An agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce, the JBDC is Jamaica’s premier business development organisation working collaboratively with government, private sector, as well as, academic, research and international communities.



Mobile (Digicel)


14 Camp Road, Kingston

GOVERNMENT entities are pooling resources to bolster micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), unveiling an array of initiatives aimed at cultivating a favourable business environment.

In a recent round-table discussion hosted by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) at the AC Hotel in Kingston, featuring key stakeholders such as the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), Trade Board Limited, and the Jamaica Bankers Association (JBA), the focus was on strengthening support mechanisms for MSMEs under the overarching theme ‘Strategic Partnerships: Facilitating Business Success’.

In addressing the contributions of the Trade Board, Dr Maj Hugh Blake, trade administrator and CEO at the Trade Board Ltd, highlighted the underutilisation of trade agreements that offer benefits to the MSME sector for export. He attributed this phenomenon to a lack of awareness among MSMEs regarding the potential advantages of these agreements. To remedy this situation, the Trade Board intends to engage directly with MSMEs to provide education about these agreements. Dr Blake emphasised the need for MSMEs to access information on exporting, particularly given the prevailing misconception that exporting is only viable for larger companies and is overly technical.

“We are working on a programme to develop a customised system for training, which is the Export Academy,” Dr Blake announced. “[Through this platform,] MSMEs can register, get online, complete an instrumental questionnaire, and we will pick up where your knowledge gap is and provide you with information that will close the gap.”

This initiative, which is expected to be launched soon, aims to alleviate the challenges faced by MSMEs in navigating the complexities of international trade, thereby fostering a more supportive environment for their growth and success.

The Trade Board also recently launched ‘Export Jamaica’, which represents a pivotal milestone that Dr Blake heralded as a “global market intelligence and compliance day break.” This initiative promises to furnish MSMEs with invaluable market insights and regulatory guidance crucial for navigating the complexities of international trade. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Standards Jamaica is expanding its testing operations to operate 24 hours a day. Executive Director Velton Gooden explained that this decision arose from the observation that many businesses operate around the clock, necessitating a corresponding availability of services from the BSJ to meet their needs.

“We have also moved progressively towards making our lab internationally accredited, so we moved over the last few years from just five accredited labs to now nine accredited labs,” Gooden announced.

This expansion will not only allow the BSJ to conduct more tests efficiently but also gain international recognition for its standards and practices. He further underscored ongoing efforts to modernise legislation. He stated that the BSJ operates under three major legislations: the Standards Act, the Weights and Measures Act, and the Process Group Act, which is outdated and can hinder the enhancement of Jamaica’s competitiveness on the global stage.

“You cannot integrate into the international community and become globally competitive with archaic pieces of legislation,” Gooden stated.

The BSJ is advocating for upgrades to these laws and has initiated significant efforts to help draft new legislation. Gooden expressed confidence that, by the end of the next year, the BSJ will be prepared to share the progress made in this regard.

Addressing the crucial issue of financial aid for MSMEs, Paul Chin, general manager of the Development Bank of Jamaica, emphasised the significance of confronting this challenge head-on. He acknowledged the persistent cries regarding the lack of suitable financial products to support the growth, development, and internationalisation efforts of MSMEs. Chin reassured stakeholders by stating, “The bank has a range of products focusing on innovation.”

Chin elaborated on these products, including the Innovate Grant and Ignite program. He explained that the Innovate Grant has two components: one caters to businesses at the ideation stage, providing access to up to $3 million to move from concept to market, while the second component offers entrepreneurs up to $7 million to transition products from informal settings to commercial spaces and larger markets. Additionally, Chin noted that the Innovation Grant Fund supports larger businesses with revenues ranging from $75 to $250 million annually, providing grants of up to $20 million to expand business and internationalise. Chin also mentioned the Energy Grant, which involves an energy auditor assessing operations to improve energy efficiency and assist with energy-saving products. He revealed that there are more financial products coming within the next year to support MSMEs even further.

“I think that it is critical for businesses to be focused on the horizon and to ensure they not just organise their business for the day but they build the kind of confidence in their existing businesses to be able to take advantage of what’s on the horizon,” added Blake.

Source: Jamaica Observer –


Asheika Townsend