FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – DECEMBER 10, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) is targeting sixty (60) local entrepreneurs within the Micro, Small & Medium-sized Enterprise (MSME) sector for Cohort 4 of its Accelerator Programme which is set to get underway in early 2022. The six-month intensive development programme is being jointly funded by the JBDC and the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ).
Melissa Barrett, Business Advisory Services Manager at the JBDC, says the upcoming cohort is set to be the agency’s biggest since the programme was first launched in 2017. “Previously, we engaged a maximum of twenty (20) participants per cohort. We have since increased our capacity to deliver through additional staffing, consultants and financing. We are elated that the DBJ has agreed to finance J$30 million of the total, so we can reach more persons. The total investment is significant in that, we are essentially investing J$1 million in each participant,” she said.
The programme includes six modules: (1) Strategy Development, (2) Financial Management, (3) Marketing & Sales, (4) Operational Improvement, (5) Digital Transformation, and (6) Business Valuation. Participants will benefit from training, mentorship, networking, increased sales, business growth and financing opportunities.
“One of the high points of the programme is the one-week boot camp to be facilitated by the JBDC team of business development experts, as well as external consultants who are experts in their respective fields. We know that financing is critical for entrepreneurs, so they will be trained in pitch preparation in order to face potential investors in pitch sessions at the end of the programme,” Mrs. Barrett added.
According to Mrs. Barrett, the JBDC Accelerator Programme has seen several successful participants. Most recently, the JBDC B.O.S.S MAN and B.O.S.S LADY OF THE YEAR awards were bestowed on graduates of the programme, Carl Sharpe and Donna-Kaye Sharpe, partners in Chocollor Chocolate.
According to Mr. Sharpe, “Given the fact that I was otherwise gainfully employed, the approach to establishing Chocollor Chocolate was a kind of laissez faire. The Accelerator Programme however challenged us to not only give Chocollor Chocolate the attention it deserved, but to also open our eyes to the endless possibilities surrounding this venture, and to do this in a structured manner with the chances of success being greatly enhanced”.
Mrs. Barrett says the JBDC is especially proud of Chocollor Chocolate’s performance since the pandemic, as prior to Covid-19, Chocollor Chocolate had 2 direct outlets: the Things Jamaican™ stores and General Food Supermarket.
“When the airport was closed March to May 2020, they realigned their strategy. This allowed them to search for more direct customer sales, resulting in their customer base growing to just over thirty (30) customers which includes an arrangement with the renowned Starbucks which currently has the Chocollor Chocolate listed in their 8 local stores. The Sharpes have retrofitted an area in their home and relocated some equipment in the enclosed balcony. During curfew, lockdown and no movement days they were able to continue with production to meet an increasing demand. Home Sweet Home!,” Mrs. Barrett explained.
The JBDC is aiming to impact the Accelerator Programme Cohort 4 participants with results such as average annual sales growth rate of 10% of more, jobs created by early stage entrepreneurs, firms receiving early stage financing, as well as firms having links to strategic business partners (angel investors, institutional investors, and fund managers).
Applications are now open for the programme and will close on January 7, 2022. Applicants must meet the following criteria:
- In Business for at least one year;
- Earns a minimum revenue of JMD$5 Million;
- Must have 2 managers or decision makers;
- Must have a scalable business model;
- Must be willing to commit to a 6-month intensive programme.
Interested persons may access the application form on the JBDC’s website at www.jbdc.net.
The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) was established in 2001 as the premier government agency providing business development services to Jamaican Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs)…’From Concept to Market’, JBDC provides guidance for business start-ups and expansion, offering business advice and consultation, research services, business monitoring, training and capacity building, project management services, financial advice, design and product development as well as market penetration support and access. The organisation which operates within the ambit of the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce (MIIC), strives to continually fuel the local economy through its services and programmes designed to support the growth and development of the MSME sector.
Contact: Corporate Communications Unit
Tel: 928-5161-5, exts 244, 274 or 277, SL: 930-8531