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MOU Will Make Access To Capital Possible For Small Businesses

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March 2022

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill (second right), with Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) President, John Mahfood (second left), and Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Managing Director, Dr. Marlene Street Forrest (centre), following their signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will facilitate JMEA micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) member companies listing on the Junior Stock Market. The signing took place at the JSE’s office in downtown Kingston on Thursday (March 24). Looking on (from left) are JMEA Executive Director, Kamesha Blake and and JSE Group Business Development Manager, André Gooden.

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 29 Mar 2022    admin   

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, has endorsed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) forged between the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) and Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) to enable listing on the junior equities market by JMEA member companies.

The MOU, which will target micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), aims to facilitate access to capital for these entities, thereby enabling their growth and that of the equities market and overall economy.

Under the initiative, it is intended that over the next two years, the JSE and JMEA will collaborate to drive more MSME listings and that targetted entities will be positioned for this undertaking.

The JSE’s Managing Director, Dr. Marlene Street Forrest, and JMEA President, John Mahfood, signed the MOU during a ceremony at the Stock Exchange’s offices in downtown Kingston, on Thursday (March 24).

Senator Hill, who was the keynote speaker, highlighted that research shows that access to capital is the second most cited obstacle as entrepreneurs seek to grow their businesses in emerging markets and developing countries.

Against this background, he said the partnership between the JSE and the JMEA “is, therefore, very timely”.

“For the long-term survival of this sector, companies should be listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange to allow them access to necessary equity capital,” he added.

Senator Hill, who noted that the JSE exists to mobilise and facilitate access to capital, emphasised that “what is needed are ready participants, ready entrepreneurs and ready businesses, to access this capital.

“We look forward to working with the Jamaica Stock Exchange and the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association to grow Jamaica and diversify the economy. These are unprecedented times, but the Government of Jamaica has laid a strong foundation with policies, opportunities and agreements that enable our entrepreneurs to access key markets,” he further said.

Senator Hill indicated that in his ministerial capacity, “I commit ongoing support to your efforts and the needs of the Jamaica Stock Exchange through the services offered by the 22 agencies under my portfolio”.

In her remarks, Dr. Street Forrest said the initiative was important to the JSE, “as it fits squarely within our mandate to grow the market by encouraging more small and medium-sized companies to take advantage of what it offers”.

She said the JSE Group understands that it is through the small businesses that the economy will grow.

Dr. Street Forrest noted that the JSE welcomed the focus on MSMEs, “as these companies are… the bedrock of our economy, driving us to internal sustainability and global competitiveness.

“Through this MOU, we believe we can fast-track the growth of many of these companies by opening the avenues for access to capital,” she added.

Dr. Street Forrest further revealed that between 2009 and 2022, a total of $13.36 billion was raised from 61 securities by the 47 companies listed on the Junior Stock Exchange.

“This suggests that the Junior Market is fulfilling its primary objective of improving access to capital for small businesses… [and] has successfully plugged the gap in capital market funding for the SMEs,” she further stated.

Mr. Mahfood indicated that there are upwards of 50 companies that could now be regarded as ready to list on the Junior Stock Market, based on their performance and out-turns.

He said JMEA and JSE will be looking to work with these entities and evaluate their readiness.

Source: JIS


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