PM urges SMEs to become significant players in the fourth industrial revolution

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PM urges SMEs to become significant players in the fourth industrial revolution

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness is urging small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) toexploit the potential opportunities anticipated with the onset of the technologically driven fourth industrial revolution.

Addressing the opening ceremony for the Jamaica Stock Exchange's 16th Regional Investments and Capital Markets Conference yesterday, Holness said that innovative small businesses are set to attain billion-dollar status, which typically takes companies decades.

“The technological change is happening rapidly around us and what Jamaica cannot afford to happen is for another wave of industrial change to happen and we're not on the crest of it. It really will require a fundamental shift in what we as a society make a priority,” Holness said.

“If you were to look for example on a company like Visa which had its first initial public offering (IPO) in 2008 and were able to raise US$19.7 billion. That company was founded in 1958,” he continued.

However, the minister further pointed out that technology company Zoom which was founded in 2011 was able to achieve market capitalisation of over US$1.1 billion, in less than 10 years. Likewise, companies such as Uber, Lyft, AirBnB, Stripe, Coinbase, Slack, and Snap Inc.

“That is just how fast-paced business and technology is changing and disrupting the world as we know. It is really for us to make that decision that we are going to embrace the digital society,” he said.

The minister also reiterated the Government's commitment to capitalising on a changing digital environment, where technology is woven into the fabric of business and everyday activities.

“Like it or not, want it or not, the Jamaican society must become a digital society. The issues that are at play regarding privacy and security of information, are issues which are easily resolved, but should never stymie our growth and development. We make a mistake if try to remain in the past,” he asserted.

JSE's Regional Investments and Capital Markets Conference which is being held under the theme 'Restructuring, Restoring and Renewing: Re-Connecting the Pillars of the Capital Markets', will continue through to January 28.


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