Sun | Sep 23, 2018

Growth & Jobs | Jamaica must be known for new ideas and projects in the region – DBJ

Published:Tuesday | July 31, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
DBJ's General Manager for Strategic Services, Christopher Brown.

Recognising the huge gaps that exist in funding businesses, the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) recently provided over $70 million in grant to 27 entrepreneurs through its IGNITE programme.

Christopher Brown, general manager for Strategic Services at DBJ, told The Gleaner in an interview that in addition to funding traditional businesses, there is a need to finance and support creative and innovative ideas.

"Our assessment of the MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) market right now is that there are a lot more entrepreneurs being trained. They have some very good ideas, but part of the challenge is being able to access funding to make these ideas a reality," Brown said.

"At the DBJ, we decided that we needed to look at some projects that can encourage small businesses to grow and expand. This IGNITE programme is geared at supporting innovative businesses."

Brown added, "It's not for businesses in retail that would benefit, but you have to be introducing a new product to the market. So we are basically driving the development of innovation; that is the primary goal."

He indicated that there has to be a renewed focus on driving innovation and building on technology if there is to be sustained growth and development.

"We are offering up to $4 million in grant financing towards the implementation of business and innovation. In addition to finance, we will be providing mentorship and coaching," Brown said.

"In a nutshell, business development services will be offered so that entrepreneurs can know how best to utilise the funds. At the end of the day, they will know how to increase revenue and get the product on the shelf and in the marketplace."

He continued, "We want Jamaica to be known as the place that brings forth new ideas and execute new projects within the region."

Applications are currently open for persons to access funding through the IGNITE programme.

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com