KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Ministry of Labour and Social Security, through its Steps-to-Work programme, says it will disburse $42 million in entrepreneurial grants this year, in an effort to assist persons across the island to establish small businesses.
This amount represents a 100 per cent increase over last year’s allocation, and will see participants in PATH households, who are engaged in the Steps-to-Work project, receiving up to $100,000 in grant funding.
Addressing participants at the closing ceremony of the PATH/Steps-to-Work programme, at the Cambridge High School in St James recently, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Derrick Kellier, said his Ministry, had plans to increase the number of beneficiaries under the programme by an additional 2,000, in addition to the over 4,000 already making use of referral services.
“Investing in a person’s education and improving his or her skills are sure ways of improving productivity,” Kellier commented.
“Reports received indicate that of the total number awarded 60 per cent are still in business after six months and approximately 45 per cent are making profits and contributing to the overall household income,” said Kellier. “It is interesting to note that some of these persons were able to employ others out of the businesses,” he added.
Kellier emphasised that eligible persons must be willing to participate in the rigorous training provided by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).
“I charge them to take full responsibility for their future prospects, by focusing on the positives from this summer experience,” the minister said.