An agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce, the JBDC is Jamaica’s premier business development organisation working collaboratively with government, private sector, as well as, academic, research and international communities.



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The power of community is reiterated in John Donne’s quote, “No man is an island; no man stands alone…” And this practical statement though usually amplified in areas concerning social responsibility, can be extended to the business environment.  This week, the Entrepreneur Weekly highlights how the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) acts as a ‘Network Broker’ by partnering with other public and private sector entities to help entrepreneurs in the Micro, Small & Medum-sized Enterprise (MSME) sector succeed.

To start the new fiscal year April 2024 – March 2025, the JBDC recently hosted its ‘Breakfast with the CEO’ event at the AC Hotel in Kingston under the theme ‘Strategic Partnerships: Facilitating Business Success’.  The roundtable event brought together stakeholders in the MSME sector joining hands with public and private sector entities in a common goal, ‘Creating an enabling business environment’ as outlined in the government’s MSME & Entrepreneurship Policy (2018) and Jamaica’s National Development Plan, ‘Vision 2030’. 

The discussion led by JBDC featured representatives from the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), Jamaica Bankers Association (JBA), and Trade Board Limited who outlined a range of initiatives in place to help MSMEs grow.  Here are some excerpts from what they had to say:

1. Jamaica Bankers Association - Breaking Down Financial Barriers

Chorvelle Johnson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Sagicor Bank and Vice President of the Jamaica Banker’s Association highlights the changes in the MSME sector and how the financial sector has responded over the years, “It is obvious that Jamaica has to grow and we’re on a path of growth…but if you look at the growth in the SME sector, if you didn’t have the engine of the banks to support them, then that would not happen.”

The JBA over the years has done sensitisations to increase the awareness of financial institutions about MSMEs, which Johnson says has resulted in “most of our financial institutions have a window for small businesses in place”. 

Chorvelle Johnson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Sagicor Bank and Vice President of the Jamaica Banker’s Association
2. Sagicor Bank - Financial Readiness

Learning is a two-way street when it comes to bridging the gap between entrepreneurs and financial institutions. While bankers are learning about MSMEs to create the right products for them, MSMEs must also learn about what is required to do business with bankers. Johnson says, “At Sagicor Bank we recognise that for Jamaica to grow the MSME sector has to grow. Right, so for, us it’s not just about the financing, it’s a little bit more than that.” As such, the financial institution has been making it easier for MSMEs to access capital.

For MSMEs to access loans, readiness is one of the major criteria, “That’s what the Resource Centre is for. So recently we had things on taxation, we had cyber security, because we find that when people go into business, they just think, okay, it’s just about the business. We teach them about financials, we teach them about just being ready.”

In 2021, Sagicor Bank Jamaica (SBJ) and the JBDC have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to form the Sagicor Bank Business Resource Centre to provide free technical, business advisory, marketing, as well as research and project management services to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The facility is located in Constant Spring, Kingston.

3. Development Bank of Jamaica - Funding for Expansion
Paul Chin, Manager, Channels, Relationships & Marketing at the DBJ

The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) assists MSMEs through the Innovation Grant Fund and IGNITE Innovation Grant. Paul Chin, Manager, Channels, Relationships & Marketing at the DBJ, explains that Innovate Grant and Ignite programme cater to businesses at the ideation stage, providing access to up to $3 million to move from concept to market, while the second component offers entrepreneurs up to $7 million to transition products from informal settings to commercial spaces and larger markets. Additionally, Chin noted that the Innovation Grant Fund supports larger businesses with revenues ranging from J$75 to J$250 million annually, providing grants of up to J$20 million to expand business and internationalise.

In 2023, the DBJ, in collaboration with the JBDC, launched a new year-long pilot capacity development programme dubbed Growth and Expansion of MSMEs Through Innovation (GEMINI) Grant Programme. The J$100 million initiative will enable MSMEs to improve their operational efficiency, enhance their market competitiveness and access financing.

4. Bureau of Standards Jamaica - Quality Stamp

Before your products can enter any market, it must get the ‘quality stamp’ from the BSJ. The BSJ is improving its operations to serve more MSMEs across the island at a higher standard. Executive Director Velton Gooden says that the Bureau is expanding its testing operations to operate 24 hours a day, “We have also moved progressively towards making our lab internationally accredited, so we moved over the last few years from just five accredited labs to now nine accredited labs,”.

Under an existing partnership between the two government agencies, JBDC clients are eligible to access a 25% discount at BSJ such as micro-biological testing, labelling, nutriotional analysis, facility assessment and certification. 

From left to right, Dr. Velton Gooden, Executive Director at the BSJ, Paul Chin, Manager, Channels, Relationships & Marketing at the DBJ, and Chorvelle Johnson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Sagicor Bank and Vice President of the Jamaica Banker’s Association
5. Trade Board – Bridging Gaps to Export

The baton is passed to the Trade Board Limited after businesses are ready to internationalise.  The Trade Board understands that the lack of information on Trade agreements and is putting measures in place to elucidate these agreements through its Export Academy. “We are working on a programme to develop a customised system for training, which is the Export Academy,” Dr Maj Hugh Blake, trade administrator and CEO at the Trade Board Ltd, announced. “[Through this platform,] MSMEs can register, get online, complete an instrumental questionnaire, and we will pick up where your knowledge gap is and provide you with information that will close the gap.”

Dr Maj Hugh Blake, trade administrator and CEO at the Trade Board Ltd

These initiatives from each entity together create an environment where business is good.  Overall, partnerships can help MSMEs overcome limitations, leverage strengths, and achieve growth and sustainability in a competitive market.

Among the key services offered by JBDC is funding referrals. The Business Advisory Services Unit has relationships with various financial partners, and clients in need of loans or equity financing can gain access to assistance through this unit. Call or visit JBDC for a consultation at


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