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DBJ expands BIGEE programme offerings to impact entrepreneurs

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) recently launched the Innovation Grant Fund, its latest product aimed at providing greater revenue streams for medium-size enterprises.

The fund, aimed at providing grants of up to $14 million, is one of several other products available under the DBJ's programme— Boosting Innovation, Growth and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem (BIGEE).

The programme, currently financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), aims to support the growth of local micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

Christopher Brown, general manager of Strategic Services at DBJ, said that the 'Innovation Grant Fund' was tailored especially for medium-sized enterprises that have been operating for seven years and generate incomes ranging from $75-$150 million annually.

“We hope that these companies will participate fully in the programme, particularly at this time when there are so many challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

“The projects that are eligible for grants under the Innovation Fund must be innovative and will receive assistance for technology assessments, prototyping, inputs and machinery, product upgrading, production of samples for market testing, specialised technical assistance, intellectual property or industrial property protection, and equipment purchase and maintenance, among several other areas,” Brown added.

DBJ said that the BIGEE programme is available to all sectors, with an emphasis on those that use technology, and includes other products that will be implemented over the coming months. These include: the seed fund for start-ups and smaller businesses; the cluster fund for supply chains; the side car fund to provide equity investment along with angel investors and the institutional strengthening fund, for incubators and accelerators.

Managing director of the DBJ, Milverton Reynolds, in outlining the mission of his agency, said that its fundamental role is to facilitate economic growth and development by assisting the entrepreneurial class at all levels.

“We are extremely proud to be offering this kind of support that complements our other programmes such as the Voucher for Technical Assistance, the Credit Enhancement Facility and IGNITE.

“We encourage all entrepreneurs to make use of these opportunities to help grow and make their businesses sustainable,” he stated.