IGNITE Is Enabling Jamaican Entrepreneurs With Innovative Business Ideas To Access Grant Funds To Develop And Commercialise Their Business.
Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) Managing Director, Milverton Reynolds, says he expects support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for its Innovation Grant from New Ideas to Entrepreneurship (IGNITE) programme.
The second phase of the programme was launched at the Spanish Court Hotel, in New Kingston, on Friday (April 27).
“I am pleased to announce that based on the success of the pilot, we will reopen (the) second round of the IGNITE project, with the IDB and CDB indicating very strong interest through their COMPETE Caribbean and Micro, Small and Medium-size Enterprise (MSME) Development Programme,” he said at the launch.
IGNITE enables Jamaican entrepreneurs, particularly MSMEs with innovative business ideas to access grant funds to develop and commercialise their products and services.
The bank provided funding of between $1 million and $4 million to 27 entrepreneurs under IGNITE’s 18-month pilot, for which $75 million was budgeted.
Mr. Reynolds said IGNITE’s second phase will see an increase in the number of businesses which are selected for assistance, and the introduction of specific training components for each beneficiary through the DBJ’s Business Service Intermediaries (BSIs).
He invited the private sector, particularly financial institutions, to partner with the bank, “so that we can truly expand this (IGNITE) programme.”
During the first 12 months of IGNITE’s pilot, 215 full time jobs were created; $225 million in investments were generated; and entities realised approximately $109 million in revenues from the domestic market and exports.
Additionally, Mr. Reynolds said the project assisted 13 of the 27 participating companies drawn from several sectors, including manufacturing, information and communication technology, education, agriculture and marketing, to record business scale improvements.
He further stated that IGNITE facilitated the introduction of many new innovative ideas and concepts to the Jamaican landscape, in relation to business industry and economic developments.
“We are happy with the overall results of the IGNITE initiative and I can confidently say that we at the DBJ are meeting our objectives of facilitating economic growth and development in our country and we pledge to continue. We have no doubt that cohort two will be successful and, indeed, surpass the achievements of the pilot project,” Mr. Reynolds said.
Meanwhile, the DBJ’s Strategic Services General Manager, Christopher Brown, announced plans by the bank to increase the number of BSIs with which it forges partnerships.
The entity collaborated with three – the Jamaica Business Development Corporation, Jamaica Manufacturers Association, and Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship – during the pilot.
They were instrumental in preparing the participants for the application process, coached and mentored them to implement their respective projects, and provided overall project management support.BM