A warning for new entrepreneurs in Jamaica. Avoid taking up large stocks of debt in order to start up the operations.
The warning has come from Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister Anthony Hylton, who said too many businesses, in starting up, compromised themselves because of the heavy debt that they start with.
"I urge you to look at how you can bring in family, friends (and) have a strong business proposal that can attract investors," he told delegates attending the 14th annual Shirley Playfair Lecture, hosted by the Fair Trading Commission.
Hylton said the Government is putting forward a number of measures and initiatives to widen the scope for financing, particularly for micro and small businesses.
He cited the Jamaica Venture Capital Programme (JVCP), which is being implemented over three years, in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank. The JVCP will be launched in April 2014.
Hylton said the ministry is now "re-engineering" the microfinancing enterprise sector, because agencies such as the Micro Investment Development Agency and Self Start are not as focused as they should be, and need repositioning.
"We are doing that with a view to come out with a new revitalised sector in microfinancing," he said, making reference to the Security Interest in Personal Property Bill, which will deal with utilising intellectual property as collateral for financing. The Bill will also look at the use of "movables," such as crops and livestock as collateral.
"We recognize the constraints (in micro and small business financing), but we are moving quickly to address some of those constraints," he said.
The lecture was held under the theme 'Emerging Business Strategies and Implications for Competition', and featured a presentation on the vertical integration business model by President of the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association Brian Pengelley.