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DBJ committed to ‘smart’ capital for SMEs

Published:Tuesday | March 8, 2016 | 3:58 PMNeville Graham

The Development Bank of Jamaica is determined to close a persistent market gap in financing, especially equity capital, for small and medium enterprises, says chairman Joseph M. Matalon.

Addressing the third annual Venture Capital Conference on Tuesday. Matalon indicated that the state bank was committed to assistance for SMEs because of their job-creating potential.

He said formal SMEs account for up to 45 per cent of total employment and up to 33 per cent of the GDP of emerging economies; that Jamaicans are inherently entrepreneurial and mobilisation of that talent must be at the centre of the DBJ’s Jamaica Venture Capital Programme.

“In an increasingly conducive Jamaican business environment, sustained higher economic growth rates can become a reality if our SMEs, and the entrepreneurs that found and run them, are facilitated and encouraged to increase their production of goods and services and are able to sustain that growth over the medium to longer term,” the DBJ chairman said.

He explained that this is why the DBJ has placed particular focus on encouraging innovative, private sector-led infusions of capital into the SME sector, arguing that this is a good solution to a persistent problem that will reap big benefits.

“The DBJ believes that the availability of, smart capital’ which comes with a dynamic and sustainable venture capital industry, must be part of any solution which seeks to address the problem of a lack of access to long-term, patient financing that is required by high potential businesses and innovative start-ups,” Matalon said.

The venture capital conference, which started Monday and ends today, brought together over 200 local and overseas representatives from financial companies, investors and entrepreneurs.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com