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Senator Aubyn Hill | Getting Behind MSMEs & Entrepreneurship

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February 2024

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, delivers remarks during Thursday’s (February 15) ELEVATE Procurement Conference media launch, held at the AC Hotel by Marriott in New Kingston. (Photo: JIS) 

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 23 Feb 2024    admin   

Minister of Industry, Investment & Commerce, Senator Aubyn Hill spoke fulsomely on the importance of MSMEs to the Jamaican economy at the launch of the National MSME & Entrepreneurship Policy Consultation and Micro Business Pitch Competition held at the AC Marriott Hotel in Kingston on Tuesday (February 20).

Jamaica has achieved remarkable change economic growth in the last seven years.

In October 2023, the unemployment rate stood at a historically low 4.2 per cent, representing a decrease from the 4.5 per cent recorded in April and July 2023.

From January 2023 to August 2023, Jamaica’s total exports increased by 29 per cent (US$1,441.5 million) when compared with the corresponding period in 2022.

From July 2023 to September 2023, Jamaica’s GDP marked a 2.1 per cent growth when compared to the same period in 2022 (5.7 per cent) and grew even higher in 2021!

In 2023, 14,193 MSMEs filed GCT returns – MSMEs that are a part of the formal system – a 3.3 per cent increase from 2022, which had 10,149 MSMEs that filed GCT returns.

According to the findings of a World Bank survey report, Jamaica is home to approximately 425,000 micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). To increase the nation’s economic stability and growth, we must encourage more MSMEs to formalize their operations and comply with tax regulations.

This will create a more transparent and accountable business environment, enabling MSMEs to access financial services, grants, and other forms of support.

As the Minister of Industry, Investment, and Commerce, I am committed to supporting and promoting the growth and success of our MSME sector, and this is why we are here today. I have the distinct privilege to facilitate the National MSME & Entrepreneurship Policy Consultation Workshop and Micro Business Pitch Competition.

This national consultation is an important collaborative consultation in which you – MSMEs, play a significant role. Your participation will help in shaping a policy document that is relevant, inclusive, and responsive to the evolving needs and challenges faced by MSMEs in Jamaica.

This means addressing the need for increased digitisation, inclusion of marginalised groups such as women, youth, and persons with disabilities, as well as continued access to finance and emerging trends.

We are keenly aware of the many challenges that are both internal and external to MSME operations, which hinder your growth and development.

These challenges include:

  • Lack of access to appropriate financing.
  • Capacity constraints and the acquisition of business development support.
  • Lack of innovation and adherence to international standards.
  • Propensity to stay small, which limits the possibility to become scalable MSMES with strong export potential; and
  • Needs a much broader enabling business environment.

We understand that you require more support for your business growth and that is why Jamaica’s Business Ministry, has spearheaded an island wide tour of bringing our services to MSMEs, making it easier to do business in Jamaica.

How are we doing this?


Since I took office at the MIIC in 2021, I have initiated business missions to Guyana (twice), Trinidad & Tobago, the Dominica Republic, United States (Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Washington, and New York), Canada and United Kingdom.

These missions serve as a platform for Jamaican companies to explore and establish connections with potential partners, distributors, and buyers in these markets.


Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill (right), listens as Shanika (left) and Sheldon Cardoza of Kulcha Organics highlight the features of their skincare products. Occasion was a tour of booths at the launch of the Ministry’s Micro Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) Business Roadshow at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville on Thursday, August 10, 2023. (Photo: JIS)

In 2023, the MIIC and its 20 agencies embarked on an all-island tour, making stops in Mandeville, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Kingston:

  •  Over 1,000 MSME participants attended all four roadshows.
  • Over 20 new businesses were registered.
  • 12 winners received a total of J$3.6 million in Grants from the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ)


The Women Entrepreneurship Support (WES) Project, a collaboration between the Ministry of Investment and Commerce and the Bureau of Gender Affairs, seeks to supports women-owned SMEs with capacity building, technical assistance, and financial aid to help enhance their productivity, scale up and formalize their businesses.

The MIIC, in collaboration with the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives, has begun hosting workshops in St. Thomas, Manchester, and Westmoreland to assist 50 women entrepreneurs. These workshops provide support for business formalisation, registration with the Companies Office of Jamaica, and financial aid for equipment, with assistance available up to J$25,000. We have completed the first two workshops which took place on February 15 in St. Thomas, and February 16 in Manchester. The third workshop is scheduled for February 28, in Westmoreland.


(Photo: Do Business Jamaica)

The ministry through one of its agencies, JAMPRO, and the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) launched a nationwide communication campaign earlier this month, on Jamaica’s Business Environment Reform Agenda (BERA), to raise awareness about the work the Andrew Holness administration has been doing and how it impacts businesses of all sizes.

BERA focuses on three groups, as we are making it easier to do business in Jamaica by implementing new systems and processes to increase productivity and grow our economy.


We recognise the important role that large organisations play in the development and sustainability of small businesses. Large companies must find ways to work with smaller companies to foster a symbiotic relationship because it is mutually beneficial for both parties.

As MSMEs, you possess innovative ideas, agility, and niche expertise that can complement the resources and scale of larger organisations.

MSMEs must step up its levels of productivity and efficiency.

By collaborating with MSMEs, large companies will have access new markets technologies, and talent, while also supporting the growth and sustainability of smaller businesses.


As you engage in the Information and Technical Working Sessions, please ensure that you actively participate by providing feedback or commentary on the draft ecosystem map. By participating in these sessions, you have the opportunity to provide valuable insights and perspectives that will inform the development of the policy framework.

To those 35 micro businesses that entered the Micro Business Pitch Competition and were shortlisted,

I extend my congratulations. Your participation in this competition demonstrates your commitment to innovation, entrepreneurship, and the growth of our MSME sector.

I look forward to seeing the impact of your businesses on our economy and society. I am also excited to meet the 10 winners from today’s Business Pitch Competition, five winners will receive J$300,000 each and five winners will receive J$100,000 each.

Jamaica’s business ministry and its 20 agencies are committed to continuing this vital work, in providing MSMEs with the right resources that will help you to build capacity, become export ready, create more jobs, and contribute to the sustainable growth of our economy.

Together, we can build a stronger, better, more resilient, efficient, profitable, export driven, peaceful, productive, and prosperous economy – that benefits all Jamaicans.

Source: Our Today

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Welcome to the official website of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce.

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.

We have, therefore, placed much energy and enthusiasm into the development of this website to provide timely information on the Ministry, our agencies and programmes.


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