JIS News

The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) officially launched its Corporate Finance Broker (CFB) unit yesterday (Jan. 31), which will offer financial assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
It is expected that in the first instance, the unit will attract clients from those private sector members, who have received assistance under the European Union/Government of Jamaica-funded Private Sector Development Programme (PSDP).
State Minister for Industry and Tourism, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, who spoke at the launch held at JAMPRO’s offices in Kingston, said that the government was redoubling its efforts to promote and foster micro and small business development.
He said it was widely recognized that it was only through increased emphasis on technical and support services along with the provision of financial assistance, that the sustained development of the sector would be achieved.
Dr. McNeill noted that the recent decision by the National Insurance Fund (NIF), to invest $1billion in the micro sector over the next three years, would provide new funding streams to help plug the financial gap for start-up and small, growing firms.
“It is projected that over 3,000 individual projects will be financed on terms, which will facilitate and encourage entrepreneurship, business development and employment opportunities,” he said, adding that another welcome news was the decision by the Export-Import (EX-IM) Bank to reserve $100 million for funding to the micro sector.
Stating that SMEs were the backbone of business, Dr. McNeill said they accounted for 90 per cent of all industries globally and about 50 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) worldwide.
In the Jamaican and Caribbean context, an estimated 35 to 40 per cent of employment is accounted for by SMEs and the information technology revolution has created abundant opportunities for the sector.
The State Minister noted however, that despite the contribution to economy, the efficiency, productivity and capability of small and medium enterprises in the region and in many developing countries, continued to be undermined by relatively low levels of technical and managerial skills.
“In this connection, we acknowledge the support received over the years from the EU”, the State Minister said, noting that, “their latest trade and development programme (the PSDP) was designed to strengthen and build capacity of SMEs”.
He further congratulated JAMPRO for the proactive role it has been playing in helping to build capacity at the SME level. “I am confident that the Corporate Broker Finance unit will assist the SME sector in a meaningful way and through the partnerships being forged with the banking and financial community, new and innovative financial products for the sector will be achieved,” the State Minister said.