JMMB launches innovative programme to support women-owned SMEs Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The JMMB Group Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Resource Centre (JMMB SMERC) has announced the launch of its six-month long programme, dubbed, “PowHerful Women in Business”, which is geared towards women-led or owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), operating in Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago.

Women SMEs earning a revenue of over $15 million and in operation for at least a year are invited to apply to be a part of the first cohort of this programme. Applicants will be required to complete an application form via the company’s website at by August 11.

Shani Duncan-Falconer, senior corporate manager, JMMB Group SMERC notes: The PowHerful Women in Business initiative is designed to cater to the personal and business needs of female entrepreneurs and address some of the unique challenges that they face, by creating an enabling environment, and a gender-sensitive financial framework that empowers women to access the support and financing needed to scale and grow their businesses.”

This programme will facilitate the formation and deepening of business networks that can be leveraged by these female entrepreneurs to assist in taking their businesses to the next level, expanding into new markets and taking advantage of opportunities, she added.

Following the application process, SMEs will be shortlisted by an assessment committee, including subject matter experts and industry professionals. Businesses will be selected based on their growth potential and the JMMB Group’s ability to adequately support the businesses’ needs during the programme.

WSMEs who are shortlisted for this initiative will benefit from a needs assessment with an assigned JMMB SMERC officer to ensure a thorough understanding of the business needs and provide recommendations in line with these.

The intensive six-month programme will consist of coaching sessions, accountability partnering and workshops on a range of topics including marketing, personal branding, networking, strategic and business planning, accounting and financial management, among other key areas to drive business success.

Additionally, WSMEs will have access to mentorship and support to create and update business plans, marketing plans and financial statements.

The PowHerful Women in Business participants will also be able to take advantage of discounted services from a range of partners in the JMMB Group ecosystem including Transformational Life Solutions, Sisters Ink, Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ), Bureau of Standards and Young Entrepreneurs Association (YEA).

Duncan-Falconer shared, “These business advisory support services are designed to better prepare female entrepreneurs to scale their business and access financing opportunities. Additionally, through JMMB Group, they will have access to financing at special rates, three-month free rental of point-of-sale machines and special offerings on other financial solutions namely: saving, retirement solutions and insurance.”

In explaining the genesis of the programme, the JMMB Group exec outlined that this is another step by JMMB Group to address some of the perceived gaps in the financial sector in serving WSMEs, based on recent research findings and recommendations.

The 2021 Women’s entrepreneurship development assessment: Jamaica, funded by International Labour Organization (ILO), outlined gaps in access to gender-sensitive financial services and recommended the need to develop financial and business literacy programmes for women entrepreneurs in MSMEs, in a bid to increase their eligibility for financial loans from traditional banking institutions. Additionally, the report pointed to the lack of access to gender-sensitive business development support services to increase the number of women to formalise their businesses, build capacity and establish a model of women-focused business development support services.

Meanwhile, Jerome Smalling, CEO, of JMMB Bank notes that this latest programme follows on an agreement signed by JMMB Bank in 2021 with the IDB that would see it off-lending 20 per cent of the funds, or US$7 million loan, to back small businesses led by women.

Additionally, this complements another gender-based lending initiative dubbed ‘Her Wealth,’ created by JMMB Group in 2017; with a view to leverage the huge potential market opportunity for growth of this market segment, by catering to the unique financial needs of women and filling the gaps perceived in the financial sector.

This latest move is in keeping with the JMMB Group’s strategy to add value to its SME clients, through the provision of financial partnerships, resources, innovative financial solutions and a network, throughout these businesses’ life cycles, thereby, providing the necessary support for growth, and filling the gaps that currently exist in the financial sector.