GraceKennedy offers business solution for start-ups

BY KARENA BENNETT Business reporter

Friday, November 14, 2014

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GRACEKENNEDY Ltd is pushing for the growth of start-up companies with its newest business solution, SME Biz Pack.

The programme, which was launched in October, gives small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) discounts of up to 12 per cent on business insurance premiums, international wire transfers in 135 currencies, and up to 30 per cent discount on the commitment fees of business loans.

SME Biz Pack is a joint venture operated by GraceKennedy-owned First Global Bank (FGB), FX trader and Jamaica International Insurance Company (JIIC). Companies earning up to $150 million in annual sales turnover are categorised as SMEs.

"Once you are a small business owner and you have accessed a loan from FGB and did an international payment with FX trader, then you automatically qualify as a beneficiary of the programme," marketing officer at JIIC Rachel McKinley told the Jamaica Observer.

"But you must conduct at least two transactions with two different entities that are part of the programme," she added.

Currently, JIIC provides business insurance coverage on company assets and buildings ranging from $2.5 million to $25 million. The insurance is divided into seven tiers, with the first four tiers providing coverage of up to $10 million.

Under the SME Biz Pack programme, SMEs are allowed a 10 per cent discount on the insurance rate of tiers one to four, while the remaining tiers allow entrepreneurs a 12.5 per cent discount on insurance premiums from $10 to $25 million.

"The premium is calculated based on the tier that they fall in," assistant manager for relationship and business development Roger Hare told Caribbean Business Report. "The premium for each insurance package is a standard rate, which can then be reduced up to 12.5 per cent."

FGB will also be offering SME operators up to 30 per cent reduction on loan commitment fees and a higher interest rate of up to .25 per cent on deposits to facilitate the growth of businesses.

"The FGB will also be customising the loan facility based on the unique structure of the business," FGB's Sonia Beaton-Bogle said. "A business development officer will be assigned to work closely with the customer to ensure that the best rate is provided."

FX Trader, another partner in the programme, will engage in the transfer of exotic currencies such as Japanese yen, Chinese yuan and Indian rupee for SMEs that conduct business internationally. Along with the usual transfers of $US, $CAN or pounds sterling, FX Trader will provide this service at a cost of US$20 per wire transfer.

"What persons can do is come to us with their Jamaican dollars and we will send it directly to their suppliers in Japan in Yen," said FX Trader Marketing Manager Kerrian Johnson.

"So you don't have to run around and do the conversion anymore, just simply bring the Jamaican dollars to us and we will send it to the supplier in their currency," she explained.

As part of the business solution, FX Trader will also oversee the transactions of each individual and liaise between the company, their supplier and the banks, to ensure that payments are delivered.

"If you are doing a payment that is 12 to 24 hours ahead of Jamaica time, we will also do the online tracking for you," Johnson stated. The programme is specifically targeting individuals conducting businesses in China, Thailand, Germany, and a number of developing countries.

First Global Bank, along with other GraceKennedy-owned companies FX trader and Jamaica International Insurance Company operate SME Biz Pack.

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