MSME Backbone of Economy – State Minister Stern


Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Michael Stern is urging the small business sector to ‘think big’ in order to develop their business, which will contribute to the overall growth of the country.
“This I believe is the mindset that every Jamaican entrepreneur must have in order to be truly world class…from small acorns grow great oak trees,” Mr. Stern said at the opening ceremony of the Private Sector Development Programme (PSDP) symposium held at the Girl Guides’ Headquarters in Kingston yesterday (Jan. 21).
He informed that the Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSME) sector accounts for as much as 80 per cent of national employment, adding that “it is the backbone of the Jamaican economy.”
“We are mindful, that as a Government we cannot afford to ignore this important statistic, and are putting in place comprehensive policies with well-directed strategies,” he said.
He encouraged producers to be competitive in providing the best services and quality, adding that “the customer will always come back for quality and will pay a premium for a good product or service.”
The State Minister noted that the Government is committed to an MSME sector that is viable and profitable, pointing out that the symposium is a part of the process.
He encouraged the participants to “gather information on all the possiblities,” while encouraging them to consider the opportunities that are creative and opening up within other areas.
Some of the areas include: creative industries – sport tourism, performing and visual arts; tourism – manufacturing, agriculture, housing, and transportation; human resource management – career counselling and training-skills development; developing new ideas – research and innovation; international partnerships – franchising, exporting; safety and security; and environmentally friendly products.
He lauded the PSDP, the Jamaica Trade and Invest (JTI), and the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) for their effort in staging the forum.
“As good business persons and potential entrepreneurs, I know that you will take advantage of everything that is available here over the next two days,” he said.
Meanwhile, Programme Manager for the PSDP, Wynette Anderson noted that the symposium was timely as it sought to present viable options to people seeking new opportunities.
“These institutions are well positioned to continue to deliver the technical assistance to the sector, and to continue to enhance private sector competitive,” she said.
“We thank the European Union and Government of Jamaica for this initiative as it see for further development of the small business sector…” she stated.
The symposium, which targets MSMEs, students, and the general public and is intended to drive business competitiveness in the island, is being staged from January 21 to 22 under the theme ‘Small Business. Think Big’, at the Girl Guides’ Headquarters in Kingston.
The PSDP, which started in 2004, seeks to enhance the competitiveness and profitability of beneficiary micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. Since its establishment, the PSDP has facilitated grant funding of some $308 million to 123 MSMEs and Community Based Organisations (CBOs).

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