Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda, says efforts are being made to provide the Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ) with a $50 million loan facility, to enable expansion of its operations.
The money is to be allocated from $300 million which Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, earlier this year announced was being provided for on-lending to the micro and small business sector through the JBDC, an agency of the Ministry.
Mr. Samuda says the assistance will enable the SBAJ to better serve its members and stakeholders in the wider micro and small business sector, by assisting those applying for loans from the JBDC, or requiring other forms of inputs or interventions, with the necessary precursory work.
Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda (centre), engages President, Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), Damian Obiglio (left),in lively discussion, prior to the start of the opening ceremony of the Small Business Association of Jamaica’s (SBAJ) Business Expo, at the organization’s Trafalgar Road complex, New Kingston, on Wednesday (November 24). Mr. Samuda was the guest speaker. Looking on is SBAJ President, Dalma James.
The allocation is expected to significantly augment the SBAJ’s incubator units at their Trafalgar Road, New Kingston, complex. Business incubators serve to facilitate the development of micro and small business enterprises, particularly those not having basic office space to kick start their operations.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the SBAJ’s Business Expo at the organization’s complex on Wednesday November 24, Mr. Samuda lamented that the entity was once “vibrant, alive and kicking”, but had ‘waned” and needed to be “revitalized”.
He attributed their “low visibility in the marketplace” to, among other things, breaches created by their inability to aggressively meet the needs of stakeholders, resulting in other interests moving to fill the gaps.
“You need to engage in a programme of expansion, aggressively, to attract small business to this location. But, in order to do that, you have to have something that is attractive. You have to have something that you are going to offer them that will enable them to expand their businesses. And you are going to need to establish a mechanism that is going measure the extent to which, through your efforts, they have expanded,” the Minister contended.
Industry, Investment and C0ommerce Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda (right), and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Reginald Budhan (left), listen to President, Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), Damian Obiglio, during a brief conversation prior to the start of the opening ceremony for the Small Business Association of Jamaica’s (SBAJ) Business Expo, at the organization’s Trafalgar Road complex, New Kingston, on Wednesday (November 24). Mr. Samuda was the guest speaker.
He said he will be meeting with the Board of the JBDC to recommending that the $50 million be provided to association.
“And, based on your preliminary work and your recommendation, you can be assured that a block of $50 million will be there for you. That will give you relevance. That will create, I suspect, a desire on the part of your association’s members to come here, to sit with you and you will have an opportunity to determine the extent to which you can help, in concrete ways,” he assured.
Mr. Samuda also announced that the Ministry will be moving to provide space to accommodate micro and small business entities, whose operations graduate from the incubator facilities provided by the SBAJ.
Against this background, he said that, following discussions with the principals of another of the Ministry’s agencies, the Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ), 30,000 square feet of unoccupied factory space have been identified for utilization.
“We will be giving you that on the basis that for the first year, you pay no rent at all, and for the second year, you only pay 50 per cent of the rent,” Mr. Samuda said, while assuring that he stands, ready, willing and able to offer any assistance stakeholders may require.