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SDC Facilitates 320 Businesses Over Last Two Years
KINGSTON (JIS) -- The Social Development Commission (SDC) has supported the development of some 320 small businesses valued at more than $657 million over the last two years under the Local Economic Development Support Programme (LEDSP), creating employment for hundreds of persons. The programme, funded by the Government of Jamaica, is geared at stimulating sustainable economic development through the growth of community microenterprises. Addressing a JIS Think Tank on Tuesday (January 10), Executive Director of the SDC, Dr. Dwayne Vernon, informed that the businesses have generated employment for 1,849 persons, with 828 full-time, 788 part-time and 233 seasonal workers. “We have done 32 business fairs or expositions aimed at providing marketing opportunities, and 15 project proposals approved with a value of more than $32.6 million of funding, while 95 have been submitted valuing over $193 million,” he noted.
Some of the projects are the Wire Fence Agriculture Project in Trelawny; Summer Hill Naturals in St. James; Pond Side Poultry Rearing Farm, Woodsville Goat Rearing and Maryland Bee Rearing in Hanover; Eastern Westmoreland Straw Craft Cooperative and the Middle Quarters Eco-Tourism Project in St. Elizabeth; Glass Work Design, Aunty Nancy, Delectable Sweet Creation, and Spaldings Visionary Bee in Clarendon; and the Portmore Self-Help Disability Organization in St. Catherine.
“We are proud of the fact that we have been able to advance wealth creation through increasing employment and the growth in local businesses. We have strengthened our corporate-governance framework, increased income, and increased people’s participation in governance and self-reliance,” Dr. Vernon noted further.
Director of Local Economic Development and Community Projects at the SDC, Avril Ranger, noted that the main challenge is to “get these micro-entrepreneurs out of their small comfort zone and to take the next step and create networks… but we’re working on that”.
“The networks we’re talking about is them becoming suppliers and labour producers. The individual Jamaican, who has a talent, we can train them to transform their operation into a viable economic business,” she said.
The LEDSP builds on a range of existing MSME support programmes being undertaken by the Government to spur economic growth at the community level.
The programme provides support in the areas of capacity building, networking and building partnerships, direct support and the implementation of an incentive scheme. The SDC has also developed a database that serves as a hub for networking among the partners under the programme.
The capacity building enables grassroots communities to develop business plans and manage their enterprises effectively. Community development committees, development area committees, and parish development committees also benefit from these capacity-building initiatives.