government working together to build entrepreneurship throughout the country.
He encouraged the YEA to continue reaching out to young people. “Continue your efforts to bring their involvement as partners in development, to the next level. They have to be a part of the next wave in this new norm,” he said.