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Mobile business clinic goes central - Mandeville visit due in late March

Published:Friday | March 13, 2015 | 5:10 PMChad Bryan
Contributed Photo Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton (third right), cuts the ribbon symbolising the official launch of the Mobile Business Clinic Initiative (MBCI), at the National Commercial Bank Wellness Centre in Kingston, last September 16. Others sharing in the moment (from left) are: Chairman, Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Silburn Clarke; Marketing and Sales Manager, Fidelity Motors, Leslie Nembhard; Chief Executive Officer, JBDC, Valerie Veira; Senior General Manager, Retail Banking Division, National Commercial Bank, Audrey Tugwell-Henry9partly hidden); and Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams.

As the Mobile Business Clinic set up to help develop micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) moves into its fourth community, the Jamaica Business Development Centre (JBDC) is reporting strong support for the initiative.

The organisation's corporate communications manager, Keneshia Nooks, said, “It has been pretty good. What we realise is that persons are really in need of information. A lot of them didn’t know that an agency such as the JBDC existed to offer business development support. I sat with some of the participants to just get an idea of how it was working for them. A lot of them found the information very useful. People were asking for us to come back to provide other services.”

Having already been to the western end of the island, where approximately 763 persons participated in the initiative, the mobile business clinic will now be moving into the central region. This covers Manchester, St Elizabeth and Clarendon.

Under the theme 'Strengthening The Capacity of Jamaican MSMEs', the free mobile clinic will be hosted at the National Commercial Bank's Mandeville, Manchester, branch from March 24 - 26.

The services which will be offered are business screening and consultation. Entrepreneurs will get an opportunity to engage industry experts, register new and existing businesses, identify opportunities in marketing and ensure tax compliance, among others aspects of running a business.

“There is nothing different from previous stops. Even though it is not new, it is new to the parish. It might not be new to the JBDC and the various agencies that go around, but what we do is to customise for each parish we go to. The kinds of interventions will be different based on the kinds of MSMEs we interact with. Our needs assessment guides us in what we do when we go to the various parishes,” Nooks explained.

Nooks pointed out that for the Hanover and Westmoreland stops, which had a high proportion of small farmers, it was necessary to include the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and Ministry of Agriculture.

“We brought them in to provide workshops, so it’s the same thing for the central parishes. We go informed. We go knowing exactly what we want to achieve,” she said.

The mobile business clinic, which made its first stop last year in Montego Bay, St James, is a collaborative effort among the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, the JBDC and other stakeholders.

The mobile clinic is run from a 2014 Nissan Urvan, donated by Fidelity Motors, which has been specially outfitted for the purpose. The vehicle has been retrofitted to offer full office capabilities with a wide-screen television, printer capabilities, LED lighting for the interior, drawers, cabinets and other storage space, Wi-Fi, a generator that enables the use of four to five laptop computers simultaneously and a fire extinguisher, among other equipment.