SSF to Disburse $55 Million to SME Sector


In continuance of its mandate to promote self help and development, the Self Start Fund (SSF) will disburse $55 million to the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector during this financial year, and provide greater levels of business advice and monitoring to clients. According to a Ministry Paper tabled in the House on June 6, by Minister of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce, Phillip Paulwell, the Fund will also provide working capital and fixed assets for 350 entrepreneurs; create and preserve 1,000 jobs within the SME sector; and initiate an Entrepreneur Linkage Programme with two tertiary institutions.
In addition, the Fund will develop a cadre of business development officers across the island, and in collaboration with JASPEV, provide greater support to specific weak communities. The SSF staff training will be carried out along with the re-branding of the Fund.
During the last fiscal period, the SSF disbursed $16.5 million to the SME sector; facilitated business loans to 345 entrepreneurs within the sector; and trained five persons from Clarendon, St. James, and the Corporate Area as business development officers. Under the Entrepreneur Linkage Programme, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the University of Technology. Work commenced to identify specific communities for which the SSF would be providing loan financing to micro entrepreneurs, and the Jamaica Business Development Centre was engaged to provide on-going training for staff, particularly loan officers. The SSF was established to address the needs of persons who were either graduates of the secondary school system or approved Government training programmes, and interested in starting small businesses or expanding the operations of existing small or micro-enterprises (SMEs). This target group is assisted through the provision of credit. The SSF is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce.

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