Growth & Jobs | Women entrepreneurs encouraged to expand their businesses


THE STEADY movement of women into managerial positions in corporate Jamaica is proof that women are great bosses, but there are concerns that some women are averse to taking the risk to start their own businesses, and, when they do, more often than not, it is on a small scale.

Among those who have made this observation is specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Kayla Grant, who pointed out that the bank has developed initiatives to assist women in business. She said that, in Jamaica, the IDB, through partners such as the Development Bank of Jamaica’s (DBJ) BIGEE programme, is providing women entrepreneurs with grants, technical assistance, mentorship, and digital vouchers that give them access to support in setting up their websites and other facilities online to grow their businesses

What the data has revealed is that women-owned firms tend to be small, low in productivity, and they also tend not to access financial and technical assistance as much as male-owned firms,” she said.

Grant’s observation was highlighted during the second staging of the Medium, Small, and Micro Enterprises Business Roadshow in Montego Bay, St James recently. Several of the women business owners declared that they had funded their businesses with their own money or with funds generated from family and friends. One of the aims of the roadshow, which was hosted by the Ministry of Industry, Investment, and Commerce in partnership with the IDB, was to connect business owners with financial institutions that can assist them with growing their businesses.

The business owners also had access to 20 agencies under the ministry that could assist them with every aspect of registering and maintaining a successful business.

Montego Bay-based designer and artist Sharon Cunningham started her business seven years ago. While the COVID-19 pandemic did create some challenges, it continues to be a success. She pointed to the fact that her business so far has been self-funded, but, given its expansion, she is now ready to consider other financing options, in order to achieve the overall vision for her company.

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