The National Insurance Fund (NIF) will invest J$1 Billion in the micro and small business sector over the next three years. Of this amount $650 Million is to be disbursed to the sector during this calendar year. Prime Minister P.J. Patterson made the announcement on Wednesday (Jan. 25) at the launch of the Young Entrepreneurs’ Association of Jamaica (YEA at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
The Prime Minister said all viable economic projects would be considered for financing and that the NIF will collaborate with existing small enterprise funding institutions including the National Development Foundation of Jamaica and the Micro Investment Development Agency, for the disbursement of funds at reasonable rates of interest.
It is projected that over 3000 individual projects will be financed on terms that will facilitate and encourage entrepreneurship, business development and employment opportunities. He stressed the need for the promotion of a culture of entrepreneurship adding that these were valuable life skills that could prove beneficial in deciding upon ones career. “Education and training must develop creativity, flexibility and imagination in students of all disciplines, as these are crucial to developing entrepreneurs. At the primary level, there should be familiarization of enterprise training in the teaching of non-business disciplines such as the arts, sciences and trade,” Mr. Patterson said.
Prime Minister Patterson commended the Jamaica Employers Federation for its work with young entrepreneurs noting that the YEA was the first association of its kind in the Caribbean. “We welcome this association as a hub around which young entrepreneurs can negotiate and protect their interests. This should translate into a more robust economy and a higher rate of employment,” Mr. Patterson stated.
He said the direction of the JEF and the YEA was in keeping with the objectives of the National Industrial Policy which endeavours to transform the Jamaican economy through the promotion of new activities in targeted areas. He said the NIP had pursued a diversified pattern of development and that entrepreneurship was being encouraged as a deliberate portfolio growth opportunity. The YEA will operate under the umbrella of the JEF and will receive secretariat and other critical support from that organization. The YEA is a member of the Young Americas Business Trust under an agreement signed by the JEF earlier this week.