Shane Constable from Greenwich Town in Kingston is grateful for the grant support provided by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), which enabled him to acquire a freezer and water tank for his fledgling goat-rearing enterprise.
Constable, who has a daughter, indicated that he started out with one goat, with a view to expanding his livestock inventory, but faced some challenges that delayed his growth plans.
He shared that a friend with whom he discussed the venture introduced him to a JSIF representative, who indicated that he could be considered for assistance under the Integrated Community Development Project Phase II (ICDP II).
“So JSIF… helped me out with [the freezer] and [water] tank [and gave me a] nice start. So, where I’m at now is I’d love to extend with the [addition of] more goats [soon] to see if my business can take off the right way,” Constable said.
“I do a little construction work to try and make some extra money so that I can acquire more goats to build up the business, but I have to thank JSIF for the support that will go a far way in helping me to realise my goal,” he added.
Constable was among three beneficiaries under cycle one of the ICDP II Enterprise Development Grant Project who gave testimonials during the recent launch of the second cycle at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
The grant project, which started in 2020, is funded by the Government and implemented by JSIF.
It aims to build microenterprise capacity in the target communities, create sustainable livelihoods and for income generation.
Recipients under cycle one of the grant project were drawn from seven communities – August Town, Denham Town and Greenwich Town in Kingston and St Andrew; Treadlight in Clarendon; and Anchovy, Mount Salem and Salt Spring in St James.
The programmed provisions, which were deployed by JSIF with a budget of $20 million included equipment and supplies and business development support, based on needs assessments and enterprise development plans.
Focus areas under the business development support component included marketing and sales, financial and records management, and customer service.
Ian Brown, a photographer from Denham Town, said JSIF assisted him to acquire camera equipment.
His business, Ian Brown Photography, started in 2018 and is a growing name in the multimedia industry.
Brown’s services have been used by several established businesses and educational institutions.
“I’m really thankful to JSIF for granting me a camera. What it will help me to do is improve the quality of my work, so I’m really grateful,” he added.
Stephaney Jackson of August Town, who has been doing moulding and pottery design since 2014, shared that she was selected for support following JSIF’S outreach to identify potential beneficiaries.
“I mould fancy columns and flowerpots, among other things. I used to work on [construction] sites where I’d see the workmen making these items, which fascinated me. I used to watch them, and I learned from them. So that’s how I started out in this business,” she informed.
Jackson said she was grateful for the support extended by JSIF, noting that “they helped me a lot, so I have to give thanks to them”.
JSIF’s Senior Manager for Social Development, Mona Sue Ho, said 515 applications were received from the initial seven communities under cycle one, of which 115 grant support provisions were disbursed.
She indicated that the number of applications submitted has increased significantly to more than 730 under cycle two while noting that the number of communities increased to eight with the addition of Norwood in St James.
The budgetary support also increased to $50 million, which will be channelled to 232 microenterprises.
Sue Ho explained that the initiative is designed to not only support business enterprises but also assist personal development.
Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Senator Aubyn Hill, who addressed the event, said that implementation of the grant project is expected to have a positive influence within the target communities, especially those that had been declared Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs) due to high levels of crime.
“Enterprise will replace unemployment and, as research indicates, the level of criminal activity will be reduced as increasing numbers of residents become more gainfully employed,” he noted.
In his remarks, JSIF’s Managing Director, Omar Sweeney, noted that the grant support provided under ICDP II is helping to generate sustainable livelihoods in the beneficiary communities.
“They are not asking for handouts [or] for the Government or private sector to constantly… help them. What they want is the ability to earn for themselves… [to make] an honest living… something they can use to better their lives,” he pointed out.
The ICDP II Enterprise Development Grant Project supports the Government’s thrust to invest in micro and small enterprises as an avenue to bolster employment creation, revenue generation, and contribute to overall national economic growth.