The development of Jamaica Venture Capital Programme (JVCP) is one of the fruits of the long and successful relationship between the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) - Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF).
The long-term relationship, characterised by the shared vision of facilitating economic growth within the Jamaican economy, resulted in the signing of a technical cooperation agreement last February.
Financing Jamaica's business sector has traditionally been through credit, and most businesses are fully leveraged. In its effort to continue stimulating economic growth, the DBJ established the JVCP with a mandate to foster the development of a sustainable venture capital market to provide access to long-term patient financing required by high-potential small and medium-size enterprises and innovative start-ups.
Under the arrangement, the IDB through the MIF has provided US$150,000 (J$15 million) while the DBJ has provided counterpart financing to the tune of US$128,000 (J$12.8 million) to finance and contract consulting services and procurement of goods and services. This is to cover:
Delivery of a market analysis to identify opportunities and gaps in the financial landscape.
Preparation of a strategic plan for the development of the venture capital ecosystem, with short, medium and long-term outcomes.
Development and implementation of a communication strategy to build awareness among stakeholders and the public on the importance of equity financing and appreciation of the venture-capital asset class.
DBJ Chairman Joseph M. Matalon, speaking at a recent media briefing, pointed out that the DBJ is pushing an ambitious slate of initiatives aimed at building a sustainable venture-capital ecosystem to equip the small and medium sectors to play an integral role in driving the economy.
He said the state-owned company, mandated to foster economic growth and development, planned to strategically steer clear of the obstacles that sabotaged previous venture-capital programmes. "We are very concerned that we should avoid the pitfalls that we fell into in previous efforts, and are seized with the need to design a programme around international best practices," Matalon said.
He stated further that DBJ's consultant to the venture programme, Audrey Richards - with the assistance of the Inter-American Development Bank through the multilateral investment funds and a number of local and international consultants - has been in discussions with stakeholders.
Richards noted that findings show that while Jamaicans were interested in a joint-venture programme, one of the gaps that required urgent attention was a lack of knowledge of its workings. The conference is an opportunity to provide a forum for information sharing.
The Jamaica Venture Capital Programme Conference 2013 will be held on September 9, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, Montego Suite, starting at 8 a.m.