Sun | Nov 17, 2019

Growth & Jobs | MSMEs can bring Jamaica sustained economic growth – Hyde

Published:Tuesday | October 15, 2019 | 12:10 AM

The Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector plays a major role in Jamaica’s economic growth and job creation, says Mrs Gillian Hyde, general manager, JN Small Business Loans (JNSBL).

“The JN Group loan company has been funding the sector since its inception in the year 2000; and MSMEs operate in many areas of the Jamaican economy; therefore, we need to ensure that they receive as much support as possible,” Hyde maintained.

She said, “These businesses can sustainably grow our economy, while continuing to generate employment. The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries 2017 policy document reports that companies in the sector provide some 80 per cent of jobs in the economy.”

She also said that as the JNSBL celebrates its 19th year of operations in 2019, serving businesses in the agriculture, manufacturing, hospitality, retail, food, craft and the beauty sectors, the company will endeavour to increase its support.

“We are constantly seeking ways to grow the MSME sector,” Hyde explained. “It is our desire to engage all of our clients, from the bag juice vendor to those who manufacture, because we believe that every entrepreneur we assist is a business person who will contribute to the growth of the economy. JNSBL is committed to the sector, and by extension, to the development of Jamaica.”

Hyde also said that as part of the ­company’s commitment to the sector, they have partnered with various stakeholders to increase their presence among entrepreneurs.

“We promote signature events, such as the JNSBL Barber and Beauty Battle, which has unlocked the talent in the Jamaican beauty industry. Many entrants have established their own operations, created more employment, and their positive stories have fueled efforts in our drive to enhance the economic growth of the MSME sector, locally and regionally.”

Anthony Drysdale, winner of the 2018 JNSBL Barber and Beauty Battle, who now operates a barber salon and school in Trinidad and Tobago, explained that he was able to become an entrepreneur based on the knowledge he gained in the JNSBL Barber and Beauty Battle. Drysdale has been grooming hair for more than 10 years.

He opened Kings and Queens Barbering Salon and Academy, a school specialising in grooming, last November; registered the institution; and is working on its accreditation. The school offers a three-month training programme for persons interested in learning the skill. He is also developing plans to open a similar school in Jamaica soon.

TEACHING OTHERS

“Based on the exposure I gained from the Barber and Beauty Battle competition, I am able to use my experience to teach younger persons about the profession,” Drysdale added. “I was also able to purchase additional equipment and expand.”

Hyde added that JNSBL will continue to seek further engagement as part of its strategy to further grow the beauty sector across the region.

“Locally, we have partnered with CB Foods in their pan chicken competition for several years. Today, many of those pan chicken vendors have operations which employ other persons to assist in preparation, sales, or operating another pan,” she related.

“Earlier this year, we launched our Start-up Kick-Start Competition on social media for young entrepreneurs, who needed funding to develop their enterprise. We received more than 100 entries, and our winner was Marcus Sewell, with Brunswick Farms, an aquaphonics and hydrophonics farm; Ava Gay Lewis, with her night salon, placed second; and Kimone Knight, who has a cosmetic line for children, was placed third. The aim of this competition is to continue to develop entrepreneurship which will contribute to the growth of the economy,” stated Mrs Hyde.

“We will, therefore, continue to promote other on-the-ground engagements,” she said. “In addition, we will endorse the benefits of entrepreneurship via our success stories and encourage investment, while ensuring that our clients receive the best financial support from the JN brand,” she added.”

The JNSBL general manager also pointed out that last year, the company disbursed some $6.1 billion in loans to the MSME sector, which served to create and maintain some 200,000 jobs.