- The Companies Act
An act to provide for the incorporation, regulation and winding up of trading companies and other associations and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
- The Registration of Business Name Act, 1934 (updated 2006)
An act to provide for the registration of firms and persons carrying on business under business names and for other purposes. This act allows micro and small firms to access a simple business registration process but does not create a separate legal entity as provided for under the Companies Act.
- Security Interests in Personal Property Act, 2013 (being amended 2018)
An act to facilitate the creation of security interests in personal property, to provide for a simple registration process for the recognition of such interests, and to stipulate the rules which will govern the priority in which such interests are enforceable. The Act is supported by the National Collateral registry, housed at the Companies Office of Jamaica.
- Public Procurement Act, 2015 (amended 2018)
An act to consolidate and modernize the law relating to the public procurement of goods, works and services; and for related matters. This legislation allows GOJ to provide ‘Special and Differential Treatment’ to support developmental objectives of the GOJ. Through the provision of this Act, the Government has far advanced the development of Offset Regulations for the MSME sector. Through these regulations there will be a 20% set aside for government contract for the MSME sector and a Margin of Preference for domestic content.
- Special Economic Zones Act, 2016
An act to repeal the Free Zone Act (1982) and provide for the, development, regulation, construction supervision, management and control of Special Economic Zones. The act provides for special and differential treatment to be granted to MSMEs.
- The Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, 2014
The act provides for the rehabilitation of the insolvent debtor under court protection, and will help to remove the stigma and constraints associated with bankruptcy in Jamaica. The ultimate goal is that entrepreneurs will not be stigmatized for taking risks, nor left without remedies when normal business failures occur.
- Microcredit Bill (draft)
An Act to register and regulate microcredit companies that provide financing to micro, small and medium sized businesses; to discourage microcredit companies from lending money at excessive interest rates and from engaging in predatory lending practices; and for connected matters.
- Updated MSME and Entrepreneurship Policy 2018
An updated MSME & Entrepreneurship Policy was approved by both houses of Parliament as a White Paper in July 2018. The Policy is a comprehensive, coherent and coordinated framework for addressing the policy issues facing the sector, as well as, providing an outline for targeted support to the sector to expand its contribution to socio-economic development. The Policy contains a new definition for MSMEs in Jamaica in alignment with international standards, recognizes the emergence of social enterprises, and five (5) year implementation plan that charts the actions to be implemented by the government for the five years.
The Policy requires that MICAF establishes the National MSME Policy Implementation Committee (NPIC) as the body with responsibility for oversight and coordination of the policy and implementation plan, led by the MSME Division. The NPIC was formally launched in September 2018.
National Initiatives to Support the MSME Sector:
- Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC)
JBDC serves as the Government of Jamaica’s premier business development support organization for small business with a focus on taking enterprises “from concept to market”. The Corporation is an agency under the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries. The JBDC provides capacity development interventions annually to Jamaican entrepreneurs through its business advisory and financial services units as well as its network of business Advisors island-wide. The JBDC is also home to one of the government’s incubator and ccelerator programme support that assist Jamaica’s entrepreneurs with a space to create products while providing a platform for the marketing and selling of innovative products through the Things Jamaica brand.
Developed to pursue developmental policies that foster sustainable modernization and growth in the productive sector, effective modernization of the business environment, cost effective delivery of technical and marketing services through highly committed, competent and motivated employees.
- Jamaica Access to Finance Programme for MSMEs
The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), in an effort to deliver on its mandate to facilitate economic growth in Jamaica is executing 2 projects focused on improving access to finance by MSMEs. The projects are being funded by two of Jamaica’s key International Development Partners (IDPs), the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The first project is titled Access to Finance (A2F) Project, is geared towards the improvement of MSMEs through the provision of suitable financial products and services. The project is valued at US$15 million and is funded by the World Bank. It will be executed over a period of 5 years from January 2018 to January 2023.
