Jamaica News: The Social Development Commission (SDC) has awarded grants totalling $1.1 million to support the economic stability of several small entrepreneurs and micro-businesses in St. James.
The grants were presented recently to 22 small enterprises or Local Economic Initiatives (LEIs), during a handover ceremony and workshop, held in the SDC St. James Office in Albion.
The LEIs are from various communities in the parish, including Belmont, Bogue, Hopeton, Stonehenge, Norwood, Orange Irwin, Spot Valley, Barrett Hall and Lilliput.
Field Supervisor and Community Development Officer of the SDC for St James, Carolyn Brown-James, told JIS News that the money was secured from the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) for procurement of equipment and raw materials in order to boost production and increase employment in the businesses.
“We found it important to do so, because a lot of times we engage them and we try to build their capacity, but the lack of funding is what stops them from moving forward,” said Mrs. Brown-James.
“So, in partnership with the PIOJ, we sourced a million dollars and what we did was look at some of the more lucrative LEIs, those that were destined to go further within their businesses, and we called them in. They applied for the grant and the grant was given to them,” she added.
Mrs. Brown-James further noted that the workshop was used as a platform to get the LEIs ready for the upcoming Montpelier Agricultural and Industrial Show to be held in the parish on Monday, April 22.
She outlined that 35 LEIs will be attending the agricultural show to ply their wares as well as be judged on their presentations.
“What we will be judging these groups on is the presentation of their products on the day, including labelling, packaging, customer service and uniform. What it does is for them to be their very best when they present their goods and services on the day,” said Mrs. Brown-James.
The LEIs fall under the Local Economic Development Support Programme, which aims to identify economic development opportunities for entrepreneurs and micro businesses in communities.
St. James has a total of 66 LEIs, whose training and exposition is intended to achieve wealth creation and social protection by the continued support of new businesses at the community level, expansion of existing businesses, increased employment or job creation, and decreased poverty levels for continued growth.
Source: JIS News