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.

Contact

1-876-928-5161-5

14 Camp Road, Kingston

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: DECEMBER 17, 2021

THE OAS SUPPORTS THE JBDC IN “ACCELERATING MSMES GROWTH THROUGH INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY”

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The OAS, through its Development Cooperation Fund has approved a grant of US$100,000 to support the JBDC with its project to accelerate the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Jamaica through Innovation and Technology. This project will be implemented during the OAS/DCF’s 2021-2024 project cycle under the theme: Retooling MSME´s through innovation and technology.

The JBDC’s overall aim with this project is to improve access and dissemination of technological and non-technological tools and resources for Micro, Small and Medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to ultimately support the reactivation of the economy. More specifically, it seeks to improve the competitiveness and market reach of at least 100 MSMEs, boost their productivity and enhance their resilience through the adoption of technological and non-technological tools.

According to Valerie Veira, Chief Executive Officer of the JBDC, “Prior to the covid-19 pandemic, our clients primarily accessed our services through face-to-face sessions. The physical distancing restrictions provided an opportunity for JBDC to test the concept of a Knowledge Bank/Virtual Campus through which we deliver a suite of business development courses, counselling, handholding and technical support through our online client monitoring platforms, virtual webinars, workshops, expos and conferences.”

Miss Viera noted that the virtual engagement resulted in a significant increase in the number of entrepreneurs who accessed training and business counselling. There was a 32{c4a4c9fd52d7181d91bad092704434b898e5ce90f2125a75bd88b17e92ac13f3} increase in Knowledge Sharing Sessions delivered compared to the previous year and a significant increase of 457{c4a4c9fd52d7181d91bad092704434b898e5ce90f2125a75bd88b17e92ac13f3} in the number of attendees participating in the Knowledge Sharing Sessions. Likewise, the number of clients benefitting from counselling and consultation grew by 65{c4a4c9fd52d7181d91bad092704434b898e5ce90f2125a75bd88b17e92ac13f3} (10,208 clients) while 7,912 consultation hours were had with clients representing a 20{c4a4c9fd52d7181d91bad092704434b898e5ce90f2125a75bd88b17e92ac13f3} increase in this activity.

The project is designed to encourage MSMEs adoption of technology to improve their competitiveness, market reach, boost their productivity and enhance their resilience. The components include specific activities geared at improving access to business development training and technical assistance to strengthen start-ups and MSMEs, increasing the number of MSMEs accessing markets. The intervention includes the upskilling of entrepreneurs, creating channels for on-boarding to existing e-commerce platforms and developing a Digital Business Service Platform for MSMEs which uses Artificial Intelligence to leverage data to inform business strategy at the micro level and policy implementation at the macro level. 

JBDC, through a public-private partnership with local and international technologists will develop a Digital Business Service Platform. The Platform, with Artificial Intelligence at its core, will among other things provide digital solutions to MSMEs based on their business and growth model, improve their revenue, provide customer relationship management, back-office support and provide a digital dashboard for entrepreneurs to visualize business health at a glance and generate reports related to sales, operations, inventory, financial statements and cash flow management.

Miss Veira pointed out that access to financing has been a major constraint to expanding the MSME sector as credit providers have a preference for traditional collateral-based lending.  “The development and pilot of the Digital Business Service Platform will be the first step in creating a credible and secure system which will be used as the basis to advocate for revenue-based financing as an option for MSMEs. Revenue-based financing raises capital from an investment source, which in turn receives a portion of the company’s on-going gross revenues in exchange for their investment”, she added.

Miss Veira says she is elated that the OAS has agreed to partner with the JBDC on this significant initiative which is in alignment with the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force for Jamaica which has recommended that the digital transition of the economy should be accelerated to ensure economy recovery is robust and more resilient.

The Development Cooperation Fund (DCF) of the Organization of American States (OAS) is supported by the annual voluntary contributions of OAS member states and is geared towards addressing their most urgent development needs, particularly among those with smaller and more vulnerable economies. In its programming, the Fund emphasises institutional and human resource capacity building as the basis for sustainable development. 

Since 1997 the OAS / DCF, formerly FEMCIDI, has provided over U$100 million to support OAS member states in their efforts to reduce poverty and inequality, by providing grants for more than 1100 projects in areas ranging from education, entrepreneurship, community development, small and medium enterprises, renewable energy resources, and science and technology, among others. The OAS/DCF has offered over US$ 3.6.M in grants to Jamaica, since 1997.

The OAS/ DCF invites national, regional, and international actors from both the private and public sector to join the continued effort by combining resources to achieve more impactful results. Interested persons or organizations may contact the OAS Country Representative in the Office of the OAS General Secretariat in Jamaica at 2-4 Haining Road, Kingston 5 or call us at 906-0146, 906-4054 or 906-7759.

-END-

ABOUT

The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) was established in 2001 as the premier government agency providing business development services to Jamaican Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs)…’From Concept to Market’, JBDC provides guidance for business start-ups and expansion, offering business advice and consultation, research services, business monitoring, training and capacity building, project management services, financial advice, design and product development as well as market penetration support and access. The organisation which operates within the ambit of the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce (MIIC), strives to continually fuel the local economy through its services and programmes designed to support the growth and development of the MSME sector.

Contact: Corporate Communications Unit

JBDC

Tel: 928-5161-5, exts 244, 274 or 277, SL: 930-8531

Fax: 938-2438

Email:

Website: www.jbdc.net

Author

Corporate Communications