The second project funded by the IDB seeks to improve MSMEs access to loans through the private banking industry. The project tiled IDB Credit Enhancement Programme for MSMEs is valued at US$20 million and will continue to expand the scale and range of financing programmes for MSMEs, with specific focus on the DBJ’s partial credit guarantee programme, the Credit Enhancement Fund (CEF). This project will be executed over 5 years from September 2017 to September 2022 with a shared interest in improving access to financing for MSMEs.
- Special Fund for MSME growth and development to be financed from unclaimed funds within financial institutions
Affordable and appropriate access to finance has been identified as a major issue impacting the growth and development of the MSME Sector. The concept of creating a Special Fund to be financed from unclaimed funds resident in financial institutions has been given firm consideration by Cabinet as a potential financing mechanism for MSME growth and development.
Cabinet has approved in principle this financing mechanism, and has requested that further technical consultancy work be undertaken related to the efficacy and feasibility of utilizing this approach to fund MSME growth and development.
- Policy Document on Proposed Measures to Reduce the High Incidence of MSME Informality
The Government of Jamaica (GoJ) is banking on the MSME sector to play a major role in achieving a growing economy and GDP growth. This is because MSMEs account for the largest segment of the private sector. In Jamaica it is estimated to be 97%; Jamaica however has a high MSME informality rate. Recent estimates put this at approximately 43% of GDP. Increasing the participation rate of informal MSMEs into the formal sector could be a major game changer for achieving national development imperatives.
The MSME Division has prepared a Policy Paper containing some proposed initiatives for consideration to reduce MSME informality.
- Implementation of the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) Model in Jamaica
The Government of Jamaica, in recognition of the critical role of business development services to MSME growth and development, continues to provide support for this through its network of agencies and stakeholders including the primary provider, the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC). This will allow JBDC standards of business advisory services to be leverage by other Business Development Organizations (BDOs) nationwide.
The Government of Jamaica became one of five (5) Caribbean Countries to adopt the SBDC Model out of the United States in 2014. The Model is a network and systems based approach to the provision of business development support services, where the impact and critical KPIs can be traced back the initial investments made in time and money as well as in terms of geographic location of enterprises that receive support.
- MSME Resource Search Tool
The MSME Resource Search Tool is an online platform that provides entrepreneurs, with one central location to research and review up-to-date business development opportunities. The tool is managed and operated by the MSME Division of the MICAF through collaboration and information gathering from various public and private sector stakeholders. The tool is designed for the filtering of search results by selecting sector, purpose and type of financing.
- Access Financial Limited – MSME Loan Facility
Access Financial Services (AFS) Limited is one of the premier providers of loans to Jamaica Microfinance Sector. Since commencing operation in 2000, ASF has established a retail network of eighteen (18) branches island-wide. The company contributes significantly to the microfinance sector, the development of which is essential to job creation and economic growth.
- Agricultural Loan for Farmers
The Jamaica National Small Business Agriculture Loans are designed to provide assistance to Micro-entrepreneurs and SMEs to upgrade their farm equipment, purchase seeds, fertilizers, improve operations or purchase a farm vehicle.
- Agro Parks Programme of MICAF
The Agro Parks Programme of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce Agriculture and Fisheries is intended to facilitate the expansion of the productive capacity of the agriculture sector by building out the infrastructure to support SME investments in the production of selected crops and livestock directed towards import substitution.
- BizBoost Loan
The Jamaica National Small Business Loan (JNSBL) BizBoost Loans are designed for SMEs engaged in value added activities to acquire fixed assets (except real estate) and working capital. Loans will be made to individuals or registered entities (Sole Proprietorship, Partnership or Registered Company).
- BizEvents Loans for Micro Entrepreneurs
The Jamaica National Small Business Loan (JNSBL) is a specially tailored loan to assist micro entrepreneurs to capitalize on seasonal opportunities for revenue generation. The maximum loan amount of $250,000.00 repayable over ten (10) weeks.
- BizGrow loans
The Jamaica National Small Business Loan (JNSBL) has designed this loan facility for accessibility to micro and small businesses operating at the minimum six (6) months. The funds accessed can be used to improve, enhance and expand businesses by purchasing tools, equipment, raw materials, stocks and or any other business purpose.
