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Friday, 30 October 2015 12:22

DBJ funds ignites small businesses

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Pleased with a robust turnout and the good mood of everyone, Minister of Finance and Planning Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips (centre), the Development Bank of Jamaica’s Chairman Joseph M. Matalon (right) and Managing Director Milverton Reynolds brought high spirits to the launch of three products to help micro, small and medium-sized enterprises: the Credit Enhancement Facility, a partial guarantee programme; an innovation grant, IGNITE; and the Voucher for Technical Assistance, at the Knutsford Court Hotel on October 21. Pleased with a robust turnout and the good mood of everyone, Minister of Finance and Planning Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips (centre), the Development Bank of Jamaica’s Chairman Joseph M. Matalon (right) and Managing Director Milverton Reynolds brought high spirits to the launch of three products to help micro, small and medium-sized enterprises: the Credit Enhancement Facility, a partial guarantee programme; an innovation grant, IGNITE; and the Voucher for Technical Assistance, at the Knutsford Court Hotel on October 21. Photo: Contributed

Minister of Finance and Planning Dr. Peter Phillips launched a new DBJ project and re-launched two others for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in October.

These DBJ projects are designed to bring business capacity and funding support to MSMEs. The Innovation Grant from New Ideas to Entrepreneurship (IGNITE) will fund new and innovative business ideas, the credit enhancement facility (CEF) offers partial guarantees to lenders so MSMEs can get financing, and the voucher for technical assistance (VTA) gives entrepreneurs access to technical services. The CEF and the VTA are existing programmes that have been revamped.

Access to affordable capital and poor technical structures limit many small businesses. The three DBJ projects are to help overcome these obstacles to growth. They are part of a larger business ecosystem that the DBJ is making more user friendly in its mission to facilitate growth and development.

“We are doing this in a deliberate and targeted way by offering incentives to businesses and collaborating with Approved Financial Institutions to respond to the needs of entrepreneurs in the SME sector,” says Managing Director Milverton Reynolds. “And, so far, we have seen tremendous success from our collaboration.”

The IGNITE project is DBJ’s newest option for start-ups, supporting development and commercialization of their innovations. The CEF addresses the recurring challenge of inadequate collateral for many businesses in Jamaica. The VTA helps MSMEs build capacity so they can expand and improve their access to financing.

IGNITE helps to finance innovative start-ups, and targets new businesses through existing SME development and incubator programmes. IGNITE supports creation and growth of innovation in firms in the productive sectors. It has started as a two-year pilot to test the effectiveness of grant funding in such instances.

The grants will support innovation activities to stimulate growth of 30 new firms in strategic sectors. Grants will be channeled through business service intermediaries (BSIs), selected in a transparent and competitive process. The BSIs will be responsible for getting the funds to the entrepreneurs and firms, and will help DBJ monitor the objectives agreed on with each beneficiary.

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