JSIF grant gives community business owners a boost – Jamaica Information Service

Shane Constable of Greenwich Town in Kingston is grateful for a grant from the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), which enabled him to purchase a freezer and water tank for his start-up goat farming business.

Mr Constable, who has a daughter, said he started with a goat, aiming to increase his livestock inventory, but faced challenges that set back his plans for growth.

He shared that a friend he discussed the venture with introduced him to a JSIF representative, who indicated that he might be considered for assistance under Phase II of the community development project. integrated (ICDP II).

“So JSIF…helped me with [the freezer] and [water] Tank [and gave me a] good start. So where I am now, I would like to extend with the [addition of] more goats [soon] to see if my business can take off in the right direction,” Constable said.

“I am doing a little construction work to try to earn some extra money, so that I can acquire more goats to expand the business, but I have to thank JSIF for the support which will go a long way in helping me achieve my goal, ” he added.

Mr. Constable was among three recipients of the first cycle of the ICDP II Business Development Grant Project who testified at the recent launch of the second cycle at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.

The grant project, which began in 2020, is funded by the government and implemented by JSIF.

It aims to build microenterprise capacity in target communities, create sustainable livelihoods and generate income.

This is in line with government policy of providing economic support to these entities to facilitate their contribution to Jamaica’s growth.

Beneficiaries in the first cycle of the grant project came from seven communities – August Town, Denham Town and Greenwich Town in Kingston and St. Andrew; Treadlight in Clarendon; and Anchovy, Mount Salem and Salt Spring in St. James.

Programmed provisions, which were deployed by JSIF with a budget of $20 million, included equipment and supplies and business development support, based on needs assessments and business development plans.

Priority areas for the business development support component included marketing and sales, financial and records management, and customer service.

Ian Brown, a photographer from Denham Town, said JSIF helped him acquire camera equipment.

His business, Ian Brown Photography, started in 2018 and is a growing name in the multimedia industry.

Mr. Brown’s services have been used by several established businesses and educational institutions and include birthdays and weddings.

“I am really grateful to JSIF for granting me a camera. What this will help me do is improve the quality of my work, so I’m really grateful,” he added.

August Town’s Stephaney Jackson, who has been designing molding and pottery since 2014, shared that she was selected for support following JSIF’s outreach to identify potential beneficiaries.

“I mold whimsical columns and flower pots, among other things. I was working on [construction] sites where I saw the workers making these objects, which fascinated me. I used to watch them and learned from them. That’s how I started in this business,” she explained.

Ms Jackson said she was grateful for JSIF’s support, noting that “they have helped me a lot, so I have to thank them”.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill (second from right), is in discussion with first cycle grantees of the Jamaican Government Integrated Community Development Project (ICDP II) Phase II Development Grant (left to right) Ian Brown, Shane Constable and Stephanie Jackson. The occasion was the recent launch of the second round of the Development Grant at The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston. On the right is the managing director of the implementing agency, the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), Omar Sweeney.

JSIF’s senior director of social development, Mona Sue Ho, said 515 applications were received from the initial seven communities during the first cycle, of which 115 grants were disbursed.

She said the number of applications submitted has increased significantly to more than 730 in the second round, while noting that the number of communities has increased to eight with the addition of Norwood to St. James.

Budget support has also increased to $50 million, which will be channeled to 232 microenterprises.

Ms. Sue Ho explained that the initiative is designed not only to support business ventures, but also to help with personal development.

“Thus, the activities aimed to encourage and enable [beneficiaries]improving what they have, enriching them and, of course, energizing them to continue to do well,” she said.

Ms. Sue Ho pointed out that a corporate social responsibility (CSR) component has been added to the second cycle, “to [the beneficiaries] recognize that [they] have an obligation to themselves, to the community, [and] to the government”.

“So within companies we are looking at how they can support their employees and their families, and that could be things like fun days or dinners. It is also important to connect businesses with charitable activities and projects in communities, as well as community events,” she stressed.

Ms. Sue Ho said the initiative also incorporates partnerships with key state entities and local organizations that JSIF has collaborated with while laying the groundwork to identify potential beneficiaries.

These include the Department of Health and Welfare, HEART/NSTA Trust, Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ), Social Development Commission (SDC), Jamaica Defense Force (JDF), the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and community organizations.

In terms of sustainability, Ms. Sue Ho said the focus is on formalizing commitments where this is not the case; ongoing monitoring to ensure businesses stay in business; and mentoring.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, who addressed the event, said the implementation of the grant project is expected to have a positive influence within the target communities, especially those that had been declared Special Operations Zones (ZOSOs). due to high levels of crime.

“Enterprise will replace unemployment and, as research indicates, the level of criminal activity will be reduced as increasing numbers of residents obtain better paying employment,” he noted.

In his remarks, JSIF Managing Director Omar Sweeney noted that grant support provided under ICDP II helps generate sustainable livelihoods in beneficiary communities.

“They don’t ask for alms [or] for the government or the private sector to constantly… help them. What they want is to be able to earn a living… [to make] an honest life… something they can use to improve their lives,” he pointed out.

The ICDP II Enterprise Development Grant Project supports the government’s drive to invest in micro and small enterprises as a means of enhancing job creation, income generation and contributing to overall national economic growth .

The initiative has been instrumental in helping people in vulnerable communities, especially those affected by violence.

The implementation of the second cycle is timely, given the economic fallout resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

About John A. Provost

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