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The University of the West Indies (UWI) has partnered with the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) to open a business centre on the Mona campus, which will help people with viable ideas to develop these into successful enterprises.

Located at the Old Personnel Building, 4 Gibraltar Camp Way, the facility, which was officially opened on Wednesday January 26, is in keeping with Government’s thrust to foster the development of the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector.

It will provide the full suite of services offered by the JBDC, including business advice and consultancy, market research and guidance, export information services, business plan assessment, loan proposal and financial statements. In addition, it will facilitate training in getting started in business; business planning and management; product development; marketing; and record keeping.  Customised training packages will also be offered based on specific needs and demands.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Reginald Budhan, welcomed the collaboration between the JBDC and UWI in the creation of the centre.

“It is good to see this kind of linkage and collaboration where the intellect from the university has a chance to interface with the industry. It also gives the university the chance to get a feel for the realities and the multiplicity of variables in the economic system,” Mr. Budhan said.

“I am very happy that we have taken this step and I am sure that in years to come we will see the fruits of the seed we have sown here,” he added.

Chief Executive Officer of the JBDC, Valerie Veira, said that the centre will serve as a hub where “people will come and have real dialogue”.

“In other words the people, who we think we are planning for, we need to plan with and we need them at the table with persons, who have all the intellectual information and analysis. We recognise that there is a need for a “nutritious back drop” for the micro small and medium enterprises, because when you examine it there is really no formal framework in which they are operating,” Miss Veira said.

Head of the Department of Management Studies at the UWI, which will manage the facility, Dr. Densil Williams said that the partnership between UWI and the JBDC is quite timely as “we seek to create jobs and transform the economic landscape of Jamaica to make it more internationally competitive”.  

“There is no doubt that this transformation will be driven by enterprises, especially internationally competitive small enterprises,” he stated.

Dr. Williams said that the JBDC has the skills and competencies to upgrade the capabilities of small firms so that they can become sustainable creators of wealth, while UWI “is a hotbed of ideas”, which it is ready to unleash, to foster the development of real productive businesses.

“This is what we are about as a university, to make real tangible contributions to the advancement of our society,” he stated.

One of the main aims of the business centre is to develop an ideas and knowledge data bank called ‘E-Biz Ideas Bank’, which will facilitate the brokering of business ideas originating from potential entrepreneurs.

The portal will host fresh ideas for users including students, lecturers and entrepreneurs and will allow investors, after registering, to browse for listed business opportunities. 

The investors will then be able to purchase or enter a joint venture agreement with the originators of the ideas. The research bank will also host applicable research on the entrepreneurship and small business operations. 

 

CONTACT: LATONYA LINTON