DBJ’s BIGEE Programme gets $1.2 billion boost from European Union | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News | Loop News

The Boosting Innovation, Growth and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems (BIGEE) Programme, managed by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), has received a significant boost of over $1.2 billion (EUR7.4 million) from the European Union (EU).

The Government of Jamaica and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) signed the EU-funded Non-Reimbursable Financing Agreement for specific contribution to support the BIGEE Programme on Wednesday, May 25.

Before the symbolic signing of the financial agreement, Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke delivered the keynote remarks where he noted that the GOJ has a “dependable partner” in the European Union.

“For us to have the kind of economic growth that can support the kind of jobs, we need value-added private sector activity, which is all based on innovation.”

Marianne Van Steen, Ambassador/Head of Delegation, European Union in her remarks shared the same sentiments as Minister Clarke as she commended Jamaicans for being “innovative and enterprising” during the pandemic.

“The EU’s contribution of a EUR7.4 million grant (approximately 1.2 billion Jamaican dollars) over a five-year period will complement the existing US$25 million loans being provided to the Government of Jamaica by the Inter-American Development Bank within the framework of the BIGEE Programme. In this regard, I am pleased to note that the loan component of the programme has so far achieved encouraging results. Notably, the distribution of go-digital vouchers has allowed entrepreneurs to leverage important tools and services to scale up operations,” she further added.

Carmen Madriz, IDB’s General Manager [Acting] for Caribbean Countries noted: “This grant will provide additional resources targeted at gender access, climate change and COVID-19 impact for established MSMEs, scalable start-ups and high potential start-ups within the programme.”

She added, “The grant will also benefit public and private institutions that support the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem such as incubators, accelerators, academia and technological transfer offices, with projects that show potential to solve problems in areas such as climate change, gender inclusion, and COVID-19 challenges.”

Anthony Shaw, Managing Director at the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) noted that the grants received will help to build the local MSME ecosystem. The BIGEE Programme is being implemented by the DBJ with the main objective of promoting sustainable and robust growth among start-ups and MSMEs in Jamaica.

The partnership with the EU and the IDB continues to be solidified through the continued ongoing support of the GOJ’s growth and development objectives.

The finalisation of the Non-Reimbursable Financial Agreement is a strong indicator of the commitment of the IDB and EU to the sustainable economic development of Jamaica’s MSME sector.