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  • Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. Hon. Nigel Clarke, emphasises a point while addressing attendees at the finals and awards presentation of the 6th staging of the National Business Model Competition at the Knutsford Court Hotel on Friday (March 22).
  • “There is no better time to have an entrepreneurial venture than when you are young… this is the time to take risks,” Dr. Clarke said.
  • He was speaking at the finals and awards presentation of the 6th staging of the National Business Model Competition at the Knutsford Court Hotel on Friday (March 22).

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. Hon. Nigel Clarke, is encouraging young persons, to take on entrepreneurial ventures, particularly those leaving tertiary institutions.

“There is no better time to have an entrepreneurial venture than when you are young… this is the time to take risks,” Dr. Clarke said.

He was speaking at the finals and awards presentation of the 6th staging of the National Business Model Competition at the Knutsford Court Hotel on Friday (March 22).

The Finance Minister pointed out that the skills being learnt and the knowledge being gained in college/university will be useful in embarking on a new business in the current economic climate.

“The environment that we have today, which is an environment of great economic opportunity, the likes of which we have not seen in Jamaica in decades, is one that I would encourage you to take advantage of,” Dr. Clarke urged.

The Finance Minister emphasised that the “new Jamaica” which is emerging, is one of economic opportunity particularly for young people who want to go into business.

“Jamaica will not be able to achieve its potential without persons venturing out, taking a risk, starting a business, providing a service, hiring people, growing and prospering,” he said.

He assured that the Government has been putting measures in place to continually improve the business environment and provide a supportive ecosystem which facilitates the success of small businesses.

“We have put in place a set of policies that are geared towards encouraging the “bubbling up” of small businesses, that are geared towards encouraging small and micro businesses to emerge and to thrive” he said.

These include, as was outlined in his Budget presentation – the abolition of minimum business tax “which has been an unnecessary burden on micro businesses”.

The Minister also announced the abolition of the asset tax for non-financial businesses; and the raising of the threshold of General Consumption Tax (GCT) from $3 million to $10 million.

“We believe that these measures will remove some of the fiscal obstacles to small business growth and small business success,” he said.

Dr. Clarke also informed that for the upcoming financial year, the Government has put in place avenues through which Micro Small and Medium Enterprises can find financial support, which he termed the “oxygen” for businesses.

“We have programmes through the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and directly through the Ministry of Finance to provide financial support whether it be by way of loans or by way of collateral support,” he said.

He noted that the Government has also set aside $200 million in equity financing for business start-ups to complement private angel networks.