Canadian funded project results in significant employment in Jamaica

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KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jan 13, CMC – A senior official of the Social Development Commission (SDC) says an estimated 320 small businesses valued at more than J$657 million (One Jamaica dollar =US$0.008 cents) were established from April to December 2016 under the Local Economic Development Support Programme (LEDSP).
SDC executive director, Dr Dwayne Vernon, said hundreds of people had been employed as a result of the programme, which is being implemented by the SDC through Can$28.2 million (One Canada dollar =US$0.76 cents) in funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA),.
It is geared at stimulating sustainable economic development through the growth of community microenterprises.
Vernon told a JIS Think Tank earlier this week that the businesses have generated employment for 1,849 people, 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 thanJ$32.6 million of funding, while 95 have been submitted valuing over J$193 million.
“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,” Vernon noted.
SDC Director of Local Economic Development and Community Projects, Avril Ranger, said 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, 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.

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