The Entrepreneur Weekly wants to remind readers that the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (MSME) sector accounts for 80% of jobs in the Jamaican economy and MSMEs contributes significantly to GDP, employment and wealth creation in Jamaica. This 80% is not centralised to Kingston & St. Andrew and the blog is venturing further west this week in the exploration of the nature of entrepreneurship in Westmoreland and Hanover.
The most western parts of the island, like many other parishes, have a range of industries that entrepreneurs are engaged in. Dominant industries within these parishes include retail trade, manufacturing/agro-processing, agriculture and tourism.
Business in Westmoreland
According to the Jamaica legacy project “Popular economic activities in Westmoreland are tourism and agriculture. Tourism now plays an important role in the parish’s development. Agriculture, however, has always held a secure spot in Westmoreland’s economy with the historically prominent Frome Sugar Estate.” The parish capital, Savanna-la-Mar is a sub-regional centre, where the administrative, commercial, marketing and retail sector dominates and acts as a strong influence to the growth of the town.
The parish also produces selected manufactured items that include food and drink, beverages and tobacco, animal feed, textiles and textile products and printing. Which are some of the items that the Tourism Demand Study (2015) report sees as necessary for the support of the tourism sector islandwide. Westmoreland has contributed greatly to the tourism industry, adding to Jamaica’s popularity as a prime Caribbean tourist destination.
Business in Hanover
Though the second smallest parish in the island of Jamaica, there are a variety of industries present there with the layout of the land giving way to entrepreneurs being engaged heavily in tourism, agriculture and even fishery. Some of the major crops currently being produced in the parish include; yellow and Lucea yams, hot pepper, dasheen, Irish potato, pineapples and vegetables as some of the main ones planted in the parish.
In a recent interview with the Jamaica Gleaner, Aston King, deputy parish manager for the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) in Hanover noted “Recently, 8,000 farmers in Hanover are hoping to improve their production levels for 2022 over the year 2021. We see a positive trend as far as how agricultural production went in Hanover in 2021 over the year 2020, and in 2022 we are hopeful of further increases in production, as some of the major markets have basically been reopened, both for exports and the domestic, as in the hotel sector, even though they are not back at full capacity but some amount of purchasing is taking place,”
Like Westmoreland, Hanover has the capacity to provide entrepreneurs within the parish with opportunities to go into agro-processing and manufacturing to provide even greater support to the tourism sector. As Hanover also serves the popular tourism sector in Negril, areas such as the cosmeceuticals and gift & craft industries allow for entrepreneurs in these areas to not only supply their communities, but hotels and also increase opportunities for export.
BDC and Entrepreneurs
The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) serves a number of clients in the parishes of Westmoreland and Hanover with business development support. Ms. Meneve Malcolm, Business Development Officer noted “When our clients come in, we take pride in consulting and structuring ways for them to be trained and for their business ideas to be developed so they can further generate income.”
Vaughn Orr, Owner of Lemongrass Solutions, an agro-processing company that produces teas, seasonings, spices and a line of flour, is client of JBDC who says he enjoys doing business in Savanna-La-Mar “The people here are very supportive of your work.” He went on to commend the work being done at the local JBDC Business Centre and noted “The JBDC staff is very welcoming and willing to help and I can say Miss Malcom will go out of her way to try and help.” He encourages entrepreneurs in the West to be persistent and also seek advice and assistance that is available to them for their businesses to grow.