The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has awarded grants totalling $1.25M to 50 businesses in Accompong as part of her Ministry’s programme to boost economic activity in the culture-rich Maroon community.
Minister Grange presented the grants during her Ministry’s Economic Opportunities Workshop in Accompong on Friday (today).
The workshops, which began in September 2018, have been exposing the residents to entrepreneurship training with a focus on growing small businesses by improving efficiency, improving products and enhancing marketing.
Minister Grange said the Economic Opportunities Workshops are part of her mission to “create the environment so that people in cultural communities, such as Accompong, can experience greater levels of prosperity.” The Minister continued: “We will do this by helping you to earn from your own assets — your way of life. And this is what these economic opportunities workshops are about; they are about preparing you, the people of Accompong, to earn and build prosperity from your awesome and rich maroon culture and heritage.”
Each of the 50 grant recipients owns and/or operates a business in Accompong that has a direct impact on the lives of residents in the community. The Minister noted that the recipients are involved in honey production, jewellery making, carpentry, craft making and shopkeeping but the majority are involved in Agriculture. “That is why we decided to partner with Hardware and Lumber in the distribution of grants,” said Minister Grange.
“Our research shows that Hardware and Lumber provides the products and services that our grant recipients need. And so each of the 50 grant recipients from the Economic Opportunities Workshops in Accompong now have $25,000 credit at Hardware and Lumber which they can use to buy raw material and equipment for their businesses at H&L Rapid True Value and H&L Agro Business.”
The Culture Minister said she was excited to see how the grant recipients will use the grants to grow their businesses.
These Economic Opportunities Workshops and award of grants in Accompong follow closely on the successful completion of a similar programme in communities close to the Blue and John Crow Mountains World Heritage Site. More than 400 people in the parishes of Portland, St. Thomas and St. Andrew also received entrepreneurship training and other types of support from the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.
Minister Grange had provided grants totalling J$1M to small businesses that participated in the Blue and John Crow Mountains Economic Opportunities Workshops to improve their businesses.