- Jamaican Collette Campbell, through her RESET Caribbean Foundation, is providing critical support to the country’s small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
- The move involves partnership with the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, in keeping with the Government’s focus on strengthening the capacity of the SME sector to contribute to the growth of the economy.
- She launched RESET (Restoring Entrepreneurial Success Through Education) Caribbean to connect entrepreneurs with business training facilities. The non-profit foundation has two satellite offices in Kingston and Mandeville.
Jamaican Collette Campbell, through her RESET Caribbean Foundation, is providing critical support to the country’s small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
The move involves partnership with the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, in keeping with the Government’s focus on strengthening the capacity of the SME sector to contribute to the growth of the economy.
A trained economist in the area of international trade, who has worked as a researcher with organisations such as the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI) and the Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ), Ms. Campbell tells JIS News that she is well aware of the difficulties that small business operators face.
“The major challenge is access to financing. Jamaicans have a lot to contribute to the economy, but do not have the avenues through which to get access to the necessary resources and support that would allow them to excel…RESET (will act) as a bridge between the citizens and the opportunities…to help them cross over,” she says.
In 2013, Ms. Campbell was asked by the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce to participate in Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Development Policies training in Japan.
The month-long training, which took place at the Osaka University, focused on the areas of: Small, Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Financing Support; Introduction to SME Promotion Policies; Japan’s Management Philosophy; Human Resource Development; Technical Assistance to SMEs; Role of SME Supporting Organisations (Management and Start-up Support); and SME Promotion and Policy Implementation.
Recounting her experience on the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s (JICA)-sponsored programme, Ms. Campbell says most noteworthy was the strong support provided to small businesses, which has ensured their longevity.
“Small businesses are well supported at the community, regional and international levels… Japan SME’s have strong succession planning, a lot of them are over
100 years old (while) Jamaican SMEs tend to decline with the exit of the founder,” she notes.
Armed with the lessons learned, Ms. Campbell returned to Jamaica resolved to put into action all she had observed.
She launched RESET (Restoring Entrepreneurial Success Through Education) Caribbean to connect entrepreneurs with business training facilities. The non-profit foundation has two satellite offices in Kingston and Mandeville.
“Having been given the opportunity by the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce to go to Japan to study their SME system, I realised that having a lot of successful entrepreneurs and small businesses were not a game of chance. It was a carefully designed and orchestrated system that cultivated successful small businesses by ensuring that there was access to support and information about every aspect of the business environment. This was achieved through the provision of support and information (about) the local, regional and international business environments,” she says.
In November 2014, RESET embarked on an islandwide development workshop series for SMEs.
The workshops are expected to increase participants’ awareness of business opportunities and support services and empower them to be able to start and manage their own businesses, and build networks leading to collaborative community development projects.
Sessions have so far been conducted in the parishes of Manchester, St. Mary and St. Thomas, to provide enterprise and professional business development training and technical assistance to the participants.
These workshops also act as a data gathering exercise to address the specific needs of entrepreneurs and small business operators in the targeted parishes. “RESET (will act) as a bridge between the citizens and the opportunities…to help them cross over,” she says.
RESET Caribbean will also be managing the establishment of training centres for the sustainable development of small businesses.
The Government of Japan, through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots and Human Security Project (GGP), has provided a grant of just under $12 million
(US$103,077) to the Council of Voluntary Social Services (CVSS) for the setting up and furnishing of the training facilities.
They will be equipped with computers, servers and multimedia equipment, to deliver face-to-face and online training to small business owners and entrepreneurs in communities across the island.
Participants from the RESET workshops will be the first beneficiaries of the training to be undertaken.
Ms. Campbell, who proposed the project to the Japanese Embassy, is excited about the training and the opportunity it provides to grow small businesses.
“Success attracts success…we are hoping that people, who have put their excellent ideas on the shelf will come forward and we’ll work with them through the process…we are confident that we are going to be successful…so those beneficiaries will be able to contribute to their communities in the long run,” she says.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, commends the initiative and says that RESET Caribbean has the full support of the Ministry.
“I am so happy for this because I think that Jamaica can improve in business, particularly if we empower our people and this project is all about that. This is the sort of thing that we want to see a lot more of in Jamaica and I must say that this programme could not have come at a better time,” Mrs. Ffolkes Abrahams says.
She further notes “not only does it support the Government’s thrust to build entrepreneurs, but it also is in keeping with our MSME policy objectives in enhancing business development support …it’s all about building people, building businesses building our economy.”
The State Minister is encouraging all persons with business and entrepreneurial ideas to participate in the programme.
“With improvements in our business environment, the time is right for entrepreneurs to step up and take advantage of the improved conditions. We are here to assist you in whatever part of the island you might be, in whatever community you live or want to set up business. Now is the time to make that move…this initiative will go a far way in building entrepreneurship across Jamaica,” she says.