Mobile Business Clinic registers 35 start-ups in MoBay

Jamaica Business Development Corporation officer Shomarie McLeggan registers a young entrepreneur during the Mobile Business Clinic visit in Montego Bay last week.

THE Mobile Business Clinic last week registered 35 start-up and existing firms in Montego Bay, St James.

The three-day visit was the first in a series of mobile clinics to be held across the island over the next 10 months. The second clinic is scheduled for three days in Westmoreland by the end of this month.

On completion of this pilot phase, the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), which is spearheading the initiative, hopes to have the project implemented by the end of 2015.

"A total of 78 documents were collected by the Companies Office of Jamaica," Corporate Communications Manager Keneisha Nooks told the Jamaica Observer. "These included renewing of businesses, company closures, registering of new companies, annual reports and changes in documentation including shares, directors and company secretaries."

The JBDC in partnership with the Ministry of Industry, Investment, and Commerce, the Companies Office of Jamaica, JAMPRO, the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office, and Bureau of Standards Jamaica, started the programme with the aim of improving the micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) sector.

Under the programme, MSMEs are provided with financial consultation, technology innovations, business advice, consultation and formalisation, logistics hub training, standards, certification, and business modelling.

Currently, it is estimated that businesses in Jamaica have a start-up failure rate of up to 80 per cent. This occurs as a result of minimal business development support, low capital funding and the mindset of creating quick profits instead of developing entrepreneurial skills after starting a business.

"We've had many businesses registering over the last few days because persons felt that Kingston was the only place to register their businesses," Nooks stated. "Having interventions like these really gets people to come out in their numbers."

Last week, more than 600 existing and potential entrepreneurs participated in different activities in Montego Bay's historic Sam Sharpe Square. However, most participants, according to Nooks, had a particular interest in the formalisation and registration of business process.

"Persons were asking why this wasn't done earlier, so then you realise that it was something that the community really wanted," she said.

In September, the JBDC secured $25 million in support of the initiative. As part of the programme, the JBDC seeks to increase awareness of business development services by facilitating small business formalisation, market access and entry and capacity building education.

Concurrent workshops and consultations were developed around the understanding and navigation of the business environment, along with practical teachings on how to operate a business. Individuals who registered their businesses also benefited from discussions, including the accessing of required permits, licences, protection of intellectual property, and export processes.

"In addition to decentralising business support services, the implementation of the MSME business clinic will be an important step to increase awareness of GOJ legislation that supports the sector," Nooks said.

Published Date: 
Wednesday, November 12, 2014