Thursday 27 February, 2020

JMMB Bank and We Inspire host all-female SME seminar

A section of the largely female audience is seen here forming a circle of success ahead of the presentations during the recently held (January 9) small and medium -sized enterprise (MSME) development seminar, hosted by JMMB Bank in partnership with We Inspire Women, at ATL Audi Showroom in Montego Bay.

A section of the largely female audience is seen here forming a circle of success ahead of the presentations during the recently held (January 9) small and medium -sized enterprise (MSME) development seminar, hosted by JMMB Bank in partnership with We Inspire Women, at ATL Audi Showroom in Montego Bay.

JMMB Bank partnered with We Inspire Women for the second staging of its small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) development seminar on January 9.

The event, which took place at ATL Audi Showroom, saw the all-female audience of entrepreneurs, drawn from a range of industries, all decked out in red. 

The invitation-only event was open to women business owners registered for the We Inspire brunch slated to take place on January 26 in Montego Bay.

This partnership with JMMB Bank and We Inspire aims to impart proven strategies that will bridge the gap between the failures and the successes of companies.

“We believe that the process of being an entrepreneur is even more daunting when the knowledge base is absent; as such, this partnership is designed to bridge that gap between failure and success in entrepreneurial companies, through initiatives like this SME development seminar, led by JMMB.  Through partnerships like these, I believe we can embark on a journey towards the sustained success of businesses,” said Cortia Bingham-McKenzie, We Inspire Ltd. Founder and CEO.

In keeping with the tone of partnership, which was set for the event, Shani Duncan-Falconer, JMMB’s senior corporate manager, SME Resource Centre, used the occasion to highlight several supporting services and the expertise available to these budding entrepreneurs, through the recently-launched JMMB SME Resource Centre and JMMB Bank.

Duncan-Falconer, in her presentation, detailed a range of critical resources that these entrepreneurs could access to assist them in growing their business, through the SME centre, including financial opportunities, through grant funding; expertise in business plan writing, creation of financial statements;  access to other resources, such as the Branson Centre’s online learning platform and mentoring.    

Shani Duncan-Falconer (right), JMMB’s corporate manager, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) Resource Centre, is caught in an animated discussion with participants at the small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) development seminar hosted by JMMB Bank and We Inspire Women at ATL Audi Showroom in Montego Bay.

Additionally, Duncan-Falconer underscored a few fundamental financial principles that she noted were critical to establish, in the initial stage of their businesses, as these would form a solid foundation for financial management going forward.

“Separate your personal and business account, so that you can make the process of preparing financial documentation for your business easy, especially later when applying for a loan from a financial institution, and to ensure accurate recordkeeping.”

She also reminded them of the financial principle of paying yourself first and setting business SMART goals so that you can measure your success and make adjustments throughout the process.

Lavern O’Hara Jenkins, taxpayer education officer at the Montego Bay Revenue Centre, Tax Administration of Jamaica (TAJ), detailed the types of taxes that entrepreneurs and corporations would be required to pay, provided their companies were earning above the respective tax threshold, namely: income tax and salary deductions, such as National Housing Trust (NHT), National Insurance Scheme (NIS), Education Tax, HEART and Pay as You Earn Taxes, for employees.

O’Hara Jenkins emphasized to the all-female entrepreneurs that good recordkeeping is key to helping them to not just monitor their operations, but to keep track of deductions, to file and validate taxation information and prepare financial statements.

She also introduced the audience to Tax Administration’s eServices, a digital platform to allow businesses to access several services of the TAJ. Noting eServices is designed to promote ease of doing business, increase efficiency and make monitoring of taxes easy.

During her presentation on Scaling Your Business with Marketing, Amanda Spencer, director, Elite Events, walked the attendees through a few critical steps in determining the marketing tools and techniques best suited for their businesses, while sharing pointers for marketing success. 

“You are the most important part of your marketing,” Spencer declared to the female entrepreneurs, underscoring the importance of personal branding and being a consummate professional at all times.

She further shared marketing tips for the participants to consider in scaling for their success, the first being utilization of social media to create value-added content for their audience. Spencer also shared the value of ensuring your audience had a good experience, noting reviews and testimonials were often used by potential buyers, especially online to determine a purchase.

The marketing expert, however, stated that a mix of marketing strategies including off-line strategies is necessary. The specific mix of marketing strategies, she shared is influenced by one’s audience, underscoring the need to know your audience as a business owner.

The event also gave the participants an occasion to practise their elevator pitch and network with other like-minded individuals, so that further opportunity for linkages may be established. 

The seminar saw the approximately 40 participants in attendance gaining insight about opportunities in partnering for growth; practical advice about scaling one’s business to maximize efficiencies, using marketing, and a breakdown on how taxes affect microbusinesses. 

The collaboration in hosting the SME development seminar is in line with the company’s financial inclusion and integrated financial partnership approach.   As part of its strategy, the JMMB Group intends to add value to its SME clients through the provision of the financial partnership, resources, innovative financial solutions and a network, throughout these businesses’ life cycles; thereby, providing necessary support for the growth in the sector and filling the gaps that currently exist in the financial sector.

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