Site logo

DBJ wants more partners to serve small firms

The Development Bank of Jamaica, DBJ, wants to engage at least five more institutions to serve as business services intermediaries, BSIs, a move it says will automatically trigger an increase in the number of micro and small businesses it supports under the IGNITE programme.

Launched in October 2015, IGNITE, short for Innovation Grant from New Ideas to Entrepreneurship, allows local businesses with innovative concepts and processes to access up to $7 million in grant financing from the DBJ, the government’s wholesaler of business financing.

Funding is available through two windows, namely, ideation and commercialisation, and to date, three cohorts, or more than 70 local businesses, have received grant funds totalling $250 million under the programme.

But Christopher Brown, a project manager at DBJ, says the number of entrepreneurs receiving assistance could be increased if more BSIs support the programme.

Currently, the DBJ works 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 to channel grant funds to the entrepreneurs, provide coaching and mentorship, and project management support.

Brown says the ideal number of partners would be 10, or a doubling of the current number of BSIs.

“In order to expand the number of businesses we support, we need more. Ideally, we would like to see our pool of BSIs double. We are looking for companies with the correct structure and design to help grow these small innovative companies in their seed and growth stages,” he said.

Last week, the DBJ made a public call for interested developmental companies to join the programme. The deadline for application is July 29, 2022.

According to the DBJ, it is looking for solid developmental companies that are financially sound and that have been in the business of providing business support services to innovative start-ups. To qualify as a BSI, the business must also have a strong track record and must be tax-compliant.

IGNITE is part of the Boosting Innovation Growth & Entrepreneurship Ecosystems, BIGEE, project that is funded through a US$25-million, five-year loan agreement between the Government of Jamaica and the Inter-American Development Bank. BIGEE is aimed at building a robust early-stage ecosystem.

The call for BSIs comes amid a restructuring of the DBJ’s Voucher for Technical Assistance, VTA, capacity-building programme, which provides grants to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, MSMEs, to help close management gaps, thereby improving their chances of securing financing through approved financial institutions.

More than 2,000 MSMEs have already benefited from the VTA programme.

Read More


  • No comments yet.
  • Add a comment