Wed | Sep 19, 2018

FIRM expo participants to be pre-screened

Published:Friday | September 26, 2014 | 12:00 AM
File Executive director of the PIOJ Growth Secretariat, Joseph Cox, displays a FIRM brochure.

Start-ups and other com-panies planning to pitch their business ideas in the upcoming expo arranged by the Financial Information and Real-time Match-making initiative (FIRM) must pre-register, says Joseph Cox.

The FIRM expo aims to match businesses with prospective investors.

Pre-screening includes capacity building workshops on designing business models and accessing finance.

"Successful applicants will then be clustered according to areas of interests to facilitate an optimised matching with the expressed areas of interest of the angel investors/ angel groups/financial Institutions which will constitute the FIRM Expo Financier Pool," said Joseph Cox, the executive director of the PIOJ Growth Secretariat with oversight of the FIRM programme.

The first session is scheduled for the Karl Hendrickson Auditorium in Kingston on October 4, but the sessions will be held nationwide over the course of 12 to 15 months.

Cox, an economist, notes that domestic credit in Jamaica is less than 35 per cent of GDP, which is well below acceptable international benchmarks.

"This points to difficulties in accessing credit and is reflective of inadequate funding for investment and entrepreneurial activities which is occasioned in part by an information deficit," he said.

To pitch their ideas at the forums, businesses and start-ups must register and submit their business model illustrating how the business activity will earn money.

FIRM previously indicated that the ideas pitched at the forum will be kept confidential.

Candidates who are unsuccessful in the pre-selection phase will be eligible for participation in the Development Bank of Jamaica-sponsored capacity building voucher programme, which will prepare them for another try in the next round of the FIRM Expo matchmaking.

FIRM is an alliance of the Planning Institute of Jamaica and Development Bank of Jamaica.