- Blue and John Crow Mountain Community Economic Opportunities Workshop
The Blue and Jon Crow Mountains Economic Opportunities workshop is a local networking and business development platform aimed at facilitating access to the necessary tools, resources and information to assist the development of creative industries and business in and around the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This initiative is designed to unearth real economic potential within the region by targeting residents from communities in and around the World Heritage Site as well as individuals desiring to embark on venture creation there.
Community Tourism, Gastronomy, Commerce, Craft, Agriculture, Tour Guiding, Accommodation were identified as those areas with immediate potential. The Blue and John Crow Mountains which was inscribed to the WH list in July 2015 represents the first World Heritage site inscription for Jamaica and the first mixed (cultural and natural) site for the Caribbean sub-region.
- Broiler Chicken Distribution Programme
This programme executed by The Jamaica 4- H Clubs in partnership with HiPro aims at enhancing MSMEs involvement in agriculture and promote agriculture as a viable career choice. Through the distribution of baby chicks to youth groups across the island, training and input support have been provided.
- Business Entrepreneurial Empowerment Programme (BEEP)
The Beep initiative was established in 2000 through funding from the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and executed by the institute of Law and Economics. The initiative is intended to provide entrepreneurial training to MSMEs to assist them in formalizing their business activities and to achieve minimum business standards in key areas to increase their access to financing. Among the services offered through the initiative are: Legal Compliance, Accounting, Financial Literacy, Computer Literacy, Innovation, Business Management among others.
- Business Registration Super-Form Electronic Business Registration
Through this initiative of the Companies Office of Jamaica in 2014, a total of thirteen (13) forms were amalgamated to develop one (1) form for the registration of a business name and two (2) forms for registration of a company. Further the electronic interface provides for registration with Tax Administration of Jamaica (TAJ), application for National Insurance Scheme (NIS), National Housing Trust (NHT), Tax Compliance Certificate (TCC) and HEART Trust/NTA. The initiative was geared towards and has in effect lessen the time taken and lowered transaction cost for business registration for start-ups.
- Climate Smart Loan
The climate change loan programme by the Jamaica National Small Business Loan (JNSBL) provides loan financing of between $200,000 to $5 million for climate change adaptation activities and the project’s viability. The loan funds will be made available to businesses in the agriculture and tourism sectors and ought to augment climate change resilience through the use of adaptive or mitigation strategies with respect to the effects of climate change.
Financing is also geared towards energy efficiency techniques (e.g. use of greenhouse farming, flood control techniques, drip irrigation systems, solar systems, rainwater harvesting systems, greenhouse gas energy reduction systems) or to overhaul and adapt production strategies that will reduce the use of fossil fuels energy demand. Projects may be financed from $200,000 to $ 5million at 4%.
- Development Bank of Jamaica’s Microfinance Facility
Through a €200,000 grant funding from the Ministry of Finance of Luxembourg and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, The Development Bank of Jamaica as the Government’s lead agency for the coordination of all related interventions in the microfinance sector established a Microfinance Lending Window in 2009.
The areas of focus for the grant include:
- Product development
- Social performance management systems and procedures
- Promotion of the Client Protection Principles (CPPs) and social performance ratings;
- Expansion of microfinance to new client groups;
- Knowledge sharing events and trainings.
- Food Modernization Act (FSMA) Crops and Livestock
Under the Food Safety and Modernization Act Programme, the MICAF and other stakeholders have embarked on efforts to ensure that the country’s food safety standards comply with those stipulated under the revised United States Food Safety Modernization Act. Under the Programme, efforts have been advanced to strengthen the institutional capacities within the ministry through the training of technical officers in good agricultural and manufacturing practices. The Programme provides technical support to farmers, including MSMEs, producing crops for local consumption, export and processing.
- Goat Revolving Programme
The Goat Revolving Programme is funded by the Kingston Lions Club in association with the Goat Breeders Association, JAMALCO & the Agricultural Credit Board. The Programme aims to enhance MSMEs involvement in agriculture through targeted activities in addition to promoting agriculture as a viable career choice. Specifically the programme provides MSMEs with the technical skills required for goat rearing.
