Jamaica’s creative industries represent a reservoir of untapped potential that needs to be fully exploited and developed as an important avenue that can drive Jamaica’s export economy, contribute to job creation and generate additional foreign exchange revenues for Jamaica. To realize this goal, it must now become an imperative on the part of policy makers, to fast-track the monetization/capitalization of Intellectual Property (IP) to level the playing field for IP to be used as a bankable asset to propel growth and development in the creative industries.
EXIM Bank has been one of the strongest proponents for the development and structuring of Jamaica’s rich creative economy as a space where innovators can realize the true benefits from their creations and use their IP portfolio to raise capital or access financing. The Bank stands behind its conviction that the creative industries, as a non-traditional sector, has the strongest potential to contribute to Jamaica’s economic well being, if supported and exploited in the appropriate way. The views put forward by international industry proponents that, “…human creativity is the ultimate economic resource” and that, “The industries of the 21st century will depend increasingly on the generation of knowledge through creativity and innovation”, is one that is strongly espoused by the EXIM Bank.
It is with this vision and understanding that the Bank continues to support the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) and collaboratively, the umbrella organization for IP, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in their quest to move the local industry forward. This has led to the Bank playing a major role as a leading sponsor of the recently concluded WIPO/JIPO Regional Conference on Intellectual Property & Creative Industries, which is expected to serve as a catalyst for this development to take place. Additionally, the Bank also supported the inaugural staging of the Authentic Jamaican Design Competition by making available concessionary loans to the winning innovators. Winners in each of the four categories of the craft competition were given the opportunity to access loans to a maximum amount of J$2.0 million at a reduced interest rate of 9.5% to be repayable over a period of 18 months.
Being cognizant of the tremendous potential of this industry as a significant growth stream for Jamaica’s export economy, the Bank has been steadfastly working to develop a policy framework to assist more members operating in the creative industries. This has led to a deepening of the Bank’s engagement with JIPO and other stakeholders to advance the programme of developing a system of valuing IP. This is expected to pave the way for IP to be used as collateral to facilitate the financing of local creators and other members in the industry. In commenting on this development, Lisa Bell said, “This is an important requirement to moving the industry forward as we recognize that traditional collateral may not be available and a very clear appreciation and understanding of the value of our client’s Intellectual Property, be it, Brand Name, Logo, Music Production, Art, Books, Software, Inventions et al, is critical to leveling the playing field”. She further reiterated that EXIM has always supported and facilitated the development of Jamaica’s creative industries as it offers great potential for Jamaica’s economic development, particularly because of our innate talent, our competitive advantage and the strengths of brand Jamaica.
Undoubtedly, the creative industries is a highly prospective sector that can generate significant wealth and export earnings for Jamaica once the appropriate environment is created to shape, direct and protect these industries.