Gov't launches initiative to help small businesses
Alessandro Boyd, Gleaner Writer
THE OWNERS of small and medium-size businesses with management problems will now have another facility whereby they can obtain assistance, as the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) model was launched in Kingston yesterday.
The SBDC model initiative is a product of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce in collaboration with the Organisation of American States, the University of Texas in San Antonio, and the Caribbean Export Development Agency.
The SBDC was originally launched in the United States of America more than 35 years ago and today, it provides an array of technical and managerial services to cover the business administration needs of small and medium-size business firms.
EXPECTING SEVERAL BENEFITS
Anthony Hylton, the minister of industry, investment and commerce, said that the Government is looking forward to the benefits to be derived from this model, which has been successfully employed in other jurisdictions.
This model is the US govern-ment's largest and most effective technical assistance programme, with a network of more than 1,100 centres, 4,500 full-time advisers/counsellors and serves 7,500 clients annually.
Data for 2013 showed that SBDCs contributed to creating and obtaining 158,434 jobs, assisting in opening 24,501 new businesses, generating US$7.3 billion in sales and providing US$3.4 billion in new financing.
"We are satisfied, based on our own assessment and the response of stakeholders during consultations, that the SBDC model is suitable for Jamaica. This model provides a structured framework to promote the competitiveness and development of our MSMEs," Hylton said.
"The provision of interventions throughout the firm's cycle, the partnership arrangement between universities, public and private sectors as well as the monitoring and evaluation mechanisms will address, in a major way, some of the deficiencies of current programmes," he added.