DBJ refreshes supply chain grant

DBJ offices are located along Oxford Road in Kingston. (Photos: Karl Mclarty) THE Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), in extending more support for entrepreneurs and small businesses, said it is currently in the process of restoring a supply chain grant which it plans to offer very early in the coming year. According to Christopher Brown, program director of the bank’s Boosting Innovation, Growth & Entrepreneurship Ecosystems (BIGEE) project, the grant — an extension of the Jamaica Business Fund (JBF) — will help producers to strengthen sales as it ramps up local productivity, boosts exports, and helps them to tap into new markets. The intent, he said, is for all stakeholders, including primary, secondary and tertiary producers, to forge greater partnerships as they work together in creating a more efficient supply chain at the local level, especially in the wake of fallouts and the unavailability of raw material and goods since the novel coronavirus pandemic. “It is a grant that supports all of the players in the supply chain and through which the entire chain can access up to $45 million or just about US$300,000 in funds. This grant is expected to be ready by February 2023,” Brown said during a Jamaica Observer Business Forum held at the bank’s Oxford Road offices in Kingston recently. In previous cycles of the JBF, grants as low as US$20,000 and as high as US$350,000 could be awarded per supply chain application. The JBF was first introduced to the market in about 2016 as a component of the Foundations for Competitiveness and Growth (FCG) project that was established to promote economic development through inclusive growth in high-potential supply chains. The aim of the fund was to improve productivity for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the supply chain as it passes cost savings and increased output through to medium and larger buyers/anchor firms while down-streaming clients and enhancing the competitiveness of exports and import-competing products. Key to the design of the set-up is the recognition that anchor firms present significant capacity to multiply outputs and increase incomes for all actors in the supply chain. The idea is for anchor firms to work with a large number of SME suppliers and, through their co-investments with these suppliers, help accelerate the growth process of supply chains. This is in turn expected to drive increased market opportunities for the SMEs while allowing anchor firms to offer differentiated products of greater quality and value, thereby giving all market actors a competitive advantage. As we plan to continue similar interventions [of the JBF] the aim is to have at least five suppliers involved in a relationship,” Brown said, referring to Jamaica Broilers’ relationship with its chicken farmers as one of the model concepts it is looking to pattern. “Having a strong supply chain is what we are also trying to bring it to more industries,” he further stated. The DBJ, funded by the Government and international agencies, has since its inception offered support in the form of loans, grants, business support services and other technical assistance to MSMEs as it works to support various cycles of their development.Through the popular BIGEE program under which a number of the grants fall, including the Innovation Grant for New Ideas to Entrepreneurship (IGNITE) project, the entity has helped a large number of MSMEs to grow and scale up their businesses, providing significant access to financing while boosting productive capacity.The recent launch of a patent grant fund now seeks to unlock opportunities for inventors and entrepreneurs rs, granting them access to funding support from a newly established $100-million facility. “This is ideal for persons seeking support for their inventions, especially if they have invented or created something that is novel and would meet the requirements of a patent…we are here to provide support on that,” said Natalie D’Oyen, technical co. -ordinator of intermediary relations for the BIGEE programme. Under the facility a maximum of $4 million will be provided to successful inventors, researchers, and entrepreneurs to file patent applications locally and internationally for their products or inventions, with the fund providing coverage for up to 80 per cent of total project cost. Christopher Brown, BIGEE program director, makes a point to journalist at a forum held on December 7. Natalie D’Oyen, technical co-ordinator of intermediary relations, BIGEE programme.

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