The HEART Trust/NTA is providing $14.23 million in grant funding to six Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).
The funds, for the acquisition of equipment, technologies, capacity-building services and technical assistance, are being facilitated through the agency’s ‘General MSME Support’ component of the MSME Programme, which was launched today (July 21) at The Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston.
The six beneficiaries are ProSource, Jamaica Transport Services, Zinergy International, Honey Vera, Frazer’s Ceramics, and Eco Farms/Environmed.
Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, in his address at the launch, said the programme will promote employment and wealth creation, while increasing access to capital.
“Through its MSME programme, the Heart Trust is demonstrating its commitment to national development in keeping with its vision of having a Jamaican workforce trained and certified to international standards,” Senator Reid said.
The MSME programme is designed to increase the productivity and competitiveness of businesses; boost employment and wealth creation; enhance the quality and quantity of exports; and increase the sustainability of MSMEs through training and capacity development.
Funding under the programme is only to be used to finance direct expenses, including acquisition of equipment, machinery, technology and software; development of new market access; expanding existing market linkages; capacity building through technical training; and business advisory services.
Executive Director of the HEART Trust/NTA, Dr. Wayne Wesley, informed that beneficiaries under the General MSME Support can access up to $3 million for initiatives to improve their productivity, competitiveness, and build their capacity.
Capacity and business development support will be provided through the Jamaica Business Development Cooperation (JBDC), for which a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed at the launch.
“To benefit from this award, the MSME must be registered with the Companies Office of Jamaica, be tax compliant, be willing to accept HEART Trust/NTA graduates for internship or apprenticeship and have export or growth potential to boost employment,” Dr. Wesley said.
Other components of the MSME Programme include Trainee Start-Up Support; Entrepreneurship Clubs; Support of Export Max II; SmarTraq Programme; and Customised Training/Interventions.
Under the Entrepreneurship Clubs component, learners are afforded the opportunity to develop business ideas, while being exposed to the various facets of entrepreneurship.
“This is done with a view of igniting the entrepreneurial spirit in our youth; converting viable business ideas into business start-ups,” Dr. Wesley said.
For the Trainee Start-Up Support, this aims to promote innovation, foster the creation and sustainability of start-ups and create employment.
Beneficiaries will receive $400,000 in grant funding to procure tools and equipment and will be supported by an 18-month business development programme facilitated by business advisors.
Dr. Wesley explained that Support of Export Max II is a three-year initiative geared towards providing focused capacity building and market penetration support to a group of 20 export and export-ready firms.
He noted that it aims to improve the competitive positioning of the target companies to take advantage of market opportunities and make a greater contribution to the Jamaican economy.
The SmarTraq Programme provides opportunity for existing and potential entrepreneurs to get the training necessary to own and operate their businesses. This can be accessed through the Vocational Training Development Institute in Kingston or the HEART College of Innovation and Technology in Montego Bay.
The Customised Training/Intervention component provides a range of services for MSMEs to improve skills or retool their workforce.
For further information on the MSME Programme persons can contact the HEART Trust/NTA at 970-4435 or 928-1301-2.