BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — The Caribbean Export Development Agency has announced the award of over US$1million to firms and business-support organizations in Jamaica via its flagship program, the direct assistance grant scheme as part of the regional private sector development program funded by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund.
The announcement was made Aug. 8 at a press conference hosted by the Jamaica Promotions Corporation, whose vice president of export and market development said, “An announcement such as this cannot go unnoticed, as it represents a most powerful opportunity for Jamaican exporters to equip and tool themselves to propel themselves into their selected export markets.”
Minister of industry, investment and commerce, Anthony Hylton, expressed his appreciation on behalf of the government of Jamaica for the partnership and support that the European Union and Caribbean Export has extended to Jamaican businesses to become more competitive through the scheme.
He noted, “Access to finance remains a major challenge for the MSME sector, despite the reform efforts that have been carried out. MSMEs, especially creative industries, remain unable to access funding from the financial sector, which often proves a major barrier to their development. It remains the case that it is much easier to obtain a loan for consumptive items than for productive activity.”
The firms in Jamaica that have been awarded grants during this call for proposals largely represent the manufacturing and agro-processing sectors, accounting for 40 percent and 36 percent respectively.
“The distribution of funds to these key sectors is a clear indication that the Jamaican manufacturing and agro-processing sectors remain buoyant with a multitude of products on high demand from the international market. It is imperative however, that all sectors continue to take advantage of funding facilities that are made available whether from us or other organisations,” commented Pamela Coke-Hamilton, executive director of Caribbean Export.
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