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Growth & Jobs | EXIM Bank sets up $100m loan fund for SMEs to expand digital footprint

Published:Tuesday | September 20, 2022 | 12:06 AM
EXIM Bank’s Managing Director Lisa Bell (left) and JMEA CEO Kamesha Blake (right) sign the partnership agreement for establishment of the $100 million loan fund for SMEs at EXIM Bank’s headquarters on Hope Road in St Andrew, on Friday. Looking on in Wi
EXIM Bank’s Managing Director Lisa Bell (left) and JMEA CEO Kamesha Blake (right) sign the partnership agreement for establishment of the $100 million loan fund for SMEs at EXIM Bank’s headquarters on Hope Road in St Andrew, on Friday. Looking on in Winston Lawson, business development consultant.

THE NATIONAL Export-Import Bank of Jamaica (EXIM Bank) has allocated $100 million for an e-commerce fund to assist small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) expand their digital footprint.

Through a partnership with the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), the ‘EXIM Ecommerce Funder’ will finance up to 80 per cent of the associated costs of critical inputs for SMEs that are in the process or are interested in trading on an e-commerce platform.

SMEs can access up to $5 million at a rate of five per cent per annum. It is a medium-term, non-revolving, secure loan, with up to three months moratorium on the principal repayments, if required.

During the launch on Friday, September 16, at the EXIM Bank’s headquarters on Hope Road, St Andrew, business development consultant Winston Lawson explained that while there are “vast and potentially impactful advantages” to operating a business in the virtual space, the inputs that drive sales may require funding.

These inputs, he outlined, include the relevant equipment and systems; registration of a domain; server set-up; hosting services; development of a website and security features; high-quality product shots and videos for website catalogue; establishment of payment gateways; search engine optimisation and online marketing; and copywriting and inventory management.

Lawson said the aim is that the new facility will increase export sales by enhancing and positioning the SMEs’ e-commerce platforms to reach global markets.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Sancia Bennett Templer, endorsed the initiative, stating that “we fully support funding for e-commerce”.

“It is clearly part of the broad ecosystem that the prime minister speaks about in terms of making Jamaica a digital economy,” she said.

Bennett Templer noted that the industry and commerce ministry continues to work on various programmes geared at MSMEs and technology in addition to the efforts of the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) to support the digitisation of the country’s small business sector.

Managing Director, EXIM Bank, Lisa Bell, who also welcomed the “glorious partnership”, said the institution’s intention is to offer support to SMEs in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era, where consumer patterns have changed globally.

In her remarks, Chief Executive Officer, JMEA, Kamesha Blake, congratulated the EXIM Bank for providing alternative financial solutions and niche products to drive business expansion and economic growth in Jamaica.

Financing under the ‘EXIM Ecommerce Funder’ is accessible directly from the EXIM Bank, and the customary standings for business lending will be upheld.

For more information, persons can contact the bank through its website: www.eximbankja.com.

JIS