Business

Entrepreneurs assured of confidentiality at matchmaking expo

Thursday, August 21, 2014    

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ENTREPRENEURS hoping to participate in the first Financial Information and Real-Time Matchmaking (FIRM) expo are being assured of the strictest level of confidentiality when they pitch their business plans to potential investors.

A collaborative initiative between the public and private sector, FIRM is a proactive response to the problem of accessing financing in Jamaica by establishing a financial matchmaking model for financiers and entrepreneurs.

The expo will take place at Jamaica College on Old Hope Road, in Kingston, on October 4 in the first instance, while the other parishes will be targeted over the next 12 to 15 months.

Executive director of the Growth Secretariat at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Joseph Cox, told JIS News that a major requirement for the panel of financiers hearing the pitches from entrepreneurs will be to sign confidentiality/non-disclosure forms.

"The pitching scenarios will obtain in a closed setting where the only people within that room will be the panel of financiers and the person pitching," Cox noted, adding that persons participating in the panel will be required to pass a fit and proper test.

He said that this will be the same requirement for financial institutions willing to participate in the matchmaking process, to ensure the integrity of the process and prevent any form of money laundering.

"We are ensuring that this caters to the market that it is intended.. and is not an avenue to be abused by anyone," Cox said.

The executive director said, too, that following the entrepreneurs making their pitches, third party transactions will take place where the final deal will be signed by the entrepreneur and the investor.

He emphasised that if persons are not successful in obtaining financing at this expo, they will be able to participate in the capacity building programme at the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), as well as in other opportunities. "Nobody is going to be left on their own totally," he promised.

Cox explained that the expo is in line with the goals and objectives of the DBJ. "Looking at the matchmaking component, DBJ has a capacity-building programme at the backend of that," he said.

Cox, meanwhile, described the response to the expo as being good so far. "We have been receiving interest, not only locally but from people overseas...not only in terms of seeking funding, but people who have funding and wish to participate. There are people who have expertise and are literally volunteering to participate as part of the seminar offering," he noted.

To participate in the FIRM expo, a registered business name or company is required, along with submission of a business model. Persons should illustrate the business potential and be prepared to make a pitch to a panel of judges, including potential investors.

Registration can be done via the FIRM expo's website, but Cox said persons may also visit the office at the PIOJ or the DBJ.

A fee of $5,000 will be required for registration and will allow for participation in all the activities at the expo, including seminars, the matchmaking process, and capacity building.

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