JMMB signs MOU with UTech to bolster MSMEs
UTech and JMMB Group stakeholder partners participate in the signingof an MOU between the two institutions last Wednesday (November 24)at JMMB's head offices in Kingston. Seated (L-R) are: Shani Duncan-Falconer, senior corporate manager, JMMB Group SME Resource Centreand Professor Colin Gyles, acting president, UTech. Looking on fromthe back row and standing (L-R) are: Nigel Cooper, head, Joan DuncanSchool of Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Leadership; Paula Forrest, SMEResource Centre Officer, Vincent Auld, senior SME Resource Centreofficer; and Yellesah Thomas, SME Resource Centre administrativeassistant, JMMB Group.

The JMMB Group through its SME Resource Centre has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Technology Innovation Centre of the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) aimed at building the capacity of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

Through a five-year agreement, the TIC will offer programmes to small entrepreneurs, many of whom are participants in JMMB's accelerator programme in their quest to develop greater networks as they scale and grow their businesses. Under the MOU, MSMEs will also gain access to training and support services and growth wheel assessments to effectively examine, understand and improve different areas across their operations.

Local and Trinidad and Tobago-based MSMEs, where the JMMB Group has also opened the doors of its SME unit, are set to benefit from the full range of services offered by the TIC under this MOU.

“We are proud of this move to sign an MOU with the university, as it is in keeping with our commitment to build a strong reserve of principled and expert business leaders, who will be able to contribute positively to the recovery and growth of the local and regional economies, while building the communities in which they operate,” said Shani Duncan Falconer, senior corporate manager, JMMB Group SME Resource Centre, who also described the partnership a win-win.

“This is a coming together of both worlds – academia and practice – to augur for the best outcome for the entrepreneurs in their transition from fledging businesses to household names,” she added.

The partnership will also provide MSMEs the opportunity to strengthen their leadership skills and capacity-building through training sessions on a wide range of topics, including: accounting and taxation, financial management, marketing, business planning, project management, operations management, human resource management, copyright and legal issues, ethics, commercial negotiation and export planning.

“UTech is happy to be partnering with the JMMB Group on yet another initiative designed to build and support entrepreneurship and economic development in Jamaica, which signals the commitment of both institutions to strengthening MSMEs. Aligned with the mandate of the University, this agreement will allow for collaborative research projects, technology initiatives, resource sharing and public education, which will redound to the benefit of budding entrepreneurs and undoubtedly help in enhancing the skills and competencies of the current cadre of MSME business owners,” commented Professor Colin Gyles, acting president of UTech.

He said that this latest agreement with JMMB Group speaks to the indelible mark that the TIC continues to make on the local economy as it supports SME businesses in their growth quest.

The TIC established in 2002 is a specialised unit of the Joan Duncan School of Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Leadership (JDSEEL), in the College of Business and Management at UTech. In 2011 the JMMB Group said it had donated some $81.7 million to the university to advance teaching and research in entrepreneurship as it seeks to produce globally competent and transformational business leaders.

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