President of Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Dian Edwards, is appealing for more private-sector companies to partner with the entity in executing the Export Max programme.
“We are encouraging more private-sector companies to come on board as sponsors, supporters and financial contributors to the programme to allow us to expand what we are currently doing for the next cohort,” she said.
Ms. Edwards was addressing a Think Tank held at the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) head office in Kingston on Friday (October 9).
Export Max is the national enterprise development programme for export growth geared towards providing capacity building for exporters, market penetration support and increasing the number of active local exporters.
The objective is to improve the competitiveness of Jamaican exporters and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), drive an increase in their export earnings and diversify the nation’s export products.
The initiative was launched by JAMPRO in 2011, with 15 companies benefiting from support to grow their exports over the next two years. Export Max II, which ran from 2014 to 2017, expanded the core number of companies to 20.
Export Max III started in 2019 with 50 companies, in keeping with a request from Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, for the programme to be expanded.
JAMPRO has since gained the partnership of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) and Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (JMEA) for the third phase.
Ms. Edwards said that JAMPRO was happy to have the entities on board.
“We plan to develop and drive this programme to ensure the participants and, by extension, the nation reap the full benefits, but to do so we will need as much support as we can get,” she noted.
“We can exercise this programme continuously if given a wealth of support, and ideally that’s what we should be moving towards as a country. So I just want to encourage more private-sector entities to support the programme in whatever way they can,” she added.
Under Export Max II, the 20 participating companies were able to achieve growth of 213.4 per cent in exports, doubling their export sales.
“With Export Max II we also fostered the creation of 173 new jobs among the companies, resulting in a 12.76 per cent increase in the number of jobs created due to the new markets the companies tapped into. Fourteen of the 20 companies also benefited from productivity improvement initiatives and we also saw $173 million in new investments made by participating companies,” Ms Edwards told JIS News.
Of the 50 companies benefiting from Export Max III, 70 per cent are microenterprises, 20 per cent are small enterprises and 10 per cent are considered medium-sized enterprises.
In terms of sector breakdown, 40 per cent are in the food processing industry, 29 per cent in non-food manufacturing, 10 per cent in the service sector and for the first time, there are creative industry companies in the programme, which account for 13 per cent of the number of enrolled companies..
September 24, 2020, marked the first anniversary of the Export Max III cohort and Ms. Edwards told JIS News that all three partners – JAMPRO, JBDC and JMEA are grateful for the accomplishments over the last year.
She said that the partners are anticipating a “huge uplift in export sales along with the continued success of the programme through greater levels of support”.
The fourth phase of the programme is expected to be launched in 2022.