Wed | Nov 14, 2018

Manchester business leaders mull SME development plan

Published:Thursday | December 14, 2017 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey

There have been countless meetings with regard to plans for the sustained development of the parish of Manchester to assist to small and micro enterprises. But, unfortunately, the execution of these plans do not always materialise.

However, through a partnership between the Manchester Chamber of Commerce (MCOC) and the Manchester Municipal Corporation (MMC), stakeholders are of the view that things will be done right this time around.

President of the MCOC, Garfield Green, at a recent business leaders meeting held at the municipal corporation, outlined plans for a physical space to be set up to tend to the needs of under-resourced small businesses.

"We have developed a five-point plan for the parish, and the first one is to establish a business support centre to facilitate growth and development in trade and investments. We want the businesses in Manchester to grow outside of the parish and for investors to come in," Green disclosed.

He added that Northern Caribbean University (NCU) will also be on board to lend assistance through their business incubator initiative.

Green said, "Because we want to support small businesses especially, the support centre will serve as their office space. We have also partnered with NCU, where they have a business incubator. So for persons who want to get their business out, they start with the chamber and then they move on to the incubator, if what they need cannot be matched at the chamber."

DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

According to Green, the establishment and diversification of a taste trail is on the list of the development agenda. "Starting from Scotts pass, we want to identify some of these food establishments, moving towards Williamsfield up to Christiana. We want to create a taste trail, and we have financial institutions that have expressed their interest; so now, we need to seek legal advice to move forward."

But what plans are going to be put in place for those on the lower end of the supply chain? Rudi Page, consultant on policy implementation and international trade, advised: "People need to be members of the chamber of commerce. Structurally, the mechanisms are in place, but, historically, it has never been applied to the smallest businesses. We are here to help these businesses get it right."

Representative of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation, Terry-Ann Clahar-Weir added that for help to be granted to some of these entrepreneurs, they must show a keen interest in their growth. "We have found some entrepreneurs to be very lazy; we see many who want us to take their businesses and run with it, but there are resource restrictions. So, the initiative of the entrepreneurs is something that needs to be improved."