Capacity-building support that will bolster the prospects of success for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) is now available through the Growth and Expansion of MSMEs through Innovation and Capacity-building (GEMINI) Grant pilot programme.
The initiative is being implemented by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) in collaboration with the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).
The Bank has allocated $100 million for the first year of implementation, which will cover 80 per cent of the costs for MSMEs, up to a maximum of $800,000 per applicant.
It will enable beneficiary entities to improve their operational efficiency, enhance their market competitiveness and access financing.
The pilot phase of the programme was launched during a ceremony at the DBJ’s head office in Kingston on Wednesday (May 31).
All participants, after onboarding, will be assessed, tiered according to their needs, provided with a work plan and placed in one of JBDC’s business development programmes.
Development of business plans, financial statements and websites are among the various benefits to be expected.
GEMINI will also replace the DBJ’s Voucher for Technical Assistance programme, which ended in 2022.
“After close to 10 years of providing sterling service to the MSME community, the DBJ’s premier capacity-building programme, the Voucher for Technical Assistance came to an end last year, chiefly because we needed to restructure it and make it more relevant to the needs of the beneficiaries,” DBJ Managing Director, Anthony Shaw, said in his remarks at the launch.
He further noted that capacity-building support will be provided to MSMEs through the JBDC’s network of Small Business Development Centres (SBDC) islandwide.
For her part, JBDC Chief Executive Officer, Valerie Veira, who emphasised that MSMEs remain a backbone of the economy, said she anticipates success and growth for all participants in the GEMINI programme.
“We have gone through the whole programme, as it’s designed, and we’re now very confident that we’re at the point where we have a worthwhile, robust programme, that our MSMEs will benefit from,” she stated.
Meanwhile, DBJ General Manager, Hugh Grant, said approximately 1,000 participants are expected to opt-in to the programme and benefit from the JBDC’s subsidised development services.
He further indicated that of this amount, 100 are being targeted for financial aid and extensive guidance.
Additionally, Mr. Grant said that under the programme, “DBJ and JBDC will also work to expand [our] registry of consultants to better provide the diverse skill set and services needed by the MSMEs”.
To be eligible, MSMEs must be registered companies in Jamaica, be 51 per cent owned by a local entrepreneur, and be in operation for at least a year, and will be required to provide a commitment letter to be a client of the network.
Interested persons can visit www.dbjgemini.com to apply.
Between 2018 and 2023, the DBJ supported more than 3,330 MSMEs with technical assistance and grants, valued at more than $1.6 billion across six programmes, to build their capacity.
The most requested support includes training in digital services, business plans, financial statements, marketing and promotional plans and mentorship and coaching.