The Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) and the Honey Bun Foundation have announced the second iteration of a one-year Small to Medium Enterprises (SME) development programme aimed at stimulating growth in the country’s SME sector.
During the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing, President of the JMEA, Sydney Thwaites, stated, “I am delighted to endorse the second iteration of the SME Accelerator Programme. The programme will be guided by the Advisory Committee Model developed by The Honey Bun Foundation, which the JMEA will adopt. This initiative ensures that member companies, with 70 percent categorized as ‘small companies,’ have access to the expertise needed for expansion and job creation in Jamaica.”
The Honey Bun Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Honey Bun Limited, developed the Advisory Committee Model as part of its mandate to create various business empowerment models for SMEs to help them grow and thrive. The one-year program will focus on numerous initiatives to facilitate the development and growth of SMEs. This includes pairing qualifying SMEs with teams of expert advisors from various fields. The SMEs will follow the guidance of the experts for a period of 12 months, utilizing a strategic roadmap developed by the Foundation.
General Manager of The Honey Bun Foundation Nashauna Lalah, said at the signing, “This is how you effect real change in the sector-by collaborating. I am happy that having done a test model in 2023, the JMEA has seen the value of The Honey Bun Foundation’s Advisory Committee model and how it can benefit its members.”
Sydney Thwaites expressed his enthusiasm, saying, “I feel very strongly about my experience with the Honey Bun Foundation and what I saw in the methodology, the structure, the caring, the accountability. I think it’s the best process I’ve seen, and so I was very excited to get on board with the JMEA. I look forward to the JMEA being able to gain an extension of the foundation and ensure we carry it out in the spirit in which it was created.”
Executive Director of the JMEA, Kamesha Blake, said, “When we look at the structure of the programme, we see that it has great value and impact. Thus, it wasn’t a question of whether we would continue; rather, it’s a matter of how we can scale and encourage more members to sign on. As we progress through this cohort, we contemplate scaling even further because the more members we impact, the greater the opportunity for that multiplier effect, which is crucial for everyone. Small and medium-sized businesses are the heart and soul of our economy. If they succeed, so too does our economy and so I welcome all initiatives and measures that help SMEs realize their full potential”.
The SME Accelerator Programme is set to kickstart later this month and will match five JMEA member companies from four sectors—Beauty and Cosmetics, Food and Beverage, Digital Service Provider, and Construction. The goal is to upscale the SMEs, drive job creation, and increase economic activity.
Having mapped out the programme in 2022 through test studies, this is the third full cohort for the Foundation and the first for the JMEA. The Foundation continues its quest to have the model adopted by other Business Support Organizations so that more SMEs across the island can benefit not only by growing their business to profitability but also by grounding them in sound Corporate Governance practices.
The Jamaica Manufacturers & Exporters Association (JMEA) is Jamaica’s leading industry association, serving as the voice of exporters, manufacturers, service providers, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). We provide vital support to our members and the industry through advocacy, strategic partnerships, export services, research, capacity building, and access to finance. Our aim is to contribute to the growth and sustainability of Jamaican businesses and the economy.
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