Development of Jamaica into a global logistics hub will prove a massive boost for micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSME) wishing to invest in, or grow their existing operations on the island, according to Anthony Hylton, Minister of Industry, Investment & Commerce.
Addressing the Jamaica Logistics Symposium in Kingston yesterday (Tuesday), Minister Hylton said that while the actions of the global capital markets may impact on MSMEs, the obstacles which firms face in trying to enter a market or industry are deliberately being tackled by the Government of Jamaica through the JLH initiative with support from the island’s international development partners, namely the World Bank and the IDB.
Urging this dynamic sector to embrace the Jamaica Logistics Hub, Minister Hylton said the GOJ was working hard to put the needs of the MSMEs at the forefront of the country’s future economic growth plan as encapsulated in the JLH.
He said: “The GOJ with support from our international development partners, namely the World Bank and IDB, are making special efforts to support MSMEs operating in Jamaica’s Logistics Hub to overcome the barriers to entry. Government will be facilitating economic activity related to the Logistics Hub Initiative in designated special economic zones (SEZ) spread across the country where industry clusters will be established linking large corporations and MSMEs. Together with supporting the development of supporting infrastructure for the Logistics Hub, the Government will focus attention on the users of the facilities.
“Those industry sectors targeted with potential for Jamaica’s Logistics Hub will be determined based on a detailed Industry analysis to be commissioned. This analysis involves a high-level benchmarking of Jamaica’s offerings against key international competitors based on current and future industry trends. The purpose of the exercise is to identify the most promising sectors, sub-sectors and business functions as potential targets for Jamaica’s Global Logistics Hub,” he said.
Small businesses are a critical aspect of the logistics industry in any part of the world and Jamaica will ensure that micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) entrepreneurs are included in the economic zones, and become an integral part of the global value chain.
Programs to support entrepreneurship and skills development will also be rolled out across the country. The Human Employment and Resource Training Agency (HEART) together with the National Training Agency and the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) will be leading entrepreneurship training and have developed entrepreneurship training modules which are currently being taught by the respective institutions.
“This is in keeping with the strategies for creating a culture of entrepreneurship as outlined in the GOJ’s MSME and Entrepreneurship Policy. As such, HEART is preparing a proposal for the full roll-out of entrepreneurship training, throughout all its programmes, which means that every HEART Trust trainee will be exposed to entrepreneurship skills development training. The institution is also looking at developing a curriculum for an introductory course for schools run by the Ministry of Education. It plans to offer training to Teachers’ Colleges, Universities etc., as well as employees within the private sector and public sector and will help to educate employers about the value of entrepreneurship, in an effort to encourage them to increase engagement with staff in a manner that will help boost the level of productivity within organizations as well as prepare existing employees to branch off in their own businesses.”
HEART and JBDC will be partnering with the MIIC in developing and rolling out this training initiative and getting buy-in from all key stakeholder organizations who also provide training, incubation, apprenticeships, internships and mentoring as well as knowledge transfer.