- Government of Jamaica Adaptation Fund Programme
The Adaptation Fund (implemented through the Planning Institute of Jamaica) was therefore formulated to assist MSMEs in the agricultural sector to: i) Enhance food security in vulnerable communities by strengthening coastal protection, ii) Improve land and water management for their holdings, iii) Build capacity for climate change adaptation. The Fund provides assistance to MSME farm business operators.
The Fund provides assistance for establishing production and productivity programmes using climate-smart agriculture, the implementation of rainwater harvesting and small scale drip irrigation systems and the establishment and rehabilitation of infrastructure for soil conservation and protection.
- IGNITE Programme
The Innovative Grant from New Ideas to Entrepreneurship (IGNITE) Programme was developed by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) to aid the accelerated growth of a group of innovative business ventures by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). The Grant is available to start-up MSMEs (2 years and younger) and companies that are older but are going through a process of innovation that enables them access to a maximum of J$4 Million in grant funding.
- Integrated Community Development Project (ICDP) Entrepreneurial Grant
The ICDP Enterprise project is a grant programme to be targeted at 19 communities across seven parishes. The grants are being targeted for small and micro enterprises including existing business and startups. The programme will shortlist eligible enterprises for training and capacity build as well as where required equipment and minor works to enhance their product/service delivery.
To create employment within the communities, the project will seek to assist existing and new enterprises within the communities. This will include capacity building and direct assistance to procure new equipment etc. that will allow them to sustain and increase employment for persons within the communities. The project will look to target approximately 50 enterprises through a two year programme that will assess their weaknesses, provide training, assistance through business development and equipment.
- Jamaica Venture Capital Programme (JVCP)
The Jamaica Venture Capital Programme was developed in recognition of the gaps that exist in the traditional financing options to MSMEs. In 2013 the GOJ through the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) held the first Venture Capital Conference. The conference established a Venture Capital and private equity fund operated by qualified local and international fund managers. Entrepreneurs and small business owners have the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to fund managers in order to seek funding. The Venture Capital Programme incorporates elements of the approaches of commercial finance and micro finance so as to ensure a holistic approach.
The objective of the JVCP includes the development of a venture capital ecosystem to create an environment conducive to the establishment of a dynamic private equity/venture capital (PE/VC) industry to include legal, taxation and regulatory changes as well as significant training of local investors, fund managers and entrepreneurs. Additionally, it is also the objective to fostering the establishment of new venture capital and private equity funds through public and private sector collaboration with local and international fund managers. Importantly the JVCP aims to build strong linkages with our international development partners (IDPs), the Jamaican Diaspora, as well as our Latin American and Caribbean neighbours.
- Jamaica Youth Business Trust Loan Program
Jamaica Youth Business Trust is an accredited member of Youth Business International, a global network which supports young entrepreneurs. The organization is duly registered and is an NGO/not-for-profit organization. JYBT provides young entrepreneurs between the ages 18 – 35, with an integrated package of support and services to help them start and grow sustainable businesses providing entrepreneurs with expert local support, specifically tailored to their needs: business training, mentoring, financial support along with other business development support services.
The Program is beneficial in that it customizes products and entrepreneur services to help young aspiring/nascent entrepreneur who wants to start and launch a business by reducing the challenges due to the lack of business support, “know-how” and facilitating access to a creative space along with affordable business solutions to help them get started. Additionally there are the following benefits to be had from the program:
- Entrepreneurs are assigned a business mentor, benefitting from their expert knowledge and skills, to manage their business
- Loan funding
- Customized business training for entrepreneurs
- Wide range of business solutions and affordable services.
- iHub® creative space
- JVCP – National Business Model Competition (NBMC)
Provides leadership and technical support to encourage potential entrepreneurs at the university level and facilitate linkages between entrepreneurs, private sector mentors and financiers.
The NBMC sees local universities host internal competitions from which the top three (3) teams from these competitions compete in the NBMC for cash prizes. The winner of the NBMC then competes at the International Business Model Competition (IBMC), where they compete against over 40 other international university student teams.
