Thu | Dec 8, 2016

MSMEs to get virtual financial directory

Published:Friday | January 23, 2015 | 12:00 AM

The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM) this week signed a memorandum of understanding to develop an online resource centre for small and medium-size businesses.

Milverton Reynolds, managing director of the DBJ, said Tuesday that the development bank provided a grant of $7.95 million to MSBM to develop the website - findsmsmefinancing.com.jm - that will operate as a financial directory for businesses seeking capital.

DBJ will host and provide IT support to the website at an estimated value of $1.5 million. MSBM's counterpart contribution is $4.925 million. The total project cost is $14.379 million.

The project is captioned a 'Web-based Database for the Aggregation of Finance Sources for SMEs'. The website will provide a comprehensive listing of funding sources and information on funding options available to facilitate or capitalise businesses, Reynolds said.

The resource is also targeted at new entrepreneurs with limited knowledge of funding sources and how to tap available credit to finance the commercialisation of their ideas or products.

Under the MOU, MSBM will be responsible for developing the web interface system and database for the aggregation of financing sources for Jamaican MSMEs, and collecting data on funding sources.

The business school will also update the content for five years after the initial population of the website and provide IT support to DBJ for one year from the date of development of the site.

The DBJ will host the website and provide IT support over the life of the project, and market the website.

"MSMEs may be aware of financial institutions which offer loans and donor agencies which offer grants but they may not be aware of the characteristics of the funds which are available and the criteria for accessing the financing," Reynolds said.

The development banker said, for example, that while loans generally require collateral from the institutions that offer debt capital, grant funds typically do not require security but may have other conditions attached.

The financial directory's domain has been up for several weeks, and was launched officially on Wednesday.

"Both institutions feel that this service will be supportive of Jamaican SMEs which need funding to expand, mitigate risk and generally strengthen their activities," DBJ said in a press release.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com