Jamaicans Urged to Capitalize on Global Economic Situation


State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment, and Commerce, Michael Stern, has urged young Jamaicans to capitalise on the current global economic recession, and empower themselves by becoming entrepreneurs.
He was speaking at a small business development expo held at the Dorritt Bent Hall in Spaldings, Clarendon, on November 27.
“We have young people who can’t find a job, it’s better for them to go into business… we have a recession now and we can use this as an opportunity to get into a business, a small business,” he stated.
He said this would necessitate providing young people with the requisite support to get them started in their own businesses. The hosting of the first small business development expo in his constituency of North West Clarendon, was cited by the Minister as one pivotal step in that direction.
“We have to find ways and means to make it simpler for people to achieve these things. One way of doing it is to bring these agencies to the people, rather than telling them of these agencies and letting them go independently searching for it. It is much easier when they are here so they can see, so even people who are here can bring back the information to people in their neighbourhood, of how they can get assistance through these agencies and through the private sector,” Mr. Stern informed.
He said the expo was geared at bringing in prospective entrepreneurs and having them interface with representatives of the various support agencies in order to get their business started.
“This business expo today brings together all the Government agencies and private sector agencies that can assist the growth of small business. The person that has a creative idea to make something, we are encouraging those people to start their little business by registering,” he continued.
Acknowledging that one of the challenges faced by enterprising young Jamaicans is obtaining the necessary financial capital, because of the red tape involved, Mr. Stern told JIS News, that the Government would be working assiduously to make it easier for persons to obtain loans, in order to get their businesses started.
“Credit in Jamaica is one of the challenges my Ministry and the Ministry of Finance will be tackling over the next few months. You’ll see us introducing a Bill to create a Credit Bureau, so that people can get credit. We’ll be using your ability to pay and your ability not to pay, to determine whether or not you get loans, or assistance. So in other words, your integrity will be part of the way forward, rather than demanding that you must have a certain type of collateral,” he said.
Mr. Stern further informed that, “we are going to be putting forward an aggressive approach to the banks…we are saying to the banks you need to be more competitive with your fees, we’ll tackle them on that.we are saying for the small man or the big man, we are going to make credit much easier to access in Jamaica, and that’s why today you have maybe $4 billion worth of funding available out there within the last year for small business,” he informed.
He further disclosed that the Government would continue to have dialogue with commercial lending institutions, in a bid to provide enterprising Jamaicans with easier access to working capital, as they “continue to work at providing competitiveness in the sector so that these funding can reach the people who need these, and to develop a good economy”.

JIS Social