Samuda Impressed with Canadian One-Stop Online Business Development Shop


Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, has lauded the efforts of BizPal, one of Canada’s premier virtual shops for business applications.
BizPal (Pal stands for permits and licences) is a one-stop online service giving persons interested in setting up business all the information on the permits, licences and regulations needed, from all levels of government, to start their business.
Minister Samuda, who was on a four-day visit to Canada, from May 19 to 23, to observe business strategies and how to cut bureaucratic red tape, said that BizPal was definitely needed in Jamaica.
“BizPal spoke to the whole effort by which businesses are established. The collaborative approach and the extent to which they co-ordinate the activities of businesses, and the one-stop concept, where one only has to access the Internet to get all the appropriate information about starting a business,” said the Minister.
In a presentation to Minister Samuda and his delegation, which included Jamaica’s High Commissioner to Canada Her Excellency Evadne Coye, the Senior Manager of BizPal, Marie-France Marquis, noted that BizPal specifically targets small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), and greatly reduces the time and energy spent searching for information.
“Most of the information a person needs to start or expand a business is available from a single source. Therefore, less time is spent dealing with red tape. After about 10 minutes answering a series of diagnostic questions, the client is presented with a comprehensive and customised list of the permits and licences that they require from all levels of government,” said Ms. Marquis.
Mr. Samuda said that one of the most difficult challenges facing Jamaica today is bureaucratic delays.
“If we’re ever going to be able to work our way out of our difficulties, we’re going to have to be very competitive,” Mr. Samuda said.
“One certain way of attacking that problem, is to remove bureaucratic red tape, the obstacles to business, because time is money and the time we spend going through the various regulatory mechanisms impedes the progress which can be made,” he added.
The Minister noted that having access to BizPal programming tools and being able to utilise parts of it, would enhance the small business sector and business in general in Jamaica.
Ms. Marquis said that under the Paper Burden Reduction Initiative, the Canadian Government made a commitment in 2004 to reduce paper-work burden by 20 per cent, and this goal was achieved earlier this year.
Several government departments and agencies worked together by streamlining regulations, eliminating duplicate requirements, getting rid of overlapping obligations and reducing how often documents needed to be filed, she stated.
Other presentations looked at the ease with which persons can register their businesses online, and also get comprehensive business information, such as writing a business plan, starting a business and finding new markets.
Mr. Samuda met with other Canadian business officials, as well as a group of Jamaican business owners.
His delegation included Robert Kerr, Manager of Investment Support Services at Jamaica Trade and Invest; Valerie Veira, Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation; Andrene Collings, Director of Commerce in his Ministry; and Lorna Perkins, Modernisation Projects Co-ordinator in the Office of the Prime Minister.

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