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Dial 'M' for money

BY NEKIESHA REID Business reporter
Wednesday, July 11, 2012

CURRENT and potential small business owners should save more with the use of a micro-financing technology product designed to lower transaction costs.

Mobile Money — the pilot project recently approved by the Bank of Jamaica — will enable consumers to conduct financial transactions using their mobile telephones.

Noting that some micro businesses may not have access to financial services, Investment Minister Anthony Hylton, at First Global Bank's executive breakfast last month, said the project would prove especially beneficial to the "unbanked and under-banked segments of the population".

Mobile Money is the product of collaboration between his ministry and the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), he said, and will aid in the improvement of the quality of life of the poor.

The Jamaica Venture Capital Programme is another result of the collaboration between the ministry and the DBJ, and is aimed at providing start-up capital for "new entrepreneurs with good ideas".

The establishment of an initial private sector-managed fund with a target of $1 billion is also being considered and will provide funding for "high potential" small and medium enterprises.

But while those are being implemented, Hylton said efforts would be made to improve Jamaica's business environment by decreasing the bureaucracy involved in registering new businesses.

"When you register a company at the Companies Office of Jamaica, you will next have to register with GCT, NIS, NHT, and so on," he said. "Some people don't even know they would need to register with these other entities".

Therefore, a "one-stop shop" would be established, he said, where businesses could register with all relevant entities automatically.

Amendments that would allow the centralisation of the business registration process are needed, Hylton said, but should be completed before the end of the financial year.

"This will make the environment more friendly to foreign and local direct investment and send the clear message that Jamaica is serious about doing business," he said.

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