Thursday 28 May, 2020

PSOJ podcast equips SMEs to survive financial strain amid COVID-19

Marc Gayle, Financial Analyst and CEO of TCP Tings is among several speakers who shared their perspectives in the second podcast.

Marc Gayle, Financial Analyst and CEO of TCP Tings is among several speakers who shared their perspectives in the second podcast.

Though the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic threatens to decelerate the journey to a Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) inclusive economy, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) Access to Finance Facilitation Panel (AFFP) remains committed to propelling SME sector growth during this time.

The PSOJ AFFP has introduced "COVIDCastJA: Business", as a means of equipping SMEs to survive the present realities.

COVIDCastJa: Business is a weekly Facebook Live Podcast aimed at addressing concerns and unearthing opportunities for SMEs during this crisis.  

As COVID-19 continues to develop, it restricts SMEs’ supply chain, limits their business operations and erodes their cash flow. The threat of indefinite closure is a harsh reality for many of these business owners. However, the PSOJ AFFP is confident that with the right tools, many SMEs can recover from the economic fallout.

It is this promise that led to the inception of COVIDCastJA: Business. With the mindset that SMEs are key drivers of the economy and need to be supported during this global pandemic.

Chief PSOJ AFFP Project Executive, Rochelle Cameron

The Facebook Live Podcast was launched on Thursday, March 26, with host, Chief PSOJ AFFP Project Executive, Rochelle Cameron who sat down with PSOJ AFFP Project Architect, Nevada Powe.

They encouraged SMEs to make bold requests of their bankers, by first concretising their business story and becoming familiar with it.

For the second episode, Marc Gayle, Financial Analyst and CEO of TCP Tings; Kevin Foreman; SME-Country Relationship Specialist at JMMB Bank Jamaica; Dr Vinette Notice; Assistant Vice President, Adjudication and Training at First Global Bank; Kaysia Johnson Vaughan, Senior Manager, SME Professional Partnerships for Caribbean North & Central at Scotiabank Jamaica and Tanya Allgrove, Assistant General Manager SME Banking, Corporate, Commercial and Consumer Banking Division at National Commercial Bank met to discuss Bankers’ COVID-19 Financial Relief Packages.

Each banker spoke to the various relief programmes and products that are being implemented at their institutions to provide SMEs with the requisite finances to meet their business and personal needs. There were a multitude of offerings presented, ranging from moratoriums and payment holidays to training programmes with experts and improved SME Resource Centres.

Gayle balanced the conversation as he spoke personally to his perspective and that of his SME counterparts in this time. He highlighted that many are plagued with uncertainty and are unsure of how to approach what’s happening.

However, both Gayle and the bankers emphasised that the shift in the marketplace creates opportunities for bankers and SMEs to move the conversation beyond relief packages and into the territory of business support and partnership.

This dialogue, and the others to come, forms a part of the PSOJ AFFP’s mandate to equip SMEs with the relevant resources to improve their business operations, for a more productive economy.

To this end, the work of the PSOJ AFFP started in July 2019 and has birthed the collaboration of all the players in the SME ecosystem to support the growth of the sector through revised products, programmes and policies. This work and dialogue will continue as episode three of COVIDCastJA: Business covers managing the workforce during COVID-19.

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