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EXIM Bank Earmarks JA$100 Million to Assist SMEs Expansion Online

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PHOTO: MARK BELL
Managing Director, National Export-Import Bank of Jamaica (EXIM Bank), Lisa Bell (left), and Chief Executive Officer, Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), Kamesha Blake, display a folder with the partnership agreement signed by both organisations for the ‘EXIM Ecommerce Funder’, to assist small and medium-sized enterprises, on Friday (September 16), at the Bank’s headquarters in St. Andrew. Observing is Business Development Consultant, EXIM Bank, Winston Lawson.

 

The National Export-Import Bank of Jamaica (EXIM Bank) has earmarked $100 million for an e-commerce fund to assist small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in expanding their businesses online.

Through a partnership with the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), the ‘EXIM Ecommerce Funder’ will finance up to 80 per cent of the associated costs of critical inputs for SMEs which are in the process of or are interested in trading through an e-commerce platform.

The facility offers up to $5 million per entity, at a rate of five per cent per annum. It is a medium-term, non-revolving, secured loan, with up to three months moratorium on the principal repayments, where required.

During the launch on Friday (September 16), at the EXIM Bank’s headquarters on Hope Road, St. Andrew, Business Development Consultant, Winston Lawson, said while there are “vast and potentially impactful advantages” of operating a business in the virtual space, the inputs that drive sales may require funding.

These inputs, he noted, include: the relevant equipment and systems; registration of a domain; server setup; hosting services; development of a website and security features; high quality product shots and videos for website catalogue; establishment of payment gateways; search engine optimisation and online marketing, and copywriting and inventory management.

Mr. Lawson said it is hoped that the new facility will increase export sales and upgrade the SMEs’ e-commerce platforms to reach global markets.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Sancia Bennett Templer, for her part, endorsed the initiative, stating that “we fully support funding for e-commerce.”

“It is clearly part of the broad ecosystem that the Prime Minister [the Most Hon. Andrew Holness] speaks about in terms of making Jamaica a digital economy,” she said.

Mrs. Bennett Templer noted that the Ministry continues to work on various programmes geared towards MSMEs and technology, in addition to the efforts of the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) to support the digitisation of the country’s small business sector.

Managing Director, EXIM Bank, Lisa Bell, who also welcomed the “glorious partnership”, said the institution’s intention is to offer support to SMEs in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era, where consumer patterns have changed globally.

In her remarks, Chief Executive Officer, JMEA, Kamesha Blake, congratulated the EXIM Bank for providing alternative financial solutions and niche products to drive business expansion and economic growth in Jamaica.

Financing under the ‘EXIM Ecommerce Funder’ are accessible directly from the EXIM Bank, and the customary standings for business lending will be upheld.

For more information, persons can contact the bank through their website: www.eximbankja.com.

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Global Outsourcing Moroccan Company, Intelcia, Officially Launches in Jamaica

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Photo: Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, Minister of Industry, Investment & Commerce (2nd left), poses in front of the Intelcia building following the inauguration of its first outsourcing site in Jamaica. Joining him from left to right are: Karim Bernoussi, CEO & Co-Founder of Intelcia, Diane Edwards, President of JAMPRO, Julian Robinson, Opposition Spokesperson for Finance, Mohammed Slimani, CEO – US Region, Intelcia and Mireille Debruycker, Country Manager, Intelcia.

The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) has secured global outsourcing player, Intelcia, to join the country’s growing Global Digital Services sector. Intelcia, is the first Northern African outsourcing company to launch in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

Intelcia inaugurated its first site in Jamaica following a ceremony on September 22 nd , 2022, which was attended by Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Diane Edwards, President, Jamaica Promotions Corporations (JAMPRO), Mr. Karim Bernoussi, CEO and Co-founder of Interlia and Mr. Mohamed Slimani, CEO for the US Region.

