YEA puts forth policies for institutionalising support for MSMEs


YEA puts forth policies for institutionalising support for MSMEs

Business reporter

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

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As the impact of COVID-19 continues to deepen and affect already vulnerable groups in the economy, the Young Entrepreneurs Association (YEA) has proposed a suite of policy interventions that centres on institutionalising support for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) and their inclusion in sustainable economic growth and social transformation.

While the association hailed Government's intervention to assist the sector to rebound from the health crisis, it indicated that they were not adequate enough to build the resilience and enable the recovery needed to restore the fortunes of the economy.

To this end, one of the proposed policies includes greater inclusion of players from the MSME sector in decision-making bodies and boards across the Government.

“More inclusion in decisions will ensure that all factors are considered, providing a win-win position, improving the probability of success of Government projects and ensuring full cross-sectorial benefits realisation. It is recommended that consideration be given for the leadership of entrepreneurial support associations to be given a seat on the boards of the Development Bank of Jamaica, Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Tourism Linkages Council, Jamaica Promotions Corporation, and all other relevant entities where decisions will impact MSMEs and entrepreneurship within communities,” the policy paper stated.

Furthermore, YEA contended that more targeted interventions and programmes should be established to assist female entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs in the disabled community, and entrepreneurs over 35 years old.

“Supporting female entrepreneurs is tantamount to supporting social transformation, education and the community. Studies also show that female entrepreneurs start their businesses with lower capital than men but were more likely to succeed in business with greater access to disposable financial or social capital. Additionally, more entrepreneurship grants and financing should be channelled through the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities to assist with execution of accelerator programmes and other entrepreneurship training,” it stated.

According to YEA, the Government should also consider instituting incentives to promote and stimulate participation of MSMEs in the formal sector, particularly as it relates to housing.

“It is well known that home ownership allows access to equity which allows access to finance. However, many entrepreneurs do not own a home which limits their access to home equity loans which is often a source of financing in the very early stages of business,” YEA stated.

The association proposed that through the National Housing Trust (NHT), special mortgage rates, grants or housing allocation in NHT schemes should be implemented for registered entrepreneurs.

At the same time, given the impact of COVID-19, where many businesses were forced to operate from home, YEA appealed to the Government to revise the restrictions as it relates to private rental agreements, which often limit individuals from conducting business from their home location.

YEA's President Cordell Williams-Graham said that the association stands ready to support and lend its efforts to the Government and other relevant players in the private sector and international community in this regard.

“The significance of the MSME sector in driving economic growth and social transformation is indeed undeniable and is more relevant and important than ever before. We believe these recommendations are sound and will help to stimulate productivity and investment among MSMEs, improve accuracy in gross domestic product measurement, provide a platform to embolden confidence among MSMEs and empower businesses to recover in the short term while building the resilience required to crisis-proof the MSME sector, and by extension the economy for the long term,” she said.

The Young Entrepreneurs Association is a non-profit voluntary organisation which was established in 2006 under the patronage of the Jamaica Employers Federation. The YEA focuses on building the capacity and capability of entrepreneurs by providing the ultimate community across Jamaica. It currently has over 70 active members and a network of 200 entrepreneurs.

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