Extracted from the Observer dated September 19, 2014)
THE Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) has accumulated $25 million in support of the mobile business clinic initiative (MBCI).
The initiative, geared at providing technical and developmental support to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), has already been granted a $13.5 million cheque from NCB and two vehicles valuing $5.5 million each, from Fidelity Motors.
"While we are grateful, we still need a lot more support to ensure that all our objectives are fulfilled," JBDC corporate communication officer, Keneshia Nooks told the Caribbean Business Report.
The mobile clinic roll-out will commence on October 29 in St James and will be held for three consecutive days in each month across the island until the conclusion of the pilot phase on September 24, 2015. This will be followed by the implementation of the project in 2015.
Under the programme, MSMEs will have exposure to financial consultation, technology innovations, business advice, consultation and formalisation, logistics hub training, standards and certification and business modelling.
The JBDC seeks to increase awareness of business development services by facilitating small business formalisation, market access and entry and capacity building education throughout the programme.
"Once we get our MSMEs capacity programme built up to a certain level and they start performing, then we will see the effect in employment and our GDP," Nooks said.
MSMEs start ups in Jamaica currently has a failure rate of 80 per cent, according to the JBDC spokesperson.
This occurs as a result of minimal business development support, low capital funding and the mindset of creating quick profits instead of developing entrepreneurial skills after starting a business.
"It's a problem that small entrepreneurs face all the time...they don't have the necessary bookkeeping skills, financial and marketing skills," she added.
The mobile clinic initiative is being spearheaded by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) in partnership with the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, the Companies Office of Jamaica, JAMPRO, the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office and Bureau of Standards.
Government agencies, along with private partners will facilitate value chain linkages through clustering and connections with other business partners, as well as provide expertise in project management, research and business monitoring support.
MSMEs, through this public education platform, is also expected to have a better understanding of the Government's reform agenda, including the Secured Interest in Personal Property (SIPP) Act and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Bill, as well as sound entrepreneurial practices.
"This programme will identify the skills that MSMEs have and the areas that the JBDC needs to develop," Nooks said.