KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) – Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller says the government will continue to put supportive mechanisms in place to facilitate the growth and development of the micro small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) sector.
Addressing the Small Business Association of Jamaica on the weekend, the Prime Minister said the government has increased its loan support to the sector with J$1.3 billion disbursed by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) during the 2014 calendar year.
The figure represents a 14 per cent increase over the amount provided in 2013.
“I give my commitment that we (the Government) will continue to engage micro, small, and medium-sized businesses. We will continue to create more opportunities for their growth and development,” the Prime Minister said.
In addition to the increased loan support, the Prime Minister said the Government has embarked on new initiatives to help small businesses build their capacity.
These include increasing access to science and technology support through the Scientific Research Council and the Mobile Business Clinic initiative of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).
“The National Competitiveness Council has also been driving reforms to remove obstacles to business. The work of the Council has gone a far way in helping Jamaica achieve major ranking improvements for ease of doing business,” she noted further.
Also, there have been major improvements in the process to start a business; paying taxes is now easier; access to credit has been increased with the promotion of the secured transactions framework; and the commercial court has been strengthened to improve the enforcement of contracts, and the protection of investors.
Another key area of assistance is through the DBJ’s new two-year venture capital pilot programme – Innovation Grant From New Ideas to Entrepreneurship (IGNITE), which has the objective to support the creation and growth of new innovative firms in productive sectors .
Simpson Miller said the grants to be provided will support innovation activities to stimulate growth of 30 new businesses in strategic sectors.
Funding will be provided to successful applicants and the ventures will be monitored for two years.
The Prime Minister noted that her administration has also enacted some of the most far-reaching legislation in support of small businesses as it works to create an enabling environment for the country’s small business owners to be profitable.
She said these legislative reforms and the MSME and Entrepreneurship policy of 2013, are practical actions by the Government to build the capacity of this sector.
“My Government supports wealth creation, through honest, diligent work and wise investments. We want you to make money; we are helping you to create more jobs.
“We want you to do well so that together, we can put more Jamaicans to work,” she said.