- Thirty-three Jamaican companies are to benefit from US$1 million (€2, 992, 287.00) in grant funding to boost their export potential.
- The allocation is part of US$4.02 million in support provided to the region’s private sector by the Caribbean Export Development Agency under its Direct Assistance Grant Scheme funded by the Europe Union.
- Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, expressed appreciation for the assistance to the local companies.
Thirty-three Jamaican companies are to benefit from US$1 million (€2, 992, 287.00) in grant funding to boost their export potential.
The allocation is part of US$4.02 million in support provided to the region’s private sector by the Caribbean Export Development Agency under its Direct Assistance Grant Scheme funded by the Europe Union (EU).
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, expressed appreciation for the assistance to the local companies, which are mainly in the areas of manufacturing and agro processing, noting that the funding will enable them to become more competitive.
He was speaking at a press briefing held at Jampro’s New Kingston offices on Friday (Aug. 8), to announce the funding.
He noted that the grant facility is specifically designed to provide financial assistance to micro, small and medium enterprises and business support organisations with the potential to export their products and services.
The Minister said the scheme seeks to open new markets in order to capitalize on the benefits of the Forum of Caribbean States (CARIFORUM)-EU Economic Partnership Agreement; the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME); CARICOM-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement; or any other bilateral or multilateral arrangements signed within the region, with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, or with the EU.
Overall, 154 grants have been awarded to Jamaican firms totaling some €2.7 million, representing a 45 per cent increase in grant funding for sectors such as agro-processing, creative industries, health and wellness, information and communication technologies, professional services and tourism.
“Importantly the funding provided to beneficiaries under the scheme is often utilised to modernize equipment, upgrade facilities to meet international food and quality standards, enhance products and packaging, train staff and develop collateral materials,” Mr. Hylton said.
Executive Director, Caribbean Export Development Agency, Pamela Coke-Hamilton, noted that inadequate access to finance is commonly cited as one of the main challenges affecting a firm’s ability to export.
“Indeed, the way in which access to finance hinders a firm’s competitiveness is indicated by the consistently low scores attained by the region in the Global Competitive Index,” she pointed out
Mrs. Coke-Hamilton informed that in the 2013-14 report, a mere three out of 15 CARIFORUM states placed in the top 100 out of 148 countries surveyed due to a variety of inhibiting factors among which is limited access to financing.
She stated that through the Direct Assistance Grant Scheme, there have been positive outcomes in Jamaica and the Bahamas “and (we are) therefore expectant that the newly awarded beneficiaries will continue in a similar vein.”
The Caribbean Export Development Agency is a regional export development and trade and investment promotion organisation of CARIFORUM.
The Direct Assistance Grant Scheme comes under the Regional Private Sector Programme (RPSDP), which is funded by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).