Brand Jamaica is set to get a boost on the world stage following the launch of the Jamaica Exporters’ Association’s (JEA) SUSTAINABLE CAPACITY PROGRAMME. Dubbed BRIDGE (Building Resilient Innovation-Driven Global Enterprises), the programme will work directly with 50 of their members to support them in their business development towards increasing exports. Details were outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed last Friday July 7, 2017 by JEA President, Michelle Chong and Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) CEO, Valerie Veira.
The BUSINESS NEEDS ANALYSIS Programme was developed out of this programme in collaboration with JBDC to have members need assessment developed using the JBDC’s Business Monitoring Programme. This programme is an initiative intended to strengthen the capacity of SME exporters with the ultimate goal of increasing their exports in a measureable way. Capacity refers to the key elements an Entrepreneur must be equipped with to operate a successful export business. JBDC will provide the main support for the Evaluation of the Company’s needs.
Through JBDC’s Business Monitoring Programme, select JEA members will be provided with an evaluation of their business needs while the Jamaica Exporters’ Association will guide members in the direction to access support to close these gaps; be it knowledge, finances or otherwise. The programme will run for a period of 12 months from July 2017 to June 2018 and will be executed in three phases:
- Evaluation of members needs
- Directing members to where to go to access support and
Hand-holding with members through the process, holding them accountable for their progress.
The two main objectives of the BUSINESS NEEDS ANALYSIS Programme are to: (1) Strengthen and build sustainable capacity of project participants and (2) Increase export sales for project participants.
According to Mrs. Chong, the JEA will provide the guidance to their members to access the necessary support. “The JEA will be responsible for identifying the most suitable candidates and determining at what level they will enter the project. JEA will also ensure companies exit the project with a sustainable plan to continue to strengthen the business. Overall JEA will be responsible for seeing participants through the duration of the project from start to finish, working closely with JBDC which we have identified as being the best agency to deliver these services,” she explained.
According to Miss Veira, the Business Monitoring programme has been effective in achieving significant up-scaling of some 200 enterprises since its formal inception just over two years ago. “JBDC’s business monitoring programme is designed as an eighteen to twenty-four-month hand-holding intervention. Entrepreneurs who seek business support from the JBDC are assisted in starting, managing and growing successful, profitable enterprises. The programme specializes in helping businesses make a turn-around,” she added.
Continuing, she pointed out that the JBDC’s recently launched Accelerator Programme was borne out of the Business Monitoring Programme.” It is a detailed 6-month curriculum which offers the entrepreneur mentorship, connectivity, workspace, an executive in residence programme, advisors in residence, a black box of support systems and access to professional pro bono services,” she said.
Miss Veira says the JBDC is pleased to work with the JEA on BRIDGE. “It is in line with our current thrust to inspire entrepreneurs to Think Big, Scale Up, Go Global,” she said.