The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) is encouraging registered medium-sized Jamaican businesses to apply for grant funding under its Innovation Grant Fund (IGF).
Targeted are entities that are looking to introduce or expand innovative processes, products and/or services.
The IGF is a product that is offered under the Boosting Innovation, Growth and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems (BIGEE) Programme.
Recently, the DBJ relaunched the Fund, through which registered medium-sized Jamaican businesses can access an innovation grant of up to $20 million, which is an increase from the previously allotted $14 million.
A release from the DBJ said that persons have up to June 20 to complete the application procedure online at thinkbigee.com. The process involves the submission of an expression of interest.
Owners of medium-sized businesses that meet the requirements (pass the concept stage) will have access to a cadre of business consultants to assist in completing the writing of the full project document.
“So, initially, you give us a brief idea of what your innovation is going to be – what it is, what kind of impact it can have, what is the budget, how would you execute… who is the team etc,” BIGEE Project Manager, Christopher Brown said.
“We recognise, in the past that the type of design of the projects that we were getting were not up to the standard that we wanted, so we are now allowing these applicants to get access to service providers, consultants, who will help them to write the projects.
“So, in addition to giving the money to implement the project, we are giving access to services to write the proposal,” Brown said.
He informed that successful applicants will have access to a grant to cover 70 per cent of the overall project, with the applicants putting up the remaining 30 per cent as counterpart contribution.
“The effort is really about creating new products that can add greater revenue to these businesses,” he noted.
Brown outlined that the grant product is designed to support medium-sized entities that have been registered for a minimum of three years, are generating annual earnings of between $75 million and $250 million, and have boards of directors in place.
In addition, the project should have no adverse environmental impact.
The project manager noted that innovation needs to happen to drive private-sector growth, emphasising that “they [entities] have to do something out of the box”.
He said Jamaica is ripe for entrepreneurship and the DBJ wants businesses to consider how they can create impact for their own business and the country.
“Jamaica will grow if the businesses in it grow, so we always want to encourage businesses to try and find new ways, new products, new services, so they are able to grow and impact the country,” Brown emphasized.
Since the IGF was introduced in 2021, the DBJ has approved six projects valued at $78 million.
BIGEE is a project financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and is executed by the DBJ with the vision to finance growth of MSMEs.
The initiative is a comprehensive undertaking aimed at building out entrepreneurs and stimulating greater innovation from MSMEs, as well as strengthening the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.