Island’s first crowd-funding website now live
Jamaica’s premier microfinance company, JN Small Business Loans Limited (JNSBL), in concert with its sister organization, JN Foundation, have launched the English-speaking Caribbean’s first “crowd-funding” website, ISupportJamaica.com.
The website provides a platform for micro entrepreneurs, charities and community-based organizations to raise seed money and contributions for projects from persons anywhere in the world.
The site, which went live in July, has already assisted some community organizations to raise the full amount needed for their projects, while micro entrepreneurs will be able to access the site to raise funds by next month.
Underscoring that JSNBL is a social enterprise which upholds the mutuality concept of its parent organization, Jamaica National Building Society, JNSBL General Manager, Philip Bernard, said, the website emphasizes the company’s “mandate to promote the development of the micro and small business sector, and by extension, the Jamaican economy, through access to financial services.”
“Our Jamaican landscape is lush with bright ideas that only require the necessary seed funding so that they can be explored and realized,” he said, pointing out that many micro entrepreneurs continue to find it difficult to access start-up funds from traditional institutions because of their perceived high risk.
“As a social organization, JNSBL has developed this approach to broaden access for all our micro entrepreneurs, because this is a critical sector of the economy that will indeed play a major role in shaping the future of Jamaica,” he said.
The site, which will also provide a platform for charities and philanthropists to raise funds for community projects, will allow civic-minded people anywhere in the world to donate funds to projects or to lend money to entrepreneurs.
“This is not a novel approach, but it involves taking an idea that has been working for many countries around the world, and transforming it into something totally Jamaican,” Bernard said. “We can support our aspirations and development targets and provide a means for Jamaicans abroad and well-wishers everywhere to partner with Jamaica and make a difference by just assisting one entrepreneur or community.”