FIRM expo aims to connect entrepreneurs with investors

FIRM expo aims to connect entrepreneurs with investors

Saturday, August 16, 2014

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ENTREPRENEURS interested in partnering with investors who can help to grow their businesses will have an opportunity to do so at the Financial Information and Real-time Matchmaking (FIRM) expo in two months.

"FIRM expo represents a strategic alliance between the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) and the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), and seeks to confront and resolve the difficulties faced by businesses in accessing financing," said Joseph Cox, executive director of the Growth Secretariat.

In order to participate in the expo, which will be held at the Keith Hendrickson auditorium at Jamaica College, entrepreneurs must first register on the FIRM expo website, using a registered business or company name.

Prior to the event on October 4, all applicants will be screened according to pre-established criteria and exposed to capacity-building workshops designed to empower entrepreneurs in the rudiments of designing business models and accessing finance.

Cox said that, "the financial matchmaking session will allow for entrepreneurs who have potentially viable or existing business models to pitch these ideas to potential investors in a confidential setting".

The applicants who will be required to illustrate the way in which their business model can be monetised will be clustered according to the areas of interest of the angel investors or financial institutions which will constitute the firm expo financing pool, all of whom will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

As part of the plan to reach as many entrepreneurs as possible, FIRM expo will be replicated within a 12-16 month period across the island.

Unsuccessful candidates will be eligible to participate in the DBJ capacity-building programme, and upon completion of such training will be eligible to participate in another firm expo matchmaking session.

In order to be eligible to be a part of the financing pool, investors must register with the firm expo secretariat and must be "deemed fit and proper, akin to that described by the BOJ and the FSC".

The expo will also feature display areas, which will give businesses the opportunity to display their products along with a myriad of workshops offering training in innovative business management techniques, and strategic shortcuts that can be applied to successfully operate a business and to avoid pitfalls by industry forerunners.

FIRM Expo will also offer on-the-spot business registration, registration of companies, business TRN, Company GCT and NIS numbers.

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