- Mobile Business Clinic Initiative (MBCI)
There is a significant need for technical assistance in key areas of business development in many MSMEs across Jamaica. These include financial management, marketing, IT, general management, personnel management and international trade as non-financial development areas in which MSMEs have the greatest demand for technical support. NCB provided J$13.5 million in sponsorship for the MBCI spearheaded by the JBDC.
The overarching objective of the MCBI is to expand the reach of its business support offerings, by providing a portable office, delivering a suite of business development services and assistance to MSMEs across the nation in Urban and Rural locations.
The MBCI is executed via a Mobile Unit that offers the suite of JBDC services, as well as, services offered by other GOJ Ministries and Agencies, and private sector partners through join-up government approach. The services offerings are disaggregated as: Business Advice, Consultation and Formalization, Technical Assistance and Business Monitoring Support.
- Nation Builder Awards (NBA)
The National Commercial Bank (NCB) in 2008 launched a biennial Nation Builder Awards Programme to recognize and celebrate its SME business customers. The Programme, highlights outstanding entrepreneurial performance, sound operational practices, and SMEs contribution to community development.
The Awards programme has three (3) categories open to applicants:
- Nation Builder Award – The Nation Builder Award goes to the most outstanding entrepreneurial performance by an established business, an NCB customer that has demonstrated a clear and significant contribution to community development;Innovation Award – The Innovation Award salutes a business which is an NCB customer and has used creativity, including but not limited to technology, to introduce a new product, tap into a new market and/ or gain competitive advantage;Young Entrepreneur Award – The Young Entrepreneur award recognizes a business that has been in operation for up to three (3) years with commendable business performance, strong community impact and whose principal is 35 years old or under.
The NBA programme also recognizes and supports the entrepreneurial spirit and aspirations of a final year Management Studies or Entrepreneurial Studies student of the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. This student is identified by the head of Department of the Management Students, as having prepared and submitted the best final year business plan/ project.
- NCB Business Grow Loan Facility
The National Commercial Bank (NCB) Jamaica is the first commercial bank to establish a structured framework to provide loan offerings to MSMEs. The Bank has an established framework to provide access to loans for MSMEs. The framework includes:
- A team of Business Bankers designated to manage the relationship with our SMEs across Jamaica.Customized products & servicesCapacity building initiativesReward & Recognition
The Business Grow Loan Facility is a collateralized loan facility that provides financing for SMEs to assist with any legitimate business purposes including business re-tooling, energy projects, commercial property acquisition and all other business expansion, restructuring and capital expenditure initiatives.
- NCB Merchant Advance Credit Facility
This facility enables SME card merchants to use their future debit and credit card receivables to access affordable financing on an unsecured basis, to be utilized primarily for working capital support.
- Nutraceutical Training Programmes
This programme is offered by the Jamaica 4 H society, with the aim of enhancing MSMEs involvement in agriculture through training and the production of nutraceutical plants. Participants are exposed to the agronomical practices in agriculture and it is hoped that they will see agriculture as a viable career option.
It is expected that the programme will increase the capacity of participants through training and increase in the production of nutraceutical plants.
- Partial Credit Guarantee Enhancement Facility
The Credit Enhancement Facility (CEF) gives a helping hand to Small & Medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). It is expected that this facility will reduce the risk of lending to MSMEs, by supplementing available collateral to meet the financial institutions’ lending requirements. Allows viable MSMEs to access credit for expansion.
The CEF targets viable MSMEs in all economic sectors, based on the GOJ definition of the MSME sector, as well as, start-ups. MSMEs must be tax compliant, have good credit history, and be in business for at least 12 months.
Since inception, the CEF approved 417 guarantees in the amount of J$1.85 billion (US$ 14.7 million), supporting J$4.33 billion (US$34.4 million) in loans through 15 AFIs to SMEs.
- RESET Caribbean Foundation
The RESET Foundation is a partnership with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Government of Jamaica to share resources and maintain a comprehensive training and development network for entrepreneurs.
