Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, the Hon. Karl Samuda, has said that while Jamaican products are of good quality, more need to be done to raise standards to the international market level.
“We need to go much further. It needs to become second nature for us to produce the best quality that we can produce,” Mr. Samuda told the Private Sector Development Programme’s Awards Luncheon, at the Jamaica Conference Centre, Thursday (December 3).
He said that it will take patience, commitment and cash, but those involved in the process must be prepared to make the investment, as standards are critical.
Mr. Samuda said that succeeding in the domestic market was no longer enough, as every player must have their eyes fully focused on the foreign market.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda (centre); and Programme Manager for the Private Sector Development Programme (PSDP), Wynette Anderson (left) listening to a point being made by Head of the European Commission delegation in Jamaica, Ambassador Marco Azzocchi-Alemani at the PSDP’s awards luncheon at the Jamaica Conference Centre Thursday (December 3).
“This requires a new orientation and a new approach and that can only be achieved through innovation and technology,” he said.
The Minister disclosed that evidence gathered from surveys, taken during the programme, showed that some 70 per cent of the small business entrepreneurs surveyed had no idea what it meant to compete on the European market. In fact, less than half knew about the concessionary loan facilities offered by the Government, and fewer had ever taken advantage of them, he explained.
“So we have a massive journey, in terms of communicating to the small and micro business sector what is available to them, what is required and what it will take to succeed,” he noted.
Outlining the impact of the PSDP, President of Jamaica Trade and Invest (the implementation agency for the PSDP), Sancia Bennett-Templer, said there were several achievements that were not widely recognized.
She said these included an understanding of the firms and corporations, of the need for structure, planning, monitoring and the need to ensure that before moving ahead with programmes and initiatives, there is a roadmap.
Mrs. Bennett-Templer said the JTI would be seeking to continue to promote these lessons in its programmes. She also highlighted the valuable lessons learnt from the PSDP’s clustering methodology.
“This is an area we had very little knowledge of prior to this programme.(but) we have had training and expertise developed during the course of this prgoramme with respect to clustering,” she pointed out.
The PSDP is a euro26.17 million five-year, joint initiative of the Government of Jamaica, and the European Union (EU). It is geared to improving the competitiveness of local micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
The programme, which ends this month, seeks to: enhance the competitiveness and profitability of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises in Jamaica; strengthen the capacity of private and public sector support organizations that provide business development services to MSMEs; and improve the business environment in which MSMEs operate.
The JTI and the Jamaica Business Development Corporation shared the responsibility of implementing the programme.