Career & Education

Skills training for small-scale operators in Jamaica’s development minerals sector

Sunday, May 06, 2018

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ONE hundred and twenty small and medium-scale 'development minerals' operators, related professional bodies and business development service providers islandwide will benefit from enterprise and business development skills training as a result of a partnership between the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), the European Union (EU), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).

The letter of agreement was formally signed by UNDP Resident Representative Bruno Pouezat on behalf of the ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme and JBDC Chief Executive Officer Valerie Veira, in the presence of Dr Oral Rainford, principal director for policy, planning, development and evaluation in the Ministry of Transport and Mining, and Acting Commissioner of Mines, Leighton Williams.

JBDC will carry out four training workshops on enterprise skills, market analysis, investment promotion and value-addition for small-scale operators in the development minerals sector to enhance entrepreneurial mindsets; support growth, financial literacy and business planning; increase financial literacy; help develop winning marketing strategies; and facilitate knowledge sharing on low-cost, environmentally friendly, value added techniques. JBDC will complement this training with business advice, consultancy, technical services, marketing, research and project management to ensure that the businesses survive and thrive. These complementary approaches will greatly enhance the contribution of Jamaica's mining and quarry sector to Jamaica's economy, up from the 2.3 per cent of Gross Domestic Product witnessed in the last three to four years.

“The private sector, specifically SMEs, are the main engine for growth and job creation, particularly here in Jamaica. Through the ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme, the European Union is firmly committed to supporting efficient, inclusive and responsible small businesses. This calls for multiple skills, and enhanced access to affordable finance and innovation,” said Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, head of delegation of the European Union to Jamaica, Belize, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands and the Cayman Islands.

“SMEs create more than 90 per cent of jobs in developing countries and are already major backers of poverty reduction and development at the local level. In Jamaica, 1750 direct jobs and 7000-8750 indirect jobs were created in the quarry sector in 2016, most in rural areas,” said Bruno Pouezat, UNDP resident representative in Jamaica. “SMEs often tell us that they need more enterprise and business skills training to enable access to finance, especially those in sectors such as development minerals. Together with JBDC, the Government, EU and the ACP group of states, we are stepping in to fill this gap,” he added.

“Our goal is to help businesses survive and prosper through the provision of high-impact technical and business support services to SMEs in Jamaica. The signing of this partnership agreement will pave the way for JBDC to provide SMEs in the development minerals sector with business advice, consultancy and training of the highest professional standard to improve their entrepreneurship skills, including accounting, marketing, sales promotion and purchasing,” stated Veira.

JBDC has been established as one of the premier business support organisations in Jamaica. The JBDC initiative is a cooperative arrangement among government agencies and the private sector, associations, academic and research communities. Over 2000 businesses have benefited from JBDC's services over the years and many have returned to profit from further JBDC expertise.

By designating June 27 as the annual Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day, the UN General Assembly has recognised the importance of these enterprises in achieving the SDGs — especially by promoting innovation, creativity and decent work for all.

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