JSIF to invest $3m in Denham Town micro businesses
Jamaica Social Investment Fund Managing Director Omar Sweeney (left) and Desmond McKenzie, minister of local goverment and rural development who is also Member of Parliament for Kingston Western, look at some of the products displayed last Friday by Annmarie Blackstock in Denham Town where JSIF announced it would be investing almost $3 million in building up the capacity of 28 micro business owners in that community to create sustainable employment and income generation. Photos: Joseph Wellington

Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) is investing almost $3 million in building up the capacity of 28 micro business owners in Denham Town to create sustainable employment and income generation within the tough inner-city community.

Managing director of JSIF Omar Sweeney made the announcement during a ceremony last Friday at the Denham Town community centre where the small business investors received enterprise development grants to fulfil the objective.

Sweeney told the audience of business owners and guests that the grants include provision of equipment, machinery, tools and supplies that will bolster the capacity of the entrepreneurs and facilitate their continued participation in the society and the labour market.

He said that the total $2,925,000, in this second cycle, will assist them in tackling some of the challenges they face, as well as provide an opportunity to not only expand their enterprise but to also generate a profit and add value to Denham Town.

“As you know, cash flow is one of the biggest challenges facing entrepreneurs and even more so during the COVID-19 crisis. This second cycle of the integrated Community Development Project (ICDP II) grant project is targeted at entrepreneurs who need an helping hand to take their business to the next level,” Sweeney explained.

He added that, in fulfilling its mandate, JSIF is seeking to facilitate the efficient implementation of these community-based programmes, which empower those who are most in need.

Desmond McKenzie, minister of local goverment and rural development and Member of Parliament for Kingston Western seems to be enjoying a sample of a cake made by Patricia Williams (left) during a ceremony last Friday at the Denham Town community centre where Jamaica Social Investment Fund Managing Director Omar Sweeny (right) announced that the agency will be helping small businesses with development grants.

“As one of the government entities responsible for executing the development mission within underserved areas throughout the island, JSIF has given credence to the theory that adequate social benefits and services that focus on developing people’s capabilities is the most effective way to achieve a high social and economic return,” he said.

Special guest at the function, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie, who is also the Member of Parliament for Kingston Western, told the beneficiaries that their performance will determine the success or failure of the programme.

“However, I have never had a conversation with JSIF and they ever raised any concerns about the benefactors, or the manner in which the funds are used, and all of you must be proud of this achievement,” he told the investors.

“You can’t continue to depend on people to do things for you. If somebody gives you a start, make use of the opportunity. Run with it, and run with it in a positive way,” McKenzie added.

A review of the project was given by Mona Sue Ho, senior manager, social development at JSIF, while the vote of thanks delivered by micro business investor Ardain Morris who is from the community.

The ICDP, which began in August 2021, will cost $52 million, of which JSIF will contribute $50 million and the communities’ contribution will be $1.7 million.

In addition to Denham Town, the programme targets more than 200 micro-enterprises in August Town and Greenwich Town in Kingston and St Andrew; Norwood, Anchovy and Salt Spring in St James; and Treadlight in Clarendon.

Balford Henry

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