DBJ contracts London-based company to establish, manage new SMEs fund in JamaicaWednesday, April 21, 2021
The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) has contracted London-based management consultancy firm Actus Partners to establish and manage a new small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) fund in Jamaica.
Actus Partners, which focuses on alternative private equity and venture capital solutions, was chosen to be the sole manager after a recent 'Call for Proposals' from local and international private equity funds to manage Jamaica's SMEs fund. This new fund has been established under the World Bank Access to Finance for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Project (A2F) for which the DBJ is the implementing agency.
The fund is expected to begin operations in the third quarter of 2021 and will employ a variety of marketing tools to inform business projects and entrepreneurs of the availability of its financing. The Actus Partners' team, which has more than 100 years of combined experience in global private equity, has established the Jamaica Actus Small & Medium Enterprises Fund I (JASMEF).
This new entity will provide growth and risk capital financing to invest in high-growth SMEs in Jamaica. In addition, the fund will undertake other investments in the Caribbean.
JASMEF will receive seed investment of US$5 million from the DBJ, through a financing facility provided via the World Bank. The new entity will be required to raise additional funding of a minimum of US$10 million, in order to meet the DBJ's objective of having a minimum level of funding dedicated to Jamaican-based SMEs.
JASMEF's overall target is a fund size of up to US$100 million, investable in Jamaica and other eligible countries of the Caribbean region. The SME fund's objectives are aligned with the long-term vision of the Jamaican Government and the World Bank to encourage private equity investors to address the financing gap that is a significant challenge to local SMEs by increasing the supply of available long-term equity financing.
JASMEF will invest in sectors that particularly promote strong economic growth and development which include key sectors such as technology, climate and renewable energy, agriculture & food security, health & hygiene, tourism, logistics, light manufacturing, fast mover commodities group and business services. In addition to generating superior returns, the fund also has the key objective of achieving measurable impact targets that support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including an emphasis on decent work, economic growth and gender equity.
JASMEF will provide equity financing for SMEs to achieve their growth objectives. Actus will introduce its international networks to Caribbean SMEs to help them expand their footprint across the wider region, North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and beyond, in order to become regional or global champions.
In his remarks, Ugo Ikemba, JASMEF co-managing partner, said “we are honoured and extremely keen to partner with the DBJ and our network of international and Caribbean institutions to invest growth capital in Jamaica and the pan-Caribbean region. We strongly believe that we will get the best results by coupling our global and local expertise in private equity, impact investing and capacity-building gained from partnering with numerous SMEs, with our rigorous approach to analysis, transparency and teamwork.”
DBJ Managing Director Milverton Reynolds, in welcoming Actus Partners to the DBJ's growing group of fund managers, pointed out that JASMEF is the sixth fund in which the DBJ has invested. He argued that .
“I am very pleased not only that we have been able to conclude these arrangements satisfactorily, but also that the DBJ has demonstrated once again that we are dedicated to the development of the Jamaican entrepreneurial class that will grow our economy and improve our standard of living and quality of life,” Reynolds said in conclusion.
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