PM lauds Development Bank of Jamaica

Monday, April 30, 2018

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PRIME Minister Andrew Holness has lauded the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) for its ongoing commitment to facilitating economic growth and job creation through programmes, such as the Innovation Grant from New Ideas to Entrepreneurship (IGNITE) initiative.

The DBJ, through IGNITE, enables Jamaican entrepreneurs, particularly micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs), with innovative business ideas to access grant funds to develop and commercialise their products and services.

The bank provided funding ranging from $1 million to $4 million to 27 entrepreneurs under IGNITE's 18-month pilot phase, for which $75 million was budgeted.

The pilot concluded with a closing ceremony at the Spanish Court Hotel, New Kingston on Friday, at which the prime minister, who has portfolio responsibility for the DBJ, was the guest speaker.

Holness said the IGNITE programme is one of several DBJ initiatives creating the inputs necessary to drive Government's vision of achieving economic independence for Jamaica.

He emphasised that in order to realise this goal, it is imperative that innovation be stimulated by creating, increasing and growing business start-ups.

“We must make (the) investments which will support our start-ups and enrich the MSME ecosystem, as this is vital for our economic growth and development,” he argued.

Meanwhile, DBJ Managing Director Milverton Reynolds, in his project overview, said the pilot's implementation was “very successful”, based on notable outcomes, particularly within the first 12 months.

These, he said, include: the creation of 215 full time jobs; investments totalling $225 million; and entities generating approximately $109 million in revenues from the domestic market and exports.

Additionally, the managing director said the project assisted 13 of the 27 participating companies drawn from several sectors, including manufacturing, information and communication technology, education, agriculture and marketing, to record business scale improvements.

Reynolds added that IGNITE facilitated the introduction of many new innovative ideas and concepts to the Jamaican landscape, in relation to business industry and economic developments.

He pointed out that all of the beneficiaries under the pilot, “have assured us that IGNITE has helped them to increase their business knowledge and obtain invaluable networking opportunities, and realise significant growth in revenues”.

“In fact, because of their IGNITE experience, some beneficiaries have (also) started filling provisional patents and penetrating new markets,” the managing director added.

Reynolds said the DBJ is “delighted” to have contributed to the transformation and success of the participants and, by extension, the Jamaican economy.

“We are proud of their continued achievements, which is evidenced by the accolades which they have received in other small and medium-size enterprise competitions that they have participated in, the value of investments that they have attracted, and their very impressive growth,” he said.

The managing director also thanked Prime Minister Holness for his “enthusiastic” support for IGNITE.

“You were with us in 2016 to introduce the grant awardees (under the pilot) and we viewed your interest (then and now) as a demonstration of your commitment and support to private sector-led development, and especially to innovation and the use of technology by young entrepreneurs,” he said.

Reynolds also thanked the DBJ's three business service intermediaries (BSIs) — the Jamaica Business Development Corporation, Jamaica Manufacturers' Association, and Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship — with whom the bank forged strategic partnerships.

The BSIs were instrumental in preparing the INGITE pilot participants for the application process; coaching and mentoring them to implement their respective projects; and providing overall project management support.


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