JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The PIOJ, through its Growth Secretariat, has partnered with the DBJ to undertake an initiative aimed at resolving challenges businesses experience in accessing financing.
  • Dubbed ‘Financial Information and Real-time Matchmaking’ (FIRM), the initiative will target the creation of an educational, financing, and networking platform.
  • The initiative aims to assist persons with potentially viable business ideas or existing businesses that are underfunded and lack the requisite collateral or market information to access financing for their ventures.

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), through its Growth Secretariat, has partnered with the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) to undertake an initiative aimed at resolving challenges businesses experience in accessing financing.

Dubbed ‘Financial Information and Real-time Matchmaking’ (FIRM), the initiative will target the creation of an educational, financing, and networking platform, designed to provide market access to entities at the developmental or initial stages of their operations, as well as established  businesses which need additional financing to boost their activities.

Details of FIRM were outlined Executive Director of the Growth Secretariat, Joseph Cox, during the recent launch of an expo for the initiative, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston.

Mr. Cox said the initiative aims to assist persons with potentially viable business ideas or existing businesses that are underfunded and lack the requisite collateral or market information to access financing for their ventures.

“Currently, domestic credit in Jamaica is less than 35 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is well below the international benchmarks. This points to difficulty in accessing credit and is reflective of inadequate funding for investment and entrepreneurial activities which, in part, is occasioned by an information deficit,” Mr. Cox noted.

As such, he said the initiative will afford businesses in need of financing, the opportunity to, among other things, pitch their business models to select panels of financiers during the expo, slated for October 4 at the Karl Hendrickson auditorium, Jamaica College, St. Andrew.

“How this works is that all applicants will be prescreened by a panel, including members from the DBJ, Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), and Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), prior to the event. They are also subject to pre-established criteria and are eligible for training by way of capacity building workshops,” he outlined, adding that the workshops are being designed to empower entrepreneurs in the rudiments of developing business models and accessing finance.

Mr. Cox said successful applicants will be clustered according to areas of interest to facilitate optimized matching within the expressed areas of interest.

FIRM’s matchmaking process will identify a cadre of innovative entrepreneurs who will be provided with technical support and capacity building where appropriate. Key inputs for this aspect will be provided by the JBDC, PSOJ, and JAMPRO.

In his remarks, PIOJ Director General, Colin Bullock, welcomed the FIRM initiative, describing it as timely and strategic in addressing some of the issues entrepreneurs encounter in accessing financing.

He anticipates that the engagement will stimulate the economy by facilitating growth, and contributing to unemployment and poverty reduction.

“FIRM emerges within the context of the Government of Jamaica already implementing several strategies geared towards improving access to financing. The initiative’s (establishment is recognition) that a strategy to align financing options with business ventures in need of financing was, in fact, missing…and FIRM is on a mission to close that gap,” Mr. Bullock stated.

For information on registration and other engagements, persons may visit www.firmexpoja.com.