RESET also focus on the promotion of sustainable enterprise with equal regard for the value of social, cultural, economic and environmental dimensions. The project also reduces fragmentation and information asymmetry among all stakeholders by establishing an online system that gathers, organize, analyzes, and presents basic information required to meet sustainability goals of the small and medium enterprise ecosystem.
RESET also provides enterprise intervention and support services which facilitate; access to appropriate technologies, the buildup of entrepreneurs’ capacities for self-help and systems of inter-dependence and access to financing.
- SME Loan under the Foundations for Competitiveness & Growth Project (FCGP) for SMEs
The FCG Project is a USD$50 Million World Bank Loan Programme, comprising four (4) components to assist in driving firm competitiveness and growth. The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) leads the management of the SME facilitation component valued at USD 27M / approximately JMD3 Billion. This is used to support supply chain grants and loans. Both facilities support the small business community to:
- Increase productivity.
- Reap opportunities in environmental management and occupational health and safety.
- Enhance the business landscape to improve the level and quality of lending to micro, small and medium sized enterprises.
Loans may be used to replace and update equipment as well as to increase inventory, manage accounts payables and other working capital support. One important advantage of the facility is the number of years (ten) and the moratorium allowed. These are channeled through the highly- qualified DBJ Account Executives who facilitate the loans through six (6) commercial banks plus EXIM.
All MSMEs per the official GOJ definition are eligible for the financing facility. Benefits to receiving a loan include possible improvement in productivity and efficiency
- Social Enterprise Boost Initiative (SEBI)
The Jamaica National Foundation (JN Foundation) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Social Enterprise Boost Initiative (SEBI) is specifically designed to create an enabling business environment for social enterprises in Jamaica.
The Jamaica National Foundation (JN Foundation) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Social Enterprise Boost Initiative (SEBI) is specifically designed to create an enabling business environment for social enterprises in Jamaica, and to assist them in transitioning their grant- funded operations into viable, profit-making businesses, which can support their social missions.
The expanded SEBI targets at least ten (10) new social enterprises/entrepreneurs (SEs) while continuing to support an existing 6 social enterprises to improve their capacity to become efficiently run businesses. The SEs will undergo extensive training and business planning, while the pilot SEs will continue to implement their business plans. SEBIs will continue to increase public awareness of social entrepreneurship and promote the SEs in the program.
Through the Jamaica National Foundation and USAID’s Social Enterprise Boost Initiative (SEBI) it is hoped that more businesses operating within the social enterprise will become more profitable and self-sustainable. At the end of the program Social Enterprise Jamaica will be set up to become the permanent provider of many of the current SEBI services.
- Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF)
The Tourism Enhancement Fund is designed to assist businesses in the tourism sector in accessing capital for goods and services. Businesses must demonstrate an investment of at least 50% of the request for financing. Investment may take the form of physical assets or financial capital.
A Maximum of JM$ 5M can be accessed at an Interest rate of 5% for 5 years. This facility is accessible through the Jamaica National Building Society and the EXIM Bank
- The Local Economic Development Support Programme (LEDSP)
Through the Social Development Commission (SDC), an agency of the Ministry of Local Government has an initiative called The Local Economic Development Support Programme (L.E.D.S.P). This programme provides technical support to community based MSMEs groups.
The technical offerings of this programme include, free business cards, training in business proposal writing, business coaching, networking and other services that aid businesses in achieving sustainability and capacity building.
- Voucher for Technical Assistance (VTA)
The VTA is a capacity development product designed to assist MSMEs in closing management gaps, thereby enhancing their ability to access financial support from approved AFIs.
Since its inception in May 2014, several SMEs have benefitted from this facility, resulting in J$103.8 million in loans as at November 2015.
It is expected that through this initiative, productivity and employment will be increased and the tax net will be widened, while individuals and families will see their standard of living improve.
Under the VTA project, a voucher is issued for a specific business support service (for example: business plans, financial statements and training), which the client may redeem at an approved Business Development Organization (BDO). The DBJ would pay 70% or the value of the voucher, while the client pays the balance. The MSME may then go to a bank to submit his/her loan application after receiving the business support service, if a loan is required.