JMMB host virtual business expo for SME clients


JMMB host virtual business expo for SME clients

Friday, August 07, 2020

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Regional financial entity JMMB, through one of its 'Goal Getter Live' episodes, recently hosted a virtual business expo to showcase products and services offered by several of its clients in the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) sector.

The expo, held last Tuesday, August 4 , showcased the products of about seven clients to a diversified online audience, at home and abroad. Among the entrepreneurs who participated were: Randy McLaren of Bresheh—a Jamaican-based baggage company; Lacey-Ann Bartley of Bartley's All in Wood, a Jamaican handcrafted wooden furniture, jewellry, and household manufacturer and designer; Terri-Ann Brown of KukUp Kreations—a catering company offering pastry and ready-to-go meals; Jerron Farquhason, a skin and hair product manufacturer; Marsha Smikle of Efficient Delivery Solutions Limited, which offers digitisation and automation solutions for corporate clients; Nadia Nivens-Jarrett of Bells & Whistles—an event planning company; and Sandra Samuels of Totally Male— a grooming and personal care service company for men.

According to Kerry-Ann Stimpson, chief marketing officer of JMMB Group and moderator of the expo, the company sought to use this medium as a means of showcasing, supporting and encourage its clients as well as to implore people to buy and support more local brands and services, especially from small businesses which are the backbone of the economy and some of those also most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a company that was born out of similar circumstances as a small business, this sector is close to JMMB's heart,” the marketing executive said further outlining that as an underserved segment, there is a real need for SMEs to get holistic financial support in Jamaica, especially if the country is going to achieve its vision 2030 goals.

The entrepreneurs during the event shared their experiences especially those around coping mechanisms that had to be engaged to navigate the challenges brought on by the pandemic. During a phase of the discussions, McLaren and Bartley both commented on the need for SMEs to pivot their business models in order to thrive during COVID-19. They noted that via identified gaps exposed by the pandemic they were able to find new opportunities which allowed for growth such as mask production.

Shani Duncan-Falconer, Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Resource Centre lead at JMMB Group, adding to the discussions, also highlighted the need for partnerships to be forged between SMEs and their financial institutions.

She reiterated the centre's commitment to SMEs, noting that: “JMMB's SME Resource Centre is designed to help SMEs improve operational efficiency and access resources, which will ultimately allow them to grow their businesses to the next stage of their lifecycle. It provides coaching and a range of advisory services including: marketing, taxation, accounting, business plan writing and other general financial management, with the support of its partners and other organisations such as: the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), First Angels Jamaica, Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) and the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship.”

She further mentioned that the centre, in an effort to further partner with its clients, has begun to offer online seminars on a range of topical issues, such as business plan writing, marketing, visioning and cash flow management, in a bid to help its SMEs to be more resilient, more structured and to thrive in COVID-19.

“The response from clients about these seminars has so far been positive and rewarding,” she said.

The JMMB Group, through its Trinidad operations, also recently launched its small and medium enterprise unit in an effort to have outlets right across the group. This unit, with support from its Jamaican counterpart, will provide solutions designed around specific SME client business goals.

The group said these centres will help with its aim to train, support, and nurture SMEs and to connect them with the ecosystems across the region— providing more opportunities for greater collaboration and synergies.

— Kellaray Miles

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