Minister of State for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (STEM), Hon. Julian Robinson, is urging operators within the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) sector to make use of technology to advance their businesses.
He said that “in order for small businesses to succeed, it is necessary that technology is included in plans going forward”. The use of technology in commerce, he stated, “is something that we have long agitated for,because for far too long,the lack of its use has held us back”.
Mr. Robinson was speaking on Monday (Oct. 22) at the opening ceremony of the Computerized Job Estimation Tool (CJET) workshop series for small contractors and artisans, being held at the Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston.
The five-day series is organised by the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in partnership with the CDB’s Caribbean Technological Consultancy Service (CTCS) Network and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).
CJET was developed by the CDB’s CTCS Network out of the Bank’s recognition of the challenges faced by small contractors and artisans in the MSMEs sector in preparing estimates for jobs.
The software tool is regarded as a simple, but powerful device, which allows small contractors and artisans to always know their finite cost while preparing each line of the bills of quantities, along with projecting and maximising earnings on projects.
Mr. Robinson noted that the CJET workshop was quite timely and necessary, as it comes at a time when both the government and the private sector are embracing various technological initiatives that are aimed at boosting growth in the business environment and the local economy.
“We recognise that this is really a move that will give support to our small and medium-sized business professionals and bolster the mechanisms and resources that are available to them,” he said.
“I am happy that CJET will allow them to have a structured way of managing their project costs and will assist them in maximising their earnings,” Mr. Robinson added, noting that the technology tool will also allow for better networking and customer service,as well as maintain a transparent business and an accountable and productive environment.
“By utilising this tool, complaints of overpricing will be reduced as the calculations will be done using the appropriate technology,” he stated.
In her remarks, Managing Director, JSIF, Scarlette Gillings, noted that enterprises within the MSMEs sector, and in particular, contractors, who embrace appropriate technology will gain the benefit of operating a cost effective and efficient business.
“This will ultimately improve their competitiveness, while maximising operational efficiency and earnings,” she stated.
Mrs. Gillings said CJET will help small business operators to enhance their competitiveness as they position themselves to deliver projects on time and within budget, while maximising earnings.
“It will provide them with the ability to systemically develop bills of quantities, while being able to see and manipulate the impact of each line cost,” she informed.
The workshop will also include sessions on ‘Environmental and Gender Equality Considerations’ and ‘Project Management Concepts’ and promote networking among the participants.