While acknowledging that Jamaica is growing “very slowly” and that the figures “are not what we want,” Mr. Holness said he is confident that “we are on the right track.”
The Prime Minister was speaking yesterday, at the closing ceremony for the two-year pilot phase of the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) Innovation Grant from New Ideas to Entrepreneurship (IGNITE) project, and the launch of phase two at the Spanish Court Hotel, New Kingston.
“We are doing the things that are necessary… and we are not hoping for growth to happen organically. We are right there in the field with you doing the granular things such as actually identifying the creativity and the innovativeness and we are giving those support to develop (them) into entrepreneurism, which we are supplying with the resources to create an enterprise that will grow, employ people and create the prosperity that we need,” Mr. Holness said.
Lauding the DBJ for implementing IGNITE, which provides grant funding support for micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs), Mr. Holness emphasised the importance of the Government’s “instrumental” approach to business development.
This, he argued, as the private sector, of which MSMEs are a part, “is the engine of growth,” noting that the latter stakeholders are pivotal to driving higher levels of economic growth.
As such, the Prime Minister said it is incumbent on the Government to support entrepreneurs in expanding their businesses, as also innovators and start-ups, to create employment, an essential underlay to achieving growth.
Equally important, Mr. Holness added, is creating the linkages between sectors, citing agriculture and tourism as an example.
While highlighting the work of the Linkages Council, which has been established in the Ministry of Tourism, he underscored the need to ensure that businesses being developed with support from Government “are not just growing in silos, but they are linking together with each other”.
“Linkages are absolutely important to growth. So (we must ensure) that the raw material, which is the product of one enterprise, becomes the raw material for the other… and that is how we start to secure growth in the economy,” he added.
“Economic growth is not a mystery. It is a well-studied area and there is a suite of policies that are very well understood that have been implemented and tried across the world,” the Prime Minister said.
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