Thursday 13 August, 2020

MSMEs in productive sector to benefit from WOCAP Fund

WOCAP Fund will initially focus on MSMEs in the agriculture, manufacturing and community-based tourism sectors.(iStock image)

WOCAP Fund will initially focus on MSMEs in the agriculture, manufacturing and community-based tourism sectors.(iStock image)

The recently launched WOCAP Fund will facilitate working capital and medium-term financing for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Jamaica's productive sectors.

The fund will seek to establish partnerships with existing government and multi-lateral programmes that have primarily focused on providing technical assistance to strengthen entrepreneurial development.

In Jamaica as well as the rest of the Caribbean, it has been widely reported that access to working capital financing is still a major constraint that MSMEs face.

The fund, therefore, seeks to allow governments, multi-lateral institutions, private equity and investment firms to channel financing to MSMEs that will result in greater gender inclusion, poverty reduction and job creation.

WOCAP Fund, which will initially focus on the agriculture, manufacturing and community-based tourism sectors, will be an integral component of the associated online integrated financing platform, WoCapFinSuite.

Businesses will be able to receive funding based on their receivables and projected cash flows via the platform, which has the capability to track invoices/receivables as well as to assist them in managing their finances by utilising its online record-keeping feature.

The platform can be linked to point-of-sale (POS) systems and smartphones with POS capabilities as well as debit cards that could be used to pay expenses.

“One of the major issues that affect micro and small businesses from accessing financing is that they can't present financial information for analysis,” said Donald Charles, managing director of WOCAP Fund.

“Consequently, the online bookkeeping solution will greatly assist them to keep track of their finances in a very efficient way and, at the same time, provide us with the information needed to monitor the business and to mitigate the related financial risk.”

Another benefit to users will be the Mastercard Debit Card, available through Alliance Payment Services.

Lennox Robinson, CEO of E-Payment Group Limited / Alliance Payment Services, said the WOCAP MSME Business Card will play an important role in bringing previously unbanked MSMEs into the formal financial infrastructure based on the WoCapFinSuite’s integration with the

This card will allow business operators to receive their funding in a convenient and easy way.

“We can create financial records for these businesses,” added Charles. “We also think that the opportunity exists to involve the young children of these MSME owners who may not be savvy enough with the use of the technology to provide support to their parents.”

In addition to Charles, who has participated in the Harvard Business School Executive Education Alumni Program, the Board of Directors of WOCAP Fund comprises Wayne Dass, CEO of Caribbean Information and Credit Rating Services Limited (CariCRIS); Dr Christopher Malcolm, Secretary-General, Jamaica International Arbitration Centre Limited, a law lecturer at UWI Mona and former British Virgin Islands Attorney General; and Jamaican corporate executive Winston Hayden, who has over 30 years in the public and private sector in financial management, project management and systems analysis.

Hayden is also a business consultant who has served as chairman of the Micro Investment Development Agency and has sat on the boards of more than 20 public and privately owned entities.

The fund’s advisors include Dr Bernard La Corbiniere, a regional expert in Economics, Fund Management and Banking, and Sylvain Leith, an international expert in Credit Risk Analysis and Financial Risk Management.

WOCAP FUND’s mission is to uplift Caribbean entrepreneurs to enable them to operate viable and profitable businesses in an ethical and sustainable way.

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