The month of May is shaping up to be an exciting one for the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (MSME) sector as the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) today officially launched the 2017 edition of its marques events – 10th Annual Small Business Expo & Conference and Mobile Business Clinic Initiative Phase 2. The announcement was made at ‘Breakfast with the CEO’ event held at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston where the JBDC outlined a slew of initiatives designed to engage and spur MSMEs towards growth.
“We recognize that in today’s world, businesses must engage clients and deliver services outside the office and therefore outreach is a major thrust for the agency. We are pleased that we were able to reach approximately 2400 MSMEs islandwide during phase 1 of the Mobile Business Clinic Initiative and are very elated as we get ready to re-enter the field in May under the theme: Converting Capacity to Currency,” said Valerie Veira, JBDC’s Chief Executive Officer.
In 2014, the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce and JBDC developed and implemented the Mobile Business Clinic Initiative as an islandwide project resulting in the decentralization of business development services, geared at reaching a wider cross-section of MSMEs in new and existing industries and sectors.
Senior General Manager, Retail Banking of NCB, Audrey Tugwell Henry (left) presents Chief Executive Officer of the JBDC, Valerie Veira (right) with a check for J$16 million representing title sponsorship for the Corporation’s signature events, Mobile Business Clinic – Phase 2 and the 10th Annual JBDC Small Business Expo & Conference. The check was presented during the ‘CEO Breakfast’ held on Wednesday, April 12 at the Terra Nova Hotel.
The main objectives of the programme are to facilitate business formalization, market access and market entry, to increase awareness of business development services, provide training, capacity development and technical support, promote sound entrepreneurial practices through public education programmes and to educate MSMEs about the Government’s reform agenda benefiting the sector (e.g. SIPP Act, Super-form, and Insolvency Act). The Clinics were staged in twelve (12) parishes islandwide between October 2014 and July 2016.
“Having partnered with several government and private sector entities to sensitize our general target audience in phase 1, we will now turn our focus to primarily high growth potential entrepreneurs in phase 2 which will be executed in six (6) regions islandwide. These specially invited participants will be specially targeted through our database as well as those of our partners. While we have a standard programme outlined, adjustments will be made based on the target area. For example, at our first staging in Manchester, we will focus heavily on the agricultural sector,” Miss Veira explained.
Some of the areas to be covered include Financial Literacy, Small Business Law, Youth Entrepreneurship, Family- owned Businesses, Trade Policy, Value Chain Management and New Business Opportunities. The first Clinic which targets MSMEs in Manchester and St. Elizabeth is set to be staged in May.
Small Business Expo
Plans are also in high gear for the staging of the 10th Annual Small Business Expo & Conference scheduled for Thursday May 11, 2017 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston under the theme: Think Big. Scale Up. Go Global.
“We were heartened by the 55% increase in attendance at last year’s Expo, as it signalled that our MSMEs are serious about business and that they trust us to take them along their journey. This one-day event delivers incredible value at an affordable price, with MSMEs benefiting from a plethora of presentations and seminars strategically developed and delivered by experts that we’ve partnered with from various sectors and disciplines,” the CEO outlined.
Other outreach initiatives outlined at the event include the newly developed quarterly events such as Opportunity Evening, Raising Capital, B.O.S.S Lady, Lunch ‘n’ Learn, as well as the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week staged in November.
National Commercial Bank’s Senior General Manager – Retail Banking, Mrs. Audrey Tugwell Henry presented a J$16 million cheque to the JBDC for title sponsorship for both the Mobile Business Clinic Initiative and Small Business Expo.