Gov’t Provides MSME Alliance with Budget Support

The Micro, Small and Medium-size Enterprises (MSME) Alliance is to receive $500,000 in budget support, as the Government continues to provide assistance for the sector.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda gave the commitment on Wednesday (March 24) at the third annual general meeting of the group held at Jamaica Trade and Invest’s Trafalgar Road headquarters.
He explained that the money is to go towards helping the Alliance clear up the $467, 324 shortfall in its budget. “If you’re relieved of the pressure of this deficit, you should start to move up…we will give you $500,000 this year to close that off,” he stated.
President of the Alliance, Professor Rosalea Hamilton, informed that the group has sought to address one of the core problems facing small businesses, that of access to financing, by participating in the Enterprise-wide risk Management and Financing programme, which was funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
She said that the pilot project, which was undertaken from 2008 to 2009, involved extracting data from five of the business associations in the Alliance in order to assess their business risks and prescribe appropriate actions.
Participants received risk ratings and appropriate certificates from the Caribbean Information and Credit Rating Services (CariCRIS) Limited. Eighty-five per cent of the businesses received ratings from one to four, with one being the highest.
Professor Hamilton said that in light of the successful implementation of the project the IDB has expressed an interest in expanding it to the wider region.
A related component of the project involved building the capacity of MSMEs through training sessions and business planning, accounting, computing and other support services.
Professor Hamilton said that through such training and support, “we believe that if we empower MSMEs with the skills and the knowledge to produce innovative goods and services that can compete internationally, there is no stopping this sector”.
“This will not only transform and grow the MSME sector, but at a time when the country is grasping for growth solutions, it is likely to have the most significant impact on growth and development in Jamaica,” she asserted.
Meanwhile, the Alliance is pursuing another initiative called the Basic Entrepreneurial Empowerment Programme (BEEP), which is especially relevant for micro firms.
“This programme will enable firms to achieve the minimum business standard required to survive and grow in this highly competitive global marketplace,” Professor Hamilton explained, disclosing that the Development Bank of Jamaica has expressed an interest in the programme, and is currently holding dialogue with the Alliance.
The MSME Alliance is a network of business organisations representing more than 300,000 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

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