JMA, First Angels team up to aid MSMEs
The Jamaica Manufac-turers' Association (JMA) yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with First Angels Jamaica, an equity financing network, as part of efforts to improve access to finance for its members, particularly micro, small and medium-sized entities (MSMEs).
JMA President Metry Seaga and Joseph Matalon, chairman and founding member of First Angels Jamaica, signed on behalf of the organisations.
The organisations said their partnership comes against the background of the remarkably high susceptibility to decline and attrition of small businesses in Jamaica, especially in their start-up phase.
Although studies reveal that Jamaicans are among the most entrepreneurial in the world, the lack of access to capital persists as a major challenge to the survivability of small entrepreneurs.
Within the manufacturing sector, business expansion has been stymied, not only for small businesses, but for the majority of manufacturers as this requires preferential funding that has been elusive.
In his address during the signing of the MOU, Seaga lamented that it was still especially difficult for small businesses to access financing from the traditional sector.
"In Jamaica, it is easier to get a bank loan for a motor vehicle or even for a carnival costume than for productive purposes that are going to help grow our economy and provide jobs," he said.
"As a sector, the JMA is committed to assisting its members with greater access to funding, and the emerging equity investment landscape provides an important opportunity to fill the financing gap within manufacturing and its allied service industries."
The JMA expects that the partnership with First Angels Jamaica will specifically yield the following:
- Improve opportunities for long term, stable financing for MSMEs.
- Improve business models and capacity, resulting in more local and international market ready businesses.
- Promote linkages between the investor community and private sector bodies to strengthen manufacturing.
- Further the establishment of Angel financing as a viable option to take businesses from concept to market.