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JIS News

A virtual forum for Jamaican small businesses in the North-east United States of America (USA) will be held on Wednesday, July 22 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The forum, organised by the Jamaica Diaspora North-east, USA, will focus on grants for small business and access to financing.

Global Jamaica Diaspora Council Representative, North-east USA, Dr. Karren Dunkley, told JIS News that the main objective of the forum is to provide information and technical assistance for businesses impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

She said that businesses can obtain federal, state and local forgivable loans and grants totalling US$2,614,000 under the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

“We really want our small-business community to know that financing exists, including federal, state or local so they can weather the storm that is taking place now,” she said.

She noted that the United States Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Treasury Department, has set aside billions in funding to provide relief during the COVID-19 pandemic for small businesses.

“The goal of these financial relief programmes is to ensure that small businesses have the resources they need to retain their employees and emerge stronger from the coronavirus pandemic,” she said.

Dr. Dunkley noted that a technical assistance team is helping persons access support, including Faith-based Sector Leader. Bishop Shawn Bartley; State Lead, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Donahue Bailey; and Co-Chair, Economic Development and Empowerment Sector, Wayne Thompson.

“It’s all volunteer work. These people have given their time and expertise to sit with people and go through the applications and go through their accounts,” she said, noting that some of the business owners did not know how to apply for the grants even though they had received the application forms.

Businesses that can access grants are day-care facilities, construction companies, restaurants, staffing and recruiting companies, telecoms installation companies, software development companies, social media marketing entities, and consulting services.

Individuals can join the session on Facebook at @drKarren and on Instagram @jamusdiaspnortheast.

The meeting identification (ID) via Zoom is 915-8159-2025; participant ID, 321554; and password, 875323.

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