JBDC expands its outreach to MSMEs

BY KELLARAY MILES
Business reporter

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

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The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) yesterday signed three additional memoranda of understanding (MOU) with partnering organisations to develop and provide services to the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) sector through small business development centres (SBDC).

The three new MOUs were signed between the JBDC and its newest partners: The University of Technology (UTech), Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts and College of Agriculture, Science & Education (CASE), which will all house new locations for SBDCs.

The JBDC, in partnering with these organisations, aims to improve the levels of effectiveness among MSMEs whilst increasing the availability of its business development services to them.

CEO of JBDC, Valerie Viera told the Jamaica Observer that the addition of these three locations now pushes the centres up to five locations.

“At the moment we have Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), Northern Caribbean University (NCU), Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA). Ttoday's signing adds Edna, UTech, and CASE; each of which has its own interest and focus,” she stated.

She further noted that these five locations only mark the beginning, as they have a commitment to Government to provide 16 SBDCs throughout the island, because the intention is for small businesses all over the island to have access to the services provided.

“There will be a wider level of canopy to the service, so if you live in Mocho, more than likely there will be one near enough for you to access. In the remotest area there should be one at a point near enough for you,” Viera shared with the Business Observer.

She added that the provision of these centres is to provide MSMEs with the training and support they need to grow and properly develop into viable businesses.

“We go along the full value chain with each centre, identify possibilities, and work at developing those possibilities — this is what comes out of the SBDC centre,” she said.

“In working with these centres, we prepare them to provide consistent service so that they can all grow at the same level. We have an initial two-year MOU to work with these entities, providing training in year one for their staff — somewhat like a JBDC outpost.

“What we do is train their staff with our model, our tools, our approaches, and provide that training in the first year and continue thereafter to network and provide additional services to them,” she further stated.

Professor Colin Gyles, vice-president of UTech who signed on his institution's behalf, said they welcome the opportunity and look forward to great things coming out of the partnership.

“UTech is happy to be partnering with the JBDC, and to be a part of such a network as the SBDC project for us is exciting, because it strengthens what we have been trying to do for some time. The more of us working towards the same objective, the more we'll be able to accomplish; and so we look forward to contributing in terms of preparing more businesses and also providing the research support that will enable tracking of the success of this venture,” he stated.


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