Some 105 small business owners from communities in West Central St. James are to benefit from a $26.5 million training programme, which will enable them to better manage and ensure the sustainability of their operations.
The training, being conducted by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), got underway on Wednesday, April 10, at the Sunset Beach Hotel in Montego Bay, with the first 35 participants from Mount Salem.
It is being funded through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) of Member of Parliament for West Central St. James, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams.
During the two-day session, the participants, which included grocers, craft and block makers, and cook shop operators, received instruction in areas such as product and market analysis, market research, promotion, record keeping, financial management and financing.
The other 70 beneficiaries will be trained during two sessions to be held later this month. At the end of the training, outstanding participants will receive vouchers valued at $20,000 each, which will enable them to acquire inputs to enhance their operations.
Addressing the closing session on Thursday, April 11, Mrs. Ffolkes Abrahams, who is also Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, congratulated the participants and charged them to use the knowledge gained to make their operations a success. She stated that small businesses are the “engines that are going to turn the country’s economy around”.
“I want to ensure that you are given the tools necessary to succeed in business because I know that you all have the qualities to succeed in whatever you do, as I have seen you do creative things,” she stated.
Craft vendor, Amara Gilchrist, who was one of the beneficiaries, expressed gratitude to Mrs. Ffolkes Abrahams and the JBDC for conducting the training exercise.
Ms. Gilchrist, who is a craft vendor, said she learnt a lot over the two days. “Even if I don’t get the grant, I have gathered some information, which will help me with my business,” she told JIS News.
Cook shop operator, Orrett Morgan, also stated his appreciation, and urged the participants to put the opportunity to good use.
By Glenis A. Rose, JIS Reporter