The inauguration further cements Jamaica’s strength in attracting quality global outsourcing players as the nation expands it outsourcing partnership into the African Continent. Intelcia has an international footprint spanning 17 countries, employing approximately 40,000 people globally of 30 nationalities and
across 85 sites. The company currently provides services to over 220 clients from various industries which includes: telecommunication, banking and insurance, IT, retail, media, public sector, e-commerce and services and utilities.

In his remarks, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, stated “It is a pleasure to be at Intelcia’s inauguration in Kingston, Jamaica, and as the Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, I consider the opening of this new establishment a significant event, as it confirms that the strategies of this Andrew Holness Administration to create the right economic conditions for investment are bearing fruit. It sends a clear message to potential investors that Jamaica is, indeed, an attractive and welcoming investment destination that they all should choose.”

With estimated earnings of over US$1billion per year and currently employing over 55,000 individuals, Jamaica’s Global Services Sector (GSS), or to use a more apt and future oriented title, the Global Digital Services Sector, is a high-performing segment of Jamaica’s services industries. During 2021 the sector saw expansions of existing outsourcing companies, entrance of new global brands as well as the much- anticipated progression towards higher-value outsourcing services due to ongoing initiatives by the government, such as the Global Service Sector Project, that has enhanced the labour pool.

Diane Edwards, President of JAMPRO commented “I was particularly impressed with the core values of Intelcia, “We Dream, We Care, We Do”, which aligns with the Jamaican spirit and will resonate with local outsourcing stakeholders who are very active and passionate about the growth and potential of the sector towards nation building and Jamaica’s future.” The JAMPRO President further expressed appreciation to the JAMPRO team for their provision of high quality business facilitation services to Intelcia.

Intelcia’s CEO for the US Region, Mohamed Slimani, stated in his address; Aligning with strategic implementations made in other regions, Intelcia’s launch in Jamaica is driven by responsible investments that will create jobs and add value for the entire ecosystem;. He continues, ; In this regard, more than 600 jobs are currently engaged and several recruitments for leadership and supportive roles are in the pipeline.”

Despite the temporary lockdown and contraction experienced because of Covid-19 in April 2020 the sector demonstrated resilience to register more than 15% growth during the period July 2020 to March 2021. As such this continued expansion of the sector bodes well for the Jamaican economy, significantly contributing to the reduction in the unemployment rate and further to improvements in the GDP.

The Jamaica Promotions Corporation’s (JAMPRO’s) mission is to drive economic development through growth in investment and export. JAMPRO is an Agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment, and Commerce.

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Corporate Movements

Corporate Movements – September 2022

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Access Financial Services Limited (AFS) wishes to advise of the resignation of Ms. Deveta McLaren, Manager-Sales & Marketing effective September 30, 2022. AFS would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms. McLaren for the diligence with which she executed her responsibilities and her dedication to the company during her tenure.

PARAMOUNT TRADING (JAMAICA) LIMITED – APPOINTMENT OF HEAD OF PEOPLE & CULTURE, CUSTOMER SERVICE AND MARKETING
Upon the departure of Ms. Maxine Hutchinson on 26th August, 2022, Paramount Trading (Jamaica) Limited on-boarded a Head of People & Culture, Customer Service and Marketing, Dr. Cecile Dennis, to lead the development of people and culture. Her appointment took effect 8th September, 2022.

Key Insurance Company Limited (the Company) is pleased to announce that Mrs. Nichole Case and Mrs. Ashley-Ann Foster Horne were appointed to the Board of Directors of the Company at a meeting held on September 7, 2022.

Barita Investments Limited (BIL) has advised of the appointment of Mr. Ian Anderson to the position of Vice President, Information Technology within the Company, effective  August 1, 2022.

Carreras Limited (CAR) has advised that Ms. Daidrey Miller will be joining the Company in the role of HR Business Partner effective August 15, 2022.

