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DBJ secures two more support partners for IGNITE

The Development Bank of Jamaica, DBJ, has engaged two new partners – Kingston Creative and TBR Lab – as business services intermediaries, BSIs, to channel grant funds to micro and small enterprises.

It takes the number of BSIs to seven and comes just ahead of the latest call for applications for the Innovation Grant from New Ideas to Entrepreneurship, which offers support up to $7 million to individual businesses and is now entering its fourth cohort.

The grant programme falls under DBJ’s Business Boosting Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems project, better known as BIGEE.

The BSIs not only function as a conduit for grant funds to successful applicants, but also provide coaching and mentorship, and project management support to them. DBJ expects that the wider the network, the greater the number of small and micro operators its IGNITE programme will reach.

In addition to Kingston Creative and TBR Lab, the DBJ has agreements with the Technology Innovation Centre at the University of Technology, Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre at the Scientific Research Council Jamaica, Jamaica Business Development Corporation, Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association, and Sister’s Ink Limited.

The IGNITE project has so far assisted more than 70 local businesses which have received grant funds totalling $250 million. The programme is funded under a US$25-million, five-year loan agreement between the Government of Jamaica and the Inter-American Development Bank.

DBJ, in its call for IGNITE applicants this year, is placing strong emphasis on projects or businesses in the areas of climate change and gender; tourism and creatives; manufacturing and agriculture; and technology – software and ICT.

Funding is available to businesses in two categories – up to $3 million for ideation and $7 million for commercialisation.

“We are encouraging innovators who have a concept and needs assistance in building out their ‘minimum viable product’ to apply through the ideation window for up $3 million. For businesses that have been in operation for over two years and are seeking to scale their operations, up to $7 million is available under the commercialisation window,” said BIGEE Technical Coordinator for Direct Business, Lu’Shana Cheddesingh, who has direct responsibility for IGNITE.

A minimum viable product, or MVP, is one that is deemed sufficient to attract early-adopter customers.

Cheddesingh said MSMEs with an innovative idea may reach out to any of DBJ’s seven business services partners for assistance in filling out an application for the IGNITE Cohort IV funding.

The applications close on December 16.

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