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State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment, and Commerce, Michael Stern has said that a brighter economic future will be secured for Jamaica, through greater wealth creation and better employment opportunities.
“As a government, we have a clear objective to make Jamaica one of the most competitive and productive countries in the region. We see economic development at the heart of our future, through greater wealth creation and better employment opportunities for all Jamaicans,” the Minister said.
He was speaking at the opening of a one-day small business exposition, spearheaded by the Jamaica Business Development Centre (JBDC), at the Hilton Kingston Hotel on April 2.
The State Minister emphasized that in order to achieve economic growth, “we must ensure that there is a modern and supportive infrastructure in place to support businesses, both locally and overseas; that we have the right skills for future employment opportunities; and that there is continued promotion and support of (the) enterprise.”
He pointed to the Micro and Small Enterprise (MSE) sector as the key strategy in building the economy, generating employment, and addressing poverty. He also said that this sector had the potential to create more employment per dollar invested, than the large capital-intensive productive sectors.
Mr. Stern lauded the JBDC for its role in leading the Government’s initiative to facilitate the development of the MSE sector in Jamaica, adding that the exposition was “timely and appropriate.”
He said that the government is committed to providing a supportive environment for entrepreneurship and pointed to the establishment of the Incubator and Entrepreneurship Production Centre Project (IEPC).
The IEPC aims to facilitate the nurturing of and development of micro enterprises to become high value-added and financially sustainable businesses with high growth potential; to facilitate skilled and experienced entrepreneurs with emphasis on proven community-based entrepreneurs; to create sustainable market-based opportunities at the lower end of the employment spectrum in marginal and depressed communities that are unable to attract investors; and to increase the viability of MSEs nationally, through increased sales.
Mr. Stern said he wants to see a Jamaica that is more business and investment friendly, with stronger emphasis being placed on local branding as part of the wider move to brand Jamaica.
He informed that a sustained programme of generic marketing and promotion of the products of MSEs will also be undertaken, with emphasis on goods produced in the Entrepreneurship Production Centres (EPCs).
“Our role is to support and facilitate the sector and we will keep introducing these and other initiatives to ensure that our micro, small and medium sized businesses can grow and become self sustainable entities,” Mr. Stern added.
The small business expo, titled ‘Today’s Business for Tomorrow’s Growth’, marks the 7th anniversary of the JBDC, which is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment, and Commerce.
The expo, which features over 30 exhibitors, is aimed at providing a forum for small business owners who have a desire to improve their businesses through better promotion and branding of their products and services and to garner information on newer and more innovative ideas for marketing in the 21st Century.
Presentations will cover several topics, including: ‘Product Development’; ‘Writing a successful Business Plan’; ‘Marketing a Small Business from a Big Business Perspective’; and ‘Technology in Small Business’.