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SMEs benefit from NCB training

Published:Friday | March 4, 2016 | 12:00 AMKeisha Hill
ActionCOACH Marcia Woon Choy listens keenly to feedback from Dale Seaton (centre), workshop liaison and portfolio officer at National Commercial Bank, and workshop participant Anthony Graham, CEO of Home Time Entertainment Limited, a cable company operating in Black River, St Elizabeth, at a recent event hosted by NCB.

Riding on the success of its second small and medium enterprises (SME) conference, the National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited (NCB) developed a master plan for its small business clients. NCB sent them back to school and they did so free of cost.

Themed 'Growth through Transformation,' the conference was attended by more than 130 small and medium enterprises, as well as exhibitors and resource persons. The event featured local and international presenters, facilitating hands-on workshops and interactive sessions to help participants take their businesses to the next level.

"While the conference was a success, we recognised that our SME customers were in need of additional capacity building. Many were excelling, but there were still fundamental gaps which needed to be fixed if the growth was to be sustained," said Dale Seaton, portfolio officer at NCB and workshop liaison.

"Gaps such as developing financial statements, understanding profit versus expenses, these had to be remedied. This led us to establishing the NCB Group ActionCOACH training series for our customers," Seaton added.




Last October, the first cohort of 19 SME customers began the five-month, intensive business development training. The participants spanned the retail, health, manufacturing, entertainment, financial, automotive and construction industries.

Facilitated by ActionCOACH Jamaica's Marcia Woon Choy, the bimonthly sessions focused on wealth management; understanding how to read financial statements; what to look for in a good accountant; marketing fundamentals; using key performance indicators; developing 'how to' manuals; team building and leadership.

For Cheryl Sawyers, managing director of popular Kingston eatery Sweetwood Jerk Joint, the latter was her biggest takeaway. "My personal banker called me and suggested my business could benefit from the workshops. I came blindly into it. I was a little hesitant at first, but I'm glad I was a part of this," Sawyers said.

Marlon Page, CEO of Marlon Pagan Chartered Accounts, whose dream of self-employment came to fruition only two years ago, agreed that the training highlighted the need to focus and to assess whether what he's doing is in fact successful. Quoting his coach Woon Choy, he said "direction is more important than speed".

"NCB must be congratulated for this series. It's better than a degree, better than an MBA, better than a master's, even a doctorate, because it directly impacts lives positively," he said.

The next cohort of SME operators for the NCB Group ActionCOACH training continues this month.