JIS News

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Pearnel Charles has lauded the $20 million Jamalco Entrepreneurial Development Project that has been launched to boost small enterprises in the company’s operating areas.
He said the project, which is a revolving loan fund, will help to usher in new players into business. “Jamalco has set a pace for community and social development. This is an opportunity for community cooperation, where capital is made available at an acceptable interest rate, and it will rescue many small businesses, and will create an incentive for young people and others to get into business,” the Minister stated.
Mr. Charles was speaking on Thursday, October 7, at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), between Jamalco, the Clarendon Cooperative Credit Union, and United Way of Jamaica, to launch the project, at the Halse Halse Hall Great House, in Clarendon.
In his remarks at the ceremony, Manager for Corporate Services and Government Affairs at Jamalco, Mr. Leo Lambert said the project was organised in a move to, “see how we can generate alternative economic employment beyond and above those that we provide directly from the refinery. It is an opportunity for community persons with good ideas to access a pool of funds that Jamalco has made available”.
He empahsized that, “it is not free money, it is money that you are going to have to account for, but it is money that is going to be lent at the cheapest possible interest rate that we could find in any financial institution. Those of you that are going to be among the first beneficiaries have an overriding obligation to ensure that your programmes and projects are managed in such a way that it does justice and confirms our wisdom in investing in this project”.
Meanwhile, Project Coordinator with the Jamalco Refinery Community Council, Miss Jeanette Brown, told JIS News that the loan scheme, which has a 10 per cent interest repayment, will ease some of the pressures brought on by the downturn in the world economy.
“I know it will go a far way, because it will ease the unemployment burden that has come on us since the recession. The persons are going to be recipients should know that this is not a grant, this is a loan and they will have to repay, so that others can benefit from it,” Miss Brown said.
Jamalco and the Alcoa Foundation, as part of their mandate to build sustainable communities, are spearheading the Entrepreneurial Development Project. The revolving fund targets young to middle aged individuals in the company’s host communities of Manchester and Clarendon, to access funds for their business ideas.
United Way of Jamaica will be providing training and project management to the beneficiaries, while the Clarendon Cooperative Credit Union will process and approve loan applications. The loan ceiling for each project is $500,000.

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