Wednesday 19 September, 2018

Culture Ministry gives grants to 20 small businesses

Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, presents a symbolic cheque for $1 million for 20 entrepreneurs living in and around the Blue and John Crow Mountains World Heritage Site.

Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, presents a symbolic cheque for $1 million for 20 entrepreneurs living in and around the Blue and John Crow Mountains World Heritage Site.

A group of 20 small business people operating in the vicinity of the Blue and John Crow Mountains Heritage Site in the parishes of St Thomas, St Andrew and Portland on Friday received grants from the Ministry of Gender, Culture and Entertainment and Sport to help with their businesses.

A cheque for $1 million to be divided in equal portions of $50,000 was presented to the recipients by Minister Olivia Grange at a function at the Jamaica Businnes Development Corporation (JBDC) Incubator and Resource Centre (JBDC) at Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston.

Minister Grange said she was “proud to honour the promise we made to these entrepreneurs at the second staging of the Blue and John Crow Mountains Economic Opportunities workshop in St Thomas in October 2017 to provide them with grant funding and business training.

“The selection of each recipient was based solely on the applications received and the quality of application. The beneficiaries who were between 25 and 70 years old are involved in agriculture, craft, commodities, gastronomy, focusing on local cuisine, and tourist attractions.

She added, “I hasten to say that the presentation this morning does not signal the end of this programme of assistance. The fact is, the Ministry will be working with the applicants who did not qualify this time round for grants. We will be taking them through more training to bring them up to speed.”

She announced also that the grant funding programme was being extended with the Economic Opportunities workshop series taken to other parishes.” Our immediate focus for the Financial Year 2018-19 is other Maroon communities in St Elizabeth and Trelawny,” she said.

Grange expressed the Ministry’s appreciation to the JBDC and Jamaica National Funded Social Enterprise Boost Initiative – (SEBI) programme which agreed to partner with the Ministry to provide training for the grant recipients in Basic Money Matters and Financial Literacy.

The JBDC will also provide follow-up training as well as monitor the progress of the various business ventures being undertaken by the recipients.

Minister Grange described the collaboration with the JBDC and SEBI as another example of public and private sector cooperation. She said it demonstrated social responsibility, particularly in relation to supporting the overall efforts of safeguarding the integrity of Jamaica’s first World Heritage Site, the Blue and John Crow Mountains, and assisting small businesses operating in its environs.