JIS News

Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce Michael Stern has said that small businesses are the bedrock of Jamaica.
“In many ways, small businesses are the bedrock of the country. Their success mirrors the country’s success,” he stated at Today’s Money Limited Mandeville Money Expo held on Wednesday (May 13) at the Golf View Hotel in Manchester.
He noted that the Government is committed to supporting the sector to create jobs and grow the economy and has implemented several measures to strengthen the capacity of these operations, including the provision of business development support, to enhance their viability and competitiveness.
These include Business Information Centres, established by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), through which small entrepreneurs can access technical support, and business, marketing and financial services, while there is a network of certified business service providers to assist start-up operations. A pilot incubator project has also been launched to provide physical accommodation and a range of products and support services.
In addition, seven Export Centres and Business Information Points (ECBIP) have been set up by the Jamaica Exporters Association (JEA) through the Private Sector Development Programme (PSDP).
This five-year PSDP is being funded by the Government of Jamaica and the European Union at a cost of Euro 26. 17 million, and is designed to address the various challenges that affect Jamaica’s private sector as well as to positively impact national export performance and competitiveness, while providing standardised business information. The programme is in partnership with the JEA, JBDC and Jamaica Trade and Invest (JTI).
As it relates to financing for the small business sector, Mr. Stern informed that $2.5 billion is being made available through wholesale lending institutions such as the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, Micro Investment Development Agency (MIDA), National Insurance Fund (NIF) and small business programmes.
In addition, the Prime Minister, in his recent budget presentation announced the credit enhancement facility, under which the DBJ will establish a special wholesale window to provide an additional $1 billion to the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector. Under this facility, loans of between $500,000 and $10 million will be made available through the approved financial institutions to the small business sector.
The DBJ will also be providing $1 billion to a further 20,000 micro enterprise operators.
Citing the small business procurement policy, which requires that Government Ministries and agencies allocate 15 per cent of their budgets for the procurement of goods and services from SMEs, the State Minster said: “This will give tangible Government support to over 100,000 small businesses now operating right across Jamaica, and is designed to ensure production and sustainable employment, ultimately contributing towards the growth of our economy.”