Six local entrepreneurs have received a tremendous boost for their businesses under the HEART Trust/NTA’s Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Support Programme. Tools and equipment of over $14M have been donated to the business owners who are engaged in key sectors of the economy such as Business Processing Outsourcing and Manufacturing. The presentations were made at the launch of HEART’s MSME Support Programme on Thursday July 21, 2016, at the Knutsford Court Hotel.
Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator Ruel Reid, said the HEART Trust programme was the correct strategic move as it fits perfectly into the government’s growth agenda. Senator Reid said the dynamics of the economy demanded that more persons created jobs rather than looking for a job. “This programmme sensitizes and re-socialises the Jamaican landscape on the importance of entrepreneurship, the importance of technical education, developing workforce capacity, and the capacity of our people to transcend from just preparing for a job to being job creators,” said the Minister. He also encouraged Jamaicans to find their niche and to invest locally, especially in new and emerging areas of the economy.
Chairman of the HEART Trust/NTA, Maxine Wilson charged the MSME owners to take full advantage of the initiative. “We look forward to working with you to achieve maximum success in all your ventures. Your success will be Jamaica’s success,” she said.
Miss Wilson commended the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), led by Valerie Veira and other partners in the micro-business sector for their tireless work in promoting entrepreneurship as a major plank of economic revival for the country. She noted that a significant percentage of new jobs come directly from this sector and that is why the Trust has targeted it as an area of focus.
Executive Director of the HEART Trust Dr Wayne Wesley, also acknowledged key partners such as the JBDC and JAMPRO for collaborating with the HEART Trust to assist MSME’s. “It is our duty as the National Training Agency to provide and facilitate employment projects which promote national growth and stimulate employment opportunities and the MSMEs are critical to this objective,” said Dr Wesley.
Vivian Brown, Director General in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries noted that the programme tackled the common issues which MSMEs face, namely a lack of capital and inadequate training.
The HEART Trust/NTA MSME Support programme comprises of a number of support initiatives geared at improving the productivity and competitiveness of businesses. Under the Trainee Start-up Programme, trainees of the Trust will receive up to $400,000 in grant funding to procure tools and equipment and will be supported by an 18-month business development programme. - Forty (40) trainee start-ups have been approved for grant funding since the programme was initiated. Beneficiaries of the General MSME Support component will receive up to $3M in grant funding and participate in a 24-month business development programme. Additionally, the Trust supports JAMPRO in its Export Max II Programme, which is a three-year initiative geared towards providing focused capacity building and market penetration support to a group of twenty (20) Jamaican export and export-ready firms. To date $4M has been injected into the programme by the Trust.
The President of the MSME Alliance, Donovan Wignall commended the HEART Trust/NTA on the move to support the group as this engenders the confidence MSMEs need to start and grow their businesses. The first six MSMEs that have received funding support under the HEART Trust programme are Jamaica Transport Services, Zinergy International, Professional Outsourcing Solutions, Honey Vera, Frasers Ceramics and Environ Med.