As a means of further building out the creative/orange economy and help small businesses in the ecosystem to thrive, the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) through its Design Fusion programme has prepped another set of entrepreneurs to become viable entities operating in the marketplace.
Speaking at a closing ceremony for their three-month Design Fusion programme last Wednesday, the JBDC said that a foundation has been laid for bringing several small businesses in the creative industries one step closer to achieving their dreams of becoming full fledged entrepreneurs.
Valerie Viera, chief executive officer (CEO) of the JBDC in congratulating last year’s cohort of 24 creatives who successfully completed the programme, advised that this is only the beginning of their journey.
“We are celebrating not the end of a journey, but the starting of one, because we have to make sure that our participants understand that they are at foundation stage. We really want to ensure that when you go out full into market, you go out well prepared. I am sure that throughout the preparation you have been building a capacity to do business,” she said.
She further stated that the aim of the programme is to highlight the creative industries and give opportunities to members operating in the space. The programme which started in 2018 is delivered jointly by three core departments of the JBDC namely the Technical Services Department which looks at product development; Business Advisory Services Department, which looks at business and financial management aspects; and the Marketing Services Unit which exposed the participants to various aspects of getting their products to market.
Colin Porter, manager of technical services, JBDC, added that the programme looked at a wide variety of issues important to the enterprises and in the process helps them to formalise what they are doing and puts them on a path to becoming commercially viable entities that can reap benefits from what the market has to offer.
“The design fusion programme is a nursery programme. Focus is given to a set of creative entrepreneurs who have design at the core of their business. We particularly look at people in the fashion, gift and craft industries which also include home décor, fashion accessories, among other activities driven by creativity.
“At the end of the programme we wanted the participants to know that the products that you are making has to be for a market; it can’t be just because you love it and it looks good to you. It must meet a needs and allows them to operate efficiently in the space as expected,” he shared.
Like Viera, he emphasised that the programme which at its nursery stage of business must be used by the participants to propel themselves and businesses forward and move on to other stages of development.
“Ultimately, we want to see members of this cohort participate in our accelerator programmes further down the road, where they can now access more support for growing their businesses. We want to improve for next year again when we take on another cohort so that they can benefit, learn, and grow,” he expressed.
Minister of state in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF), Floyd Green who was also in attendance at the ceremony, commended the JBDC for having executed another successful undertaking of the programme which he said has seen astounding growth since its inception.
“At the ministry and JDBC, Design Fusion helps us to help you to make use of the latest innovations to improve your business strategy and to become the best version of yourself and your business.
“These programmes help to make dreams become reality. We have a responsibility as a government and an organisation to create an opportunity for you to bring those dreams to reality. We will be providing much more focus on our creatives and creative industry as Jamaica is among the most talented people in the world,” he said.
The entrepreneurs were awarded with certicates of participation which will aid in providing them with certification in their respective areas of craft.