A $50 million Conditional Credit Line has been extended by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for Investment Projects for Boosting Innovation, Growth and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems Programmes and First Individual Loan. The first individual operation is for $25 million and will promote sustainable and robust growth among startups and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Jamaica.
The Conditional Line of Credit for Investment Projects (CCLIP) operation in Jamaica seeks to promote growth and productivity by fostering innovation in the private sector, recognizing and strengthening the eort of the Development Bank of Jamaica as a catalytic actor in the innovation space in Jamaica.
This program is a scale up of a current Compete Caribbean Technical Cooperation as well as an IDB Lab ongoing programme. It comes at a time