More Help For Micro, Small And Medium Enterprises

GOJ, EU commits J$99 million

Kingston, March 3, 2008 – More technical help is available for micro, small and medium enterprises in Jamaica. The help comes from the Export Centre and Business Information Point (EC/BIP) component of the Private Sector Development Programme (PSDP).

The two-year programme has a budget of J$99 million. Jamaica Trade and Invest (JAMPRO), the implementation agency will work alongside Jamaica Business Development Centre (JBDC) and the Jamaica Exporters’ Association (JEA) as partners for the full implementation of this programme.

The EC/BIP is one of 12 components of the PSDP which is aimed at empowering the MSME sector, which accounts for 80 per cent of the country’s employment. The EC/BIP programme will provide standardized business development services (market access, corporate financing, technical assistance); along with current information relating to export.

This programme was launched last Thursday (February 28) at the Jamaica Pegasus. Representatives of each of the agencies made presentations and gave updates on their programmes to date.

As Jamaican businesses aim to become more competitive, President of JTI, Robert Gregory asked the Jamaican businesses today to “have a mindset that is global in outlook, and nimble and proactive in local impact.” Gregory also noted that “MSMEs must be bullish about competitiveness and we are never to allow ourselves to be left behind in the race for competitiveness.”

Jamaica is currently ranked 63 out of 178 economies in the Ease of Doing Business in, according to the most recent World Bank Study and Junior Minister, Industry, Investment and Commerce, Michael Stern, pleaded with business operators today, “to make use of the information which is available.”

The Minister suggested a three-prong approach to MSME’s success: closer business-government partnership; effective networking of national agencies involved in the value chain and use of new and emerging technologies. In committing his government to MSME success, the Minister urged all the partners to get on board.

Minister Stern went on to say, “one main aim of the EC/BIP is to impact national export performance in a positive way and this programme will serve to reduce costs while breaking and penetrating into new markets.”

The office of the Project Coordinator has indicated that satellite ECs/BIPs will be subsequently rolled out and there should be about 12 of these providing services across Jamaica, aligned to the three primary (JBDC, JEA, and JTI). Eventually, the services will be available to any MSME anywhere in Jamaica, as the network will continue to grow.

The programme is target driven and should meet the following as of December 2009 as set out by the European Union:

Number of entities/MSMEs accessing BIP services: 1600

Number of interventions accessing BIP: 5,000

Number of entities/MSMEs accessing EC services: 650

Number of interventions accessing EC: 2,000

PSDP update

The PSDP so far provided grants in the amount of J$255.7 million to 117 firms in the MSME sector and in two weeks will offer additional business development services to eligible community-based organisations with grants ranging from €5,000 to €10,000.

Another component of the PSDP, Corporate Finance Broker Unit (CFB), in its second year has facilitated 33 projects valued at J$88 million and has administered services to over 300 firms in the areas of business plan analysis, cash flow and budget review