KINGSTON — A project to enhance the competitiveness of Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs), by increasing their access to Information Technology (IT) service, was launched on June 1, at the offices of Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), in New Kingston.
Called the Centralised Information Technology System Project, the initiative is funded by the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
In his address, Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Michael Stern, encouraged the Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ) to continue to improve productivity, through the appropriate use of technology.
He also urged the SMEs to work with the SBAJ to implement the Centralised Information Technology System for their businesses.
“A number of studies have shown significant proportions of small businesses are reluctant to introduce new technology in their operations, while some have delayed doing so for one reason or another. In some cases, the small businesses may lack the financial, human or technical resources in their method of operation,” Mr. Stern said.
“At the other extreme, small businesses may see no need to change the way they have been operating. The reality is, you have to invest your limited resources prudently in the necessary technology to make your business grow and stay ahead of the competition,” he added.
Meanwhile, President of the SBAJ, Dalma James said the project should make an impact on the small business sector in Jamaica, while appealing to SMEs to participate in the project.
“It cannot do you any harm. You are participating in a pilot project and we have guaranteed that it will continue for three years. By that time, we should have knocked out all the kinks and we should be in a position where we can go islandwide and say to anybody in any business, ‘come and join us and we can make you have at your finger tips the most efficient, up-to-date accounting system that you can have for the management of your business’,” Mr. James said.
In the meantime, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Manpower and Maintenance Services Limited, Audrey Hinchcliffe, emphasised that becoming a part of a centralised system will empower an organisation to outpace the competition.
“The benefits enhance productivity and strategic competitive advantage, providing (that) there will be good service support, as potential users will be at different stages of business development. It is going to improve the quality of your service. Value added services and employee satisfaction – those are some of the benefits you will enjoy right up front,” she noted.
As part of the project, a centralised IT solution will be developed and offered to SMEs on a subscription basis. This will make the software more affordable and improve beneficiaries' ability to efficiently operate their businesses.
Businesses interested in knowing more about the Centralised Information Technology System Project for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) can contact the SBAJ at 978-0168 or 978-9191.
By LATONYA LINTON, JIS Reporter