Thursday 9 April, 2020

$10m in grant funding to benefit 400 small entrepreneurs in St James

Beneficiaries of the St James Municipal Corporation’s Local Economic Development (LED) Programme listen during a training session at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre in St James on Thursday.

Beneficiaries of the St James Municipal Corporation’s Local Economic Development (LED) Programme listen during a training session at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre in St James on Thursday.

The St James Municipal Corporation has doubled its support to small entrepreneurs in the parish under the Local Economic Development (LED) Programme.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the Corporation, Gerald Lee, said $10 million is being spent this fiscal year to assist some 400 persons to push-start business operations.

Approximately $5 million was allocated under the programme during the last fiscal year, which benefited 200 entrepreneurs.

Lee was speaking to JIS News at the 2019 LED programme launch and training session for grantees at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre on Thursday.

He noted that the LED programme, which is an initiative under local government reform, seeks to engage persons in economic activities that can allow them to improve their livelihood and take care of their families, and ultimately empower communities.

Lee said that persons will be provided with grants of up to $50,000 each, to develop a small business, and they will be monitored to ensure that the ventures are sustained.

“We have a local economic development officer who monitors the programme and ensures that it is workable, and that the persons who are making applications for these grants really qualify. If they are going to go into chicken rearing, we ensure that they provide the infrastructure and then we provide them with the working capital to start the business,” he said.

Montego Bay Mayor and Chairman of the municipal corporation, Homer Davis, encouraged the beneficiaries to commit to growing their businesses through profit retention.

“If we can empower our people, then you will realise your dreams of taking care of yourself and taking care of your children…  This initiative is one for you because we want to see an improvement in your living standard.

“So… I want you to grab it with both hands,” he said.

During the session, the beneficiaries were educated on how to plan for business success, budgeting, profitability, and the benefits of developing business partnerships.

The LED programme, which is being implemented by the Local Government and Community Development Ministry, is aimed at establishing economic activities/enterprises in communities across Jamaica; support small and micro enterprises and enabling them to attain financial viability and/or expand their businesses; and positively impact the gross domestic product (GDP).

Under the programme, local authorities are expected, in collaboration with local stakeholders and relevant national external partners, to formulate and execute appropriate strategies and programmes that can impact job creation and poverty reduction.

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