Approximately 200 micro and small enterprises in eight marginalised communities are set to benefit from grant support totalling $50 million. This, under the Government’s Integrated Community Development Project Phase 2 (ICDP II) being implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).
This will be facilitated under the ICDP II Enterprise Development Grant Project Cycle 2, which will directly benefit 53,234 residents in August Town, Denham Town, and Greenwich Town in Kingston and St Andrew; Treadlight in Clarendon; and Anchovy, Mount Salem, Norwood, and Salt Spring in St James.
The grant project was formally launched during a ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, on Thursday, which was addressed by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator Aubyn Hill.
Under the initiative, selected enterprises and entrepreneurs can also receive up to $400,000 in equipment support and will have access to business-development training and registration.
The areas of engagement being targeted are small-scale manufacturing, agriculture and livestock rearing, fishery; agro-processing; retail and food services; fashion and garment construction; furniture-making and upholstery; beauty care services; creative industry/multimedia and entertainment; and auto car care services.
Senator Hill, in his remarks, welcomed the initiative’s launch, noting that JSIF-implemented projects “have helped to transform lives and helped communities to develop and transform processes that make [those areas] work better”.
The minister said the project’s implementation was timely, coming at a point when the Government has relaxed COVID-19 restrictions and safety protocols.
He pointed out that this will “pave the way for small businesses to ramp up their activities and productivity”.
Noting that several of the communities had been declared Zones of Special Operations due to elevated levels of crime, Senator Hill said the project’s introduction was expected to have a positive influence locally and nationally.
“Enterprise will replace unemployment, and as research indicates, the level of criminal activity will be reduced as increasing numbers of residents become more gainfully employed,” he added.
In his remarks, JSIF Managing Director Omar Sweeney highlighted the extent to which residents in communities, where there have been similar project interventions, engage in dialogue about generating sustainable livelihoods.
“They are not asking for handouts [or] for the Government or private sector to constantly… help them. What they want is the ability to earn for themselves … [to make] an honest living … something they can use to better their lives,” he noted.
Sweeney said the Enterprise Development Grant Project is designed and intended to retain community-driven commerce within the areas.
He indicated that this would see people being able to access goods and services within the community, thereby resulting in earnings remaining there for an extended period of time.
“We are happy to be here to launch [this latest initiative] and [to] have the support of the Ministry [of Industry, Investment and Commerce] and our government partners,” Sweeney added.
Newly appointed Custos Rotulorum for St Andrew, Ian Forbes, commended the JSIF for facilitating, promoting, and encouraging the community entrepreneurial spirit while noting that the latest initiative “will go a far way in transforming lives across the length and breadth of our beautiful country”.
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The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce is described as Jamaica's "Business Ministry." It's mandate is to lead the development of policies that will create growth and jobs, while achieving social inclusion and consumer protection. The Ministry, working its stakeholders is primarily responsible for business policy development, monitoring and evaluation, while giving direction and oversight to a cluster of implementing departments and agencies.
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