Small Business Incubator Project Launched


Another window of opportunity for business development and entrepreneurship has been opened with the launch of the Incubator and Entrepreneurial Production Centres project.
In his address at the launch held at the Hilton Kingston Hotel on July 31, Minister of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce (MITEC), Phillip Paulwell noted that the “project was conceptualized out of a strong desire to pursue a national programme of social inclusion in empowering our people.”
“The project is designed to change the circumstances and habits that condemn our poor people to persistent poverty,” the Minister pointed out.
“An incubator,” he explained, “can be seen as a supportive environment for entrepreneurship with a small management team that provides physical workspace, shared office facilities, counselling, information, training and access to finance and professional services in one affordable package,” he said.
Entrepreneurial production centres on the other hand, refer to community-based economic ventures or community-based organizations involved in economic production activities.
The key objectives of the project, Minister Paulwell highlighted are to: reduce failure of start-up businesses with value-added potential; facilitate the creation of sustainable employment among marginal individuals in depressed communities, and expand the demand for goods and services produced by micro and small enterprises.
The major beneficiaries of the project will include unemployed females who are heads of households who may not be accustomed to working; youth with low level education, skill and work ethics; street youth; persons with some level of physical disability; and persons in households that are beneficiaries of food stamp as well as sane street people.
“The project constitutes one of the strategies intended to give momentum to the general policy of the Government, which is to enable the micro, small and medium-size enterprise sector to facilitate the creation of employment and income distribution; contribute more growth in gross domestic product (GDP); earn foreign exchange and achieve growth with equity,” the Commerce Minister highlighted.
A sum of J$120 million will be allocated to pilot the project over a two-year period and will provide support for building refurbishment, machinery and equipment, technical assistance and training.
An existing project management unit in the Ministry will have responsibility for the overall management and coordination while the execution of project activities would be undertaken by existing agencies of Government including the Jamaica Business Development Centre (JBDC); the Factories Corporation of Jamaica; HEART Trust/NTA; Self-Start Fund and the Micro Investment Development Agency (MIDA).

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