The Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ), which serves businesses that have an annual income of less than US$5 million, joint forces with the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) and Caribbean Enterprise Network (CENUK) to speed up the process by which small and medium businesses can prepare for listing on the Exchange.
CENUK, based in London with local offices in Old Harbour and Courteville, helps Caribbean businesses in the Caribbean and the UK to increase their competitiveness and export capabilities.
The three SBAJ, JSE and CENUK signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, to work in partnership to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) raise inexpensive capital and ultimately list on the JSE.
President of the SBAJ, Hugh Graham, said the vision of the partnership is to develop 30 small businesses that can run at international standards.
This new MOU between the trio will allow small businesses to get access to funding via the capital markets. The JSE, said they will offer capacity building and education to the small companies.
“We are convinced that in order to ensure a steady pipeline of companies that will take opportunities of the Junior Market to raise capital for their businesses, it is necessary to collaborate with the SBAJ where we can assist with preparing and providing our time and facilities to these companies, for the market.” Stated Marlene Street-Forrest, General Manager of the JSE,
“We believe that this targeted approach to investors and the members of the SBAJ that we intend to deliver through our education and capacity-building support programmes will enhance the chances of the SMEs to access equity capital.”
The three organisations state that they intended to pursue the reduction of barriers that SMEs face in accessing capital to improve capacity and compete in the global space.
“The Jamaica Stock Exchange Group understands that it is through the small businesses that we will continue to grow the economy and to reap the prosperity that we all desperately seek. Street-Forrest remarked,
“We are pleased that we are supported in our own contribution by the Government which has seen the importance of our markets, especially the Junior Market, and has reinstated the corporate tax concession aimed at providing SMEs with the window they need to re-inject profits back into the business to strengthen their base. We have seen the transformative impact on the small and medium-sized companies that are currently listed on the Junior Market.”
As per Hugh Graham, President of the SBAJ:
“The greatest hindrance to the development of Small Businesses in Jamaica is the lack of capital — not bank loans which are expensive, but equity capital that can allow small businesses to grow and flourish, and the Stock Exchange has opened such an avenue.”
Denis St Bernard, spokesperson for Diaspora Affairs, CENUK, added that CENUK aims to help two or three companies find capital and ultimately list on the Junior Market, taking one step at a time.
“Once we do it in bite sizes, we will be able to accomplish a lot over the long term.”