Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Audley Shaw, is encouraging more entrepreneurs to formalise their businesses through registration in order to gain access to greater funding opportunities with lower interest rates.
He said formalisation will also allow businesses to become more competitive in the local as well as the international marketplace.
“Instead of going to borrow money at 20 and 30 per cent interest rate, ending up putting your business in more trouble than anything else and having lower productivity, low profit margins, get formal so that you can get money at less than 10 per cent,” he advised.
“It will give you a better chance to be more productive, to get more creative and to identify opportunities both on the local as well as international platforms,” he added.
Minister Shaw was speaking at the official launch of the National Export-Import Bank of Jamaica (EXIM Bank) Export Guarantee Loan Programme, at EXIM’s Hope Road offices in St. Andrew on June 2.
The programme was created to assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), particularly exporters, to access affordable financing. The loans will be provided by the Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) and will be supported by an 80 per cent guarantee offered through EXIM.
Mr. Shaw hailed the JMMB and EXIM for undertaking the partnership, noting that it will redound to the benefit of entrepreneurs and, ultimately, Jamaica. He noted that business operators must be formal to benefit from assistance.
“If you are not formal, you can’t benefit from this programme we are launching today. If you are not formal, you can’t get access to the $5 billion that the Prime Minister has announced through the DBJ for small and medium-sized enterprises,” he said.
Managing Director, EXIM Bank, Lisa Bell, said that the programme is geared at assisting qualified SMEs to benefit from loan facilities offered by JMMB.
She noted that the support will enable more businesses to export their products and services. “It will answer the call for Jamaican products in the diaspora,” she said.
CEO, JMMB, Jerome Smalling, said his company is pleased to be a part of a partnership to assist small businesses “to realise their dreams”.
He noted that the sector is critical to the recovery of the country. “We look forward to the impact of this agreement,” he said.