The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) mobilises resources and channels them towards socio-economic infrastructure and social services projects that benefit local communities. One of the initiatives driving this mandate is the GOJ ICD II Enterprise Grant. This grant has concluded two cycles, impacting nearly four hundred persons to $51.7M since July 2020. A third is in progress, benefiting participants with an average of $200,000.00 each.
The GOJ ICD II Enterprise Grant facility has some critical elements built in to encourage good business practices such as philanthropy, Innovation, Use of Technology and Social Media Marketing. Twenty (20) recipients from microenterprises demonstrated outstanding performances. JSIF rewarded them for their efforts at the Enterprise Development Grant Award Ceremony hosted at the AC Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica.
But it isn’t just money that the beneficiaries have received. Many ambitious entrepreneurs have proven that businesses often don’t fail from a lack of financial resources but rather support in other areas necessary to build a business. In addition to providing the ‘fish’, JSIF applied the adage of ‘teaching a man to fish’ by providing over six months of training, assistance with business registration, financial literacy, business development support, and psychosocial support.
Expert Support from Experts
The team that manages this project, led by the Managing Director, Omar Sweeney, are adept at what they do. But it is the recipients that are the real superstars, moving from very little to using what they have been given and multiplying that for impact.
The awarded funds empowered individuals and communities to take control of their financial futures and create lasting change. With approximately 50 beneficiaries per community, the impacted areas span Kingston, St. Andrew, Clarendon, and St James, including Denham Town, August Town, Greenwich Town, Treadlight, Mount Salem, Saltspring, and Norwood.
Let’s take K and M Meat and Eggs owner Sonj Tomlinson, who now supplies organically grown chicken and eggs to two meat shops and a supermarket, for example. The ‘chicken lady’ purchased three water tanks, several feeders, and a de-feathering machine from the funding she received. She praises the JSIF highly, stating that they are the first entity that had input in her business, which came at a time when she needed it. “It has helped me a lot,” she says. “Being a beneficiary of the programme has propelled me in the right direction for entrepreneurial success,” she continued.
Plush Photography and Media’s Chantol Spence, based in Salt Spring, has acquired a cutting-edge drone that has expanded her capabilities beyond basic photography. With the aid of JSIF, her business now offers a range of services to clients, including real estate and aerial photography for a tour company in Montego Bay. Her expertise in capturing footage from previously inaccessible parts of the island has made her the go-to photographer for specific projects. The drone’s advanced technology ensures that it does not interfere with radio signals from radio stations and Sangster’s International Airport. Chantol has also hired additional staff, creating employment opportunities and positively impacting another family’s life, all thanks to JSIF’s assistance. She expressed her appreciation for JSIF’s remarkable impact, stating that it helps individuals appreciate communities that are often overlooked. Chantol urged others to overcome their fears and take risks to progress, believing that “no risk means no reward.”
The Gift of Sticking To It
Receiving support from JSIF has had a significant impact on Farmer Tarrence Anderson’s livelihood. With the capital injection he received, he could purchase much-needed equipment for his farm, including a weed wacker, tanks, and a blower. These tools have helped him increase productivity and efficiency, improving his farm’s output. He has been able to generate more income for himself and his family, allowing him to reinvest in his business and contribute to the growth of his community. The support provided by JSIF has not only had a positive impact on Tarrence Anderson’s life but has also contributed to the economic development of his rural community.
In the case of Shane Parnther, a barber based in Denham Town, he procured chairs through the JSIF project. For Shane, having the proper equipment is essential for his business, and the chairs have allowed him to serve his customers better. Not only has this support helped Shane improve his business, but it has also contributed to the overall vibrancy of the community. Without the services of barbers like Shane, communities can lack a sense of cohesion and connection from having a central gathering place. Therefore, receiving support from JSIF goes beyond just the individual and has a ripple effect on the broader community.
What About You?
The success stories of beneficiaries such as Sonj Tomlinson, Chantol Spence, Tarrence Anderson, and Shane Parnther demonstrate the positive ripple effect of JSIF’s support on the individual and also on their families and communities. JSIF’s dedication to promoting socio-economic development through targeted investments is vital to Jamaica’s efforts to create a prosperous and thriving society.
Interested persons undergo an application process, administrative and field verification checks, a pitch and training, and then procurement and equipment disbursement. Visit jsif.org to learn how to apply.