JIS News

The Government is looking at merging some of the agencies that offer loans to small businesses in its bid to continue to promote entrepreneurial development in Jamaica.
This is according to State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Michael Stern, who was speaking at the Technology Innovation Centre’s (TIC) annual Client Company Awards Ceremony, at the University of Technology (UTech) campus yesterday (Dec. 8).
“We are now doing that assessment to cut out some of the bureaucracy, so instead of you going to several agencies for different loans, it will be offered under one umbrella, where you get your packaging according to the type of loans you want in the Government sector,” Minister Stern said.
He pointed out that entrepreneurs consider access to credit as one of their greatest challenges, and as such, the Government’s immediate objective is to introduce financing options that are less dependent on the provision of collateral.
“We are seeking to increase our provision of concessionary funds to specialist micro-credit institutions for on-lending to micro enterprises, thus increasing the pool of funds available to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs),” he noted.
Minister Stern also informed that work is continuing towards the establishment of a Credit Bureau, “to furnish financial intermediaries with the necessary credit information to assess the credit worthiness of MSMEs and by extension, their ability to service loans.”
He noted that entrepreneurship occupies top position on the Government’s agenda for job creation, wealth generation and redistribution, and that it is against this background, that measures have also been introduced to rekindle and generate entrepreneurial growth.
These, he said, include business development services; incubator facilities for business start-ups; increasing the demand for goods and services produced by entrepreneurs; and the acceleration of wider incorporation of technical/vocational training at the secondary and tertiary levels of the educational system.
He went on to commend the TIC’s efforts in providing support services to entrepreneurs in the MSMEs, noting that the facility has an important part to play in getting persons to become passionate about building their own businesses.
Stating that “we must continue to nurture and build entrepreneurship spirit in this country,” Mr. Stern said that “entrepreneurship cannot be treated as a secondary activity. It must, in fact, become our economic culture. Entrepreneurial activity must be alive in businesses big and small, Government and our education system.”
The TIC, established in 2002, is a specialised division of UTech that supports the growth and development of early stage technology-oriented businesses. It also provides training, business consultancy and information services to existing small and micro enterprises, the university community, and institutional clients.
The centre has the first business incubator – which provides support services to start-up businesses – in the English-speaking Caribbean.
Awards were presented to clients in the categories of: Virtual Client – TIC trailblazer; high growth potential; most participative; innovation in construction project management; and innovation in health and education management.
Five persons, who graduated from the business incubator programme at the centre, were also awarded.

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