(Information Extracted from the Sunday Gleaner dated October 6, 2013)
Complaints by operators of small- and medium-sized (SMEs) enterprises about the difficulties associated with accessing loans could soon become a thing of the past.
The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) has introduced a strategic programme to provide institutional strengthening to MSMEs.
The DBJ - the quasi-Government agency responsible for developing the microfinance sector - said the bank has created a voucher system aimed at helping unsuccessful small-business loan applicants to better prepare business-development plans.
General manager for risk and strategy management at the DBJ, Claudine Tracey, speaking at a Gleaner Editors' Forum last week, said the system will be ready for implementation in January 2014.
"We want to get to the SMEs not just in a general sense, but right at the point when they need it most, when they are accessing a loan," declared Tracey.
She said with the new voucher system, loans will no longer be denied on the basis of inadequate business plans without any follow-up or assistance for the applicants.
The system is designed to help unsuccessful small-business owners at the point of loan applications.
"What the voucher system does is instead of denying the loan, they (lenders) would offer a voucher to the SMEs to go to a business-development organisation to get the exact capacity development that they need," said Tracey.
She added that the vouchers would provide SMEs with the opportunity to get business counselling and hands-on training, "to draft business plans so that they can then return to the bank and stand a better chance at getting a loan".
The DBJ has proposed to pay at least 70 per cent of the cost for the business-development training to better prepare the small operators who will be required to fund 30 per cent.
DBJ is now at the final stage of the market consultation, but it expects that consultations will be concluded on November 30.