Jamaica News: Minister of State for Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, has reiterated the Government’s commitment to making more funds available for the growth and development of the micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) sector.
“We do know the challenges that our small businesses face in accessing the formal banking sector, and as such, one of the first things I did when I met with the team at the MSME division was to task them to fast-track our plan to have loan funds available for the MSME sector.
“We have already identified $400 million. I want it to be accessible. We want them to use these funds to retool, recapitalise and reenergise their entities,” he said.
Mr. Green was speaking at the media launch of the 2019 Caribbean MSME conference at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on Wednesday (March 20).
He further cited a study being embarked on by the Ministry, on the feasibility of utilising unclaimed funds held by financial institutions, as a financing option for the sector.
“We know that loan funds will not help everybody, and we also know that we have to find some space to be able to provide grant funding, to be able to provide venture capital. That is why we have embarked on a serious study to look on the issue of unclaimed funds in our financial institutions and to see if those can be channelled into our small business sector,” he noted.
In the meantime, he said that regulations are being put in place to ensure that MSMEs have preferential access to government procurement.
“I think that will unleash tremendous potential… . We are determined, as a government, to carve out a certain percentage of the procurement that can only be accessed by our MSME sector, and we believe that can help to not only keep the business here but grow those businesses tremendously,” he said.
“[This is] a sector that, without a doubt, represents our greatest growth potential in our country, not only for Jamaica, but clearly for the entire Caribbean, and a sector which requires sustained focus and effort,” he added.
The Caribbean MSME conference, being organised by the Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ), will take place at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston from April 16 to 18.
First held in 2017, the event aims to facilitate exposure to new trends in business development and management; promote success stories among MSMEs; provide a forum to explore opportunities for national, regional and international business collaboration and linkages; and expose participants to new technologies and research and development in sectors such as agriculture and climate smart innovation.
It is expected to attract a broad mix of stakeholders, particularly business owners, innovators, regulators, buyers and sellers of goods and services, who will be networking, collaborating, promoting their capabilities and brands, and developing new business and outsourcing opportunities.
Mr. Green commended the SBAJ for organising the three-day event, and for contributing to the growth and development of the MSME sector.
“We see the SBAJ as a tremendous partner,” he said.
Source: JIS News