VALERIE VEIRA, chief executive officer of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), led the unveiling of the agency’s current developmental programmes and projects for the 2022-2023 fiscal year to an audience of stakeholders within the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) at the annual Breakfast with the CEO.
The event was held at the AC Hotel Kingston last Thursday.
Under the theme ‘Business is Good: Jamaica-Agro to the World’, the agency highlighted its thrust towards developing the agro-processing sector through initiatives targeting businesses at all levels and stages of development. The initiatives will zoom in on how the organisation will reinforce the importance of this sector to economic development for now and the future.
Veira noted, “The JBDC has thrived on the cultivation of fruitful partnerships with government, private sector, multilateral agencies, among others. Some of the agency’s major achievements and initiatives were as a result of the support received from valued partners in cash or kind. For this, the JBDC is always grateful and proud, as it is a signal of the fact [that] they believe in our mandate and are confident in our commitment to deliver.”
The planned initiatives are geared towards moving industries forward, particularly those along the agriculture and manufacturing value chain. To achieve its objectives, the agency has partnered with entities, including UNESCO, the European Union, Caribbean Development Bank, International Labour Organization and, the Organization of American States, among others.
Deputy Chief Executive Officer of JBDC Harold Davis said that the initiatives and programmes that the organisation has been giving special attention to span the agro-processing, creative and cultural industries, as well as the digitalisation of businesses. He said, “We have secured approximately US$979,359 (almost US$1 million) worth of investment in these key areas to bolster the MSME sector.”
He noted that within the agro-processing industry, the “JBDC is placing special emphasis on providing facilities and resources, such as food and essential oils incubators, to support these industries. We are aware that our MSMEs within the agricultural sector possess the capacity to affect many other industries and sectors along the value chain.”
Continuing, he pointed out, “The JBDC is committed to having businesses within the sector expanding their export reach; we want to see them going global and meeting international standards. This is directly aligned with the agency’s strategic goals, which include: to increase direct access to new local and international markets for 500 clients, delivering five per cent sales growth annually over the next three years, as well as to drive new business opportunities along industry value chains by establishing two industry-specific incubators by 2023.”
Davis added that “the JBDC is operating under the reality that we are in a dynamic environment and things change; we must be able to adapt quickly. Therefore, it is important for us to have a mindset of agility and adaptability”.
Davis noted that “though COVID-19 has disrupted the way we do business, disruption has the capacity to lead to innovation. Business is good, but it is not business as usual. It is time for us to reimagine the way we support our entrepreneurs, and the way we do entrepreneurship in Jamaica”.