Gov't establishes COVID-19 small business grants to assist MSMEs

Gov't establishes COVID-19 small business grants to assist MSMEs

Thursday, May 21, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, says the Government has set aside $800 million for COVID-19 small business grants to assist micro small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

Shaw made the announcement while speaking at a webinar hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce of Jamaica, yesterday.

The webinar was hosted under the theme 'Creation of a 'new normal' - Getting back to business', at the ministry's St Lucia Avenue offices.

Shaw also encouraged MSMEs to adopt the ministry's business continuity plan, which is aimed at mitigating against risks and failures.

“What is of grave concern is how prepared our businesses are to utilise the digital mode of operation. COVID-19 has put a wrench in the operation of many local businesses. Many lack the business continuity plan embedded with the adaptation of technology that would allow for their continued profitability and longevity. Businesses now need to focus some resources in this area,” he said.

“MSMEs are the economic engine of Jamaica's economy and contributed $80.4 billion in revenue in 2018, accounting for 35 per cent of jobs,” he said.

“The measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 no doubt have had a serious impact on these businesses. So, even as we practise social distancing, and as the Prime Minister [Andrew Holness] slowly-reopens the economy, let us all support our small businesses,” Shaw added.

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