Victoria Mutual Investments Limited (VMIL) has today announced the following changes to its talent pool in line with its robust strategic plan and bold business targets:
Effective September 1, 2022, Mr. Brian Frazer, CFA joins the VM Group as Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Victoria Mutual Investments Ltd and Victoria Mutual Wealth Management Limited. Brian will work closely with Rezworth Burchenson, Chief Executive Officer in accelerating the implementation of the organisation’s bold strategic objectives.
Brian has vast experience in trading, treasury, asset management, risk management, operations, and product development. Brian also has experience developing the strategic direction for investment management and product development for mutual funds, unit trust funds and institutional asset management business lines across the English-speaking Caribbean. Brian has led investment management teams which had responsibility for the management of assets of over US$1.9 Billion on behalf of unit trust funds, mutual funds, pension funds, corporate clients, and individual investors across the region.
Brian earned his undergraduate degree in Accounting and Economics at the University of the West Indies and has received professional training in accounting, asset/liability, and risk management both locally and overseas. Brian is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder and is a member of the CFA Institute. He is the founding President of CFA Society Jamaica and currently serves as a Director and the Chair of the Membership Committee of the Pension Industry Association of Jamaica. Brian was also a director of the Caribbean Alternative Investments Association.

GraceKennedy Limited (GKL)Appointment President & CEO – First Global Bank Limited: Radcliffe Daley GraceKennedy Limited (GKL) has advised of the appointment of Mr. Radcliffe Daley as the President & Chief Executive Officer of First Global Bank (FGB) Limited, effective September 1, 2022.
Mr. Daley has been acting in the role since July 18, 2022, following the resignation of Mrs. Mariame McIntosh Robinson from the post. Mr. Daley has over thirty (30) years’ experience in retail, corporate and investment banking. He is supported in the role by FGB’s strong and experienced management team and its Board of Directors, which continues to be chaired by Mr. Peter Moses.

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One on One Makes It 100 Listed Companies On The Jamaica Stock Exchange

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Photo: One on One Chairman Michael Bernard and President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ricardo Allen place their company on the listing board. JSE Managing Director, Dr. Marlene Street Forrest looks on.

The Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) has recorded a historic 100th company listing.

This milestone was achieved with One on One Educational Services Limited’s placement on the JSE’s junior market.

The entity, which will trade using the symbol ‘One’ is the 46th entrant to this platform, which has increased the number of securities listings to 146.

The formalities took place during a ceremony at the JSE’s offices on Harbour Street, downtown Kingston, on Thursday (September 1).

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill; Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Audley Shaw; and Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Marsha Smith, who represented Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, headed the officials and other guests in attendance.

One on One’s initial public offering (IPO) for 380 million shares, for which Sagicor Investments Jamaica Limited was the lead broker and arranger, opened and closed on August 12, 2022, having been oversubscribed by approximately 745 per cent.

JSE Managing Director, Dr. Marlene Street Forrest, said the company raised more than $2.8 billion from the offer.

“However, the value for the offer was for $358.25 million. This certainly signals the confidence investors have in this company,” she said, while speaking at the ceremony.

Dr. Street Forrest said One on One now has 13,305 shareholders, representing the largest number for a Junior Market company.

The Managing Director informed that total capital raised by companies listed on the Junior Market now stands at $18.3 billion.

She added that of this amount, $1.6 billion has, to date, been generated from five IPOs since the start of the year.

Dr. Street Forrest said the JSE was pleased to list a “young and vibrant company”, which delivers education utilising technology, noting that the entity “has already touched the lives of so many households”.

“I would like to commend One on One Educational Services Limited for being socially aware by playing your part in enriching the youth of Jamaica through education. I want to thank you for offering students individual life learning experiences through your digital platform,” she added.

Senator Hill, in his remarks, lauded Dr. Street Forrest and the JSE team, noting that the latest listing “is a telling and enduring resonance” of her legacy “in your sterling administration of a fair, efficient and transparent Jamaican stock market”. He added that the milestone achieved was a “most fitting tribute to your astute leadership of your team and the stock exchange”.

“This 100th listing of the Jamaica Stock Exchange is a historic and exciting event. It is also instructive to local businesses that are serious about growth, and individuals that are similar minded about wealth creation and financial security,” Senator Hill further stated.

Ms. Smith, in her remarks, said the JSE’s milestone is an indication that “you continue to move towards positioning Jamaica as a globally competitive logistics hub”, adding that “this will create a myriad of opportunities for economic growth and development”.

The State Minister noted the JSE’s “rich history” of mobilising capital for companies that list on the Exchange and for providing a conduit through which investors can create wealth by investing in these entities.

“The Government of Jamaica has always stood by the vision of the Jamaica Stock Exchange. We remain committed to improving Jamaica’s financial position locally, regionally and internationally,” Ms. Smith added.

One on One President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ricardo Allen, who noted that the entity caters to over 250,000 students in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, thanked their clients and stakeholder partners whose inputs facilitated the company’s listing.

“Going forward, the work starts now. Our hope, right now, is to [take] One on One from the shores of Jamaica and the Caribbean to become a global leader in online education and training all across the world,” he underscored.

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Government to Complete All Development Projects on the Books….Andrew Holness

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The Government remains committed to completing all development projects that are on the books and not yet executed, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has said.

“We have learnt from the errors which have held projects down for eight or 12 years, and we are not making the same mistakes in the new projects,” he said.

The Prime Minister was speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Sandown Palms housing development in Portmore, St. Catherine, on August 26, where he indicated projects to be constructed under the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.

“This [Sandown Palms] is a project eight years in the making and, finally, we’re getting it done. All the projects that have been on the books [or] not executed, this Government is going to get them done,” he emphasised.

Mr. Holness said priority is also placed on new projects being worked on, such as the Greater Bernard Lodge Project, which will make provision for agricultural, residential, commercial, and light-manufacturing solutions.

“I was pleased to see that project moving steadily… pipes are being laid, all the preparatory infrastructure work is being done and that’s moving apace relative to other projects, if you compare when [they started],” he said.

“This Government is learning from the past and planning quite adeptly and strategically for the future,” the Prime Minister declared.

Mr. Holness said that engaging in master planning sessions for new projects on issues, such as approvals from Municipal Corporations, resources, and residential complaints, “takes out potential obstacles and, therefore, we are able to move much faster.”

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2023 Will Be A Great Comeback Year For The Country’s Hospitality Sector….Edmund Bartlett

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Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says there is every indication that 2023 will be a great comeback year for the country’s hospitality sector, where both earnings and arrivals are expected to exceed pre COVID-19 levels.

The Minister, who was speaking at the World Travel Awards Caribbean and Americas ceremony, at Sandals Montego Bay, on August 31, said that as it stands, tourism earnings (over the same corresponding period) have already exceeded 2019, while arrivals are just a trifle behind.

“Based on the trajectory, we have every reason to believe that 2023 will be an unbelievable year for tourism,” the Minister noted.

“We have recovered faster than anybody could have imagined, and for this I must commend the team at the Ministry of Tourism and also all of our international partners,” he added.

The Minister also noted that the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) saw a jump in earnings from April to July, pulling in more than $2.4 billion over the period, and representing a 20 per cent increase when compared to pre-COVID-19 earnings.

Mr. Bartlett said that not only was the destination close to full recovery but that Jamaica continues to strengthen its resilience and remains on par with rival competitors – the Dominican Republic and Mexico.

“Without a doubt, our recovery numbers are the best in the English-speaking Caribbean,” he pointed out.

“We are also a model for many tourism-dependent countries, many of whom have patterned their recovery programmes off what we have managed to do here in Jamaica,” the Minister added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bartlett said it was with great pride and honour that Jamaica hosted the World Travel Awards, noting that it speaks volume as to how well “recognised and respected” the destination has become in tourism circles.

Several of the island’s hoteliers, attraction operators, villas and transportation companies received top awards at the ceremony.

Jamaica won the awards for the Caribbean’s leading destination, leading cruise destination, and leading Tourist Board.

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