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Brimm thinks the agricultural sector is poised for growth

Published:Friday | March 8, 2019 | 12:00 AMAlbert Ferguson-Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

Charmaine Brimm, a technical specialist and socio-economic development officer at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), says that the Local Economic Initiatives (LEI) in St James is expected to make a significant contribution to the country’s economic growth agenda over the next three to five years.

Brimm’s comment came against the background of the disbursement of grant funding to 20 small and medium enterprises from several communities in the parish. The total sum of J$1 million was disbursed to the entities by the Social Development Commission (SDC) and the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) to stimulate and grow in their businesses.

“One of the things we do as a coordinating entity is helping to fill the gaps, and sometimes we are able to provide resources to support the particular initiatives, so in this instance, we were able to provide J$1 million in seed funding towards building the capacity of the businesses in their communities,” Brimm told The Gleaner.

“The PIOJ has come on board with the SDC to support and address the issue of unemployment through promoting entrepreneurship and in promoting the building of the capacity of the persons who are interested in businesses to improve themselves and expand and develop sustainable businesses,” she noted.

Brimm said that while training is a key component of the programme, the PIOJ and its partners are moving to secure markets because it is not enough to only offer training and provide these local economic initiatives with financial support for their finished products.

“The idea is to look not only locally but also regionally and globally in finding the right ­market for these small business leaders,” said Brimm. “So critical to that will be some amount of market research to determine what the consuming public wants.”

“We have so many persons in Jamaica right now that are doing the same thing. The market is saturated, so it’s about what it is that is going to make your product or service stand out a little bit more than others with the right type of branding,” added Brimm.

CHANGING MINDSET

Randy Hayle, the SDC parish manager for St James, said the LEI is about changing the cultural mindset while serving as a catalyst to spur economic growth.

“It is an integrated community-­development strategy to advance community economic development. So what we are trying to do here is to champion community enterprises, building a cultural shift in terms of community persons owning and operating business enterprises in their community,” said Hayle. “That is why some 22 of the 60 local ­economic initiatives that we have here in St James in partnership with the PIOJ are being offered financial grants to develop and improve their ­businesses.”