The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) is claiming success of a pilot project to provide financial assistance to turn innovative ideas into businesses.
The DBJ says it is to expand the project, Innovation Grant from New Ideas to Entrepreneurship (IGNITE). The second phase was launched Friday in Kingston.
IGNITE enables Jamaican entrepreneurs, particularly MSMEs with innovative business ideas to access grant funds to develop and commercialise their products and services.
In the first or pilot phase, over 18 months, for which $75 million was budgeted, the bank provided funding of between $1 million and $4 million to 27 entrepreneurs.
Managing Director, Milverton 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.” Mr Reynolds said he was expecting support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for the 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, JIS reported.
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.