Latin America and Caribbean

Jamaica New Economy Project (NEP)

Client: United States Agency for International Development

2000-2004, SEGIR GBTI

This project improved the business environment for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Jamaica through providing training, technical assistance, and promotional support to private service/product providers and government agencies targeting the SME sector. The NEP approach found, packaged, and implemented deals with local companies and organizations, acting as "angel investors" by helping clients define their business needs and providing implementation and limited financial support. NEP focused on three areas: reducing business constraints, improving company skills, and increasing SME access to new financial products and services. NEP worked intensively to improve skills in over 400 smaller firms and offered new financial products and services to over 6000 new microenterprises and small businesses in Jamaica working in high technology, finance, export, trade, and education.

Highlights included:

  • Under the SME Business Skills Improvement Program (the Coupon Project), NEP promoted business support services to Jamaican companies to boost their business competencies. NEP structured an SME incentive program, through which businesses could purchase hardware and software from participating vendors and receive a discount coupon valued at US$387. This coupon could be used to pay for IT training courses offered through NEP, ranging from everyday computer applications to sophisticated business and financial management software.
  • For a micro-credit company, NEP provided business development assistance, including Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis, development of a strategic plan and procedures manual, IT loan management, and market assessment. The company was expected to distribute up to 7500 micro loans as a direct result of this technical assistance.
  • For a private bank, NEP developed a business expansion plan targeting SME clients, allowing the bank to extend operations to Montego Bay and benefiting 500 SME clients with new financial products.
  • For a private investment company, NEP provided short-term technical assistance to SMEs in marketing financial products, benefiting 200 SME clients.