PSOJ uses podcast to help SMEs survive the financial strains of COVID-19

Business

PSOJ uses podcast to help SMEs survive the financial strains of COVID-19

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

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The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), through its Access to Finance Facilitation Panel (AFFP), has introduced the COVIDCastJA:Business podcast as a means of equipping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to survive the dreaded realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Facebook Live podcast which was launched last month is expected to run weekly, with the aim of addressing concerns and unearthing opportunities for SMEs during this crisis.

Although the impacts of the deadly pandemic threaten to decelerate the journey to an SME-inclusive economy, the PSOJ AFFP said that it remains committed propelling the growth of the sector even in these challenging times.

“As COVID-19 continues to develop it restricts SMEs' supply chain, limits their business operations and erodes their cash flow. The threat of indefinite closure is a harsh reality for many of these business owners. However, the PSOJ AFFP is confident that with the right tools many SMEs can recover from economic fallout,” a recent release informed.

At the launch of the podcast series, PSOJ AFFP's Chief Project Executive Rochelle Cameron, along with colleague host project architect Nevada Powe both encouraged SMEs to make bold requests of their bankers, encouraging them also to concretise and become familiar with their business stories.

For the second episode, Marc Gayle, financial analyst and CEO of TCP Tings; Kevin Foreman, SME country relationship specialist at JMMB Bank; Dr Vinette Notice, assistant vice-president at First Global Bank; Kaysia Johnson Vaughan, senior manager at Scotiabank; and Tanya Allgrove, assistant general manager SME Banking at National Commercial Bank (NCB) met and discussed the various COVID-19 financial relief packages from the banking sector.

Each banker, in speaking to the various relief programmes and products being implemented at their institutions to provide SMEs with the requisite finances, outlined a multitude of offerings which ranged from moratoriums and payment holidays to training programmes with experts and improved SME resource centres, all geared towards meeting the business and personal needs of their SME clients.

Marc Gayle balanced the conversation by sharing his perspective, and that of his SME counterparts, by highlighting the challenges and uncertainties which many of them face.

“These podcasts and others to come form part of the PSOJ AFFP's mandate to continue in equipping SMEs with the relevant resources to improve their business operations for a more productive economy,” the release also noted.

The PSOJ AFFP, which started in July of last year, has birthed the collaboration of all the players in the SME ecosystem to support the growth of the sector through revised products, programmes and policies.

This podcast is one such programme through which the work and dialogue will continue, as episode three to be aired tomorrow will look at 'Managing the workforce during COVID-19' and will feature guest speakers Carla-Ann Harris Roper, attorney- at-law and principal of Employment Matters Caribbean, and Michael McAnuff- Jones, vice-president of Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica (HRMAJ).


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