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  • Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, has reiterated the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the development of the local economy.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, has reiterated the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the development of the local economy.

“For Jamaica, SMEs provide approximately 80 percent of new employment created. This group is the key driver of innovation, employment and growth for the economy as a whole. We need to work more with SMEs,” said the Minister of State.

She was speaking at the launch of Scotiabank’s Vision Achiever Programme at the bank’s Financial Centre on Constant Spring Road on July 23.

Mrs. Ffolkes-Abrahams acknowledged that there are several challenges to SMEs such as difficulties in exploiting technology, low productivity and regulatory burdens, but that the government is working to overcome these issues.

“We are committed to eliminating the impediments to the formation and sustainable growth of businesses in the SME sector.  Equally, we are committed to a legal, regulatory and institutional framework that supports growth and development, which makes it easier to do business,” she said.

Mrs. Ffolkes-Abrahams also commended the partnership established between Action Coach and Scotiabank for seeking to deliver internationally recognised coaching programmes to SMEs.

With the sum of $20 million invested in this initiative by the bank, 24 small business owners will be given an opportunity to maximize their operations through participation in a 17-week training programme.

This intensive course will be led by Chief Executive Officer of Action Coach Jamaica and renowned business coach, Marcia Woon-Choy. The programme will begin in September and run through to December and is an amplification of Scotiabank’s support of SMEs.

Vice-president of Small and Medium Enterprise at Scotiabank, Debra Lopez Spence, said her company is committed to the growth and development of these enterprises.