Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

HE Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) model is expected to strengthen the business environment for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Jamaica, according to Industry and Commerce Minister Anthony Hylton.

"It will facilitate broad-based MSME growth, leading to enhanced entrepreneurship skills and innovation for competitive industries," Hylton told the recent launch of the SBDC at his ministry in New Kingston.

The SBDC model is a managerial and technical support system for small businesses to assist owners with management problems.

First launched in the United States more than 35 years ago, it is being implemented in Jamaica by Hylton's ministry in collaboration with the Organisation of American States (OAS), the University of Texas in San Antonio (UTSA), and the Caribbean Export Development Agency.

The minister noted that with its successful implementation in countries like Mexico, El Salvador, and Colombia, he was confident that the adaptation of the model would provide a structured framework to promote competitiveness and development of MSMEs in Jamaica.

A unit is to be established within the ministry to provide leadership and guidance in the implementation of the SBDC model, and an implementing committee is to be set up for the designation and accreditation of the centres, Hylton said.

The ministry will work with the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) to establish a set of criteria for the accreditation of SBDCs, specifically in terms of the standards and delivery mechanisms.

The JBDC will be the lead agency in the implementation of a one-year pilot phase of the project, and the agency will work with partners to promote the initiative and provide business development support as necessary.

Other agencies/associations such as the HEART Trust/NTA, the Jamaica Productivity Centre, Bureau of Standards Jamaica and the trade associations will play important support roles in the operation of the SBDCs.

The formal launch followed a three-day training session by the OAS and UTSA, with MSMEs and business-related organisations in Jamaica, and was part of a broader OAS initiative that began in 2012 in Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Jamaica, and Saint Lucia.

The initiative seeks to contribute to the development of institutions that support and help increase the competitiveness of MSMEs in the Caribbean region.

The Caribbean SBDC project is funded by the US Government through its Permanent Mission to the OAS.

Jamaica is the third Caribbean Community member country to launch the SBDC model, following Belize in 2012 and St Lucia in 2014.

In 2013, SBDCs contributed to creating and obtaining 158,434 jobs, assisting in opening 24,501 new businesses, generating US$7.3 billion in new sales and providing US$3.4 billion in new financing.

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