US$25M “Boosting Innovation, Growth And Entrepreneurship Ecosystem” Project Being Implemented By Development Bank Of Jamaica.
Over the next five years, a total of US$25 million will be invested in a project designed to finance and aid innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and business startups.
Dubbed ‘Boosting Innovation, Growth and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem (BIGEE)’ the project is being implemented by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ).
Making the announcement during his contribution to the Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on March 19, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, said the initiative will be supported by a US$500,000 grant from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The objectives he said are to promote innovation and productivity among established MSMEs with high growth potential; promote sustainable and disruptive growth in scalable startups; and create sustainable startups and a strong support ecosystem for entrepreneurship.
He said the programme will provide a variety of products for MSMEs along the different stages of their development.
Mr. Holness said most of the intervention/activities that will be supported through the BIGEE initiative will be grants to MSMEs, and business intermediaries.
If it is not going to be a grant, the intention is to set up a venture capital fund… so if it’s not a grant, it will be equity, he said.
These are the kinds of intervention that are going to support the development of businesses at the very base of the economy, at the root of the economy, he noted.
Another key facet of the programme is to build the capacity of business intermediaries such as accelerators, incubators, and technology transfer offices to support MSMEs.
The key products to be offered are seed capital fund and incubation services for new startups; venture capital fund and acceleration services for scalable startups; and for established MSMEs – research, development and innovation funds, patenting matching grants, and business support services.
It is expected that implementation of all these components will generate increased productivity levels for the targeted beneficiaries.