The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) has entered a major partnership with international organisation, CIAL Dun & Bradstreet to deliver critical development services to businesses in the Micro, Small & Medium-Sized Enterprise (MSME) sector as they grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The agreement was signed in Kingston on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at a ceremony dubbed Partnerships for Growth. The event formed part of the JBDC’s celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2020 under the theme: IDEATE. INNOVATE. ACTIVATE.
Headquartered in the USA, over the past 178 years, CIAL Dun & Bradstreet has helped clients survive financial panics, recessions, the Great Depression, wars, pandemics, and numerous global changes. The organisation’s SME Gold Solutions offers two main value propositions for small to medium businesses: (1) Increasing visibility in local and overseas markets & (2) Increasing/establishing credibility. CIAL Dun & Bradstreet also offers several tools to take businesses where they need to be. These include a business ID, digital badge, business analysis report, B2B matchmaking and a credibility certificate.
Speaking at the event, JBDC Board Chairman, Dr. William Lawrence said the Board of Directors is pleased with the progress that the organisation has been making with much alacrity since the onset of the covid-19 pandemic. Dr. Lawrence anticipates that the move will help MSMEs to recover quickly and go forward. “As you know, the country, like many others has been hard hit and the main driver of economic growth, the business sector has had to grapple with many challenges. A number of surveys suggest that at the lower end of the spectrum, the MSME sector, there is need for special help and this is where the JBDC has always stepped up to the plate. The JBDC has always embraced important partnerships locally and overseas,” he added.
In his address, State Minister of Industry, Investment & Commerce, Dr. Norman Dunn, charged the JBDC to remain focused on its mandate in these challenging times and actively engage in various industries in an effort to assist them in transforming into a post-covid-19 era and identifying new ideas.
“As an entrepreneur myself, I understand the importance of these terms: ideate, innovate and activate. It is what makes us entrepreneurs. We see Global Entrepreneurship Week as more than just networking and building awareness. It is also about unleashing our creativity, exploiting new opportunities, solving problems, taking risks, learning about our failures and successes and charting a new course for the future. It is about thinking big, making our mark in the Jamaican landscape and the world,” Dr. Dunn added.
Chief Revenue Officer at CIAL Dun & Bradstreet, Joe Cohen said credibility backed by data, is a critical element for growth. CIAL Dun & Bradstreet data is used internationally to validate suppliers in export markets. In some jurisdictions, a Duns number is required for entry.
“Customs and Border control actually require a Duns number when you are coming in to supply your goods because they insist on knowing who is bringing those goods into the country and also who is exporting those goods. We see this in the recent partnership agreement with the Brazilian government, who for the first time in their existence, opened up government RFPs to international suppliers with a goal of being more internationally competitive. When they decided to make that shift, they understood that they needed to know who they are working with,” he added.
According to Cohen, CIAL Dun & Bradstreet manages a database of nearly 40 million businesses across the Latin America & Caribbean Region and has seen both sides of the spectrum from small and medium-sized to large.
“We have seen mature organisations who externally, look very strong but unfortunately did not invest the time and resources into making sure they know who their customers are, validating their supply chain, diversifying their supply chain and we’ve seen them have a very difficult time during the economic impact due to covid. But we have also seen the other side of the spectrum, which are small and medium-sized organisations that took the time to understand who they are working with, where they need to be prospecting and to ensure their credibility so that when there was a market shift, they were in a position to take advantage of that to maximise that opportunity. And that is exactly what this agreement with the JBDC is coming to do. It is coming to support organisations in Jamaica and the Caribbean, enabling you to build credibility and visibility on both a local and global scale,” Cohen explained.
EXPANSION OF SBDC NETWORK
The JBDC also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University College of the Commonwealth Caribbean, signaling the addition of the tertiary institution to the growing Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) Jamaica network. UCC will operate a centre to provide additional business development support for entrepreneurs to successfully start, grow and expand their businesses. SBDC Jamaica is managed by the JBDC and includes other organisations such as the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Northern Caribbean University (NCU), Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), University of Technology (UTECH), College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) and the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. The JBDC offices in St. Thomas, Manchester, St. Ann, St. James, Westmoreland and Kingston/Hub, also form part of the SBDC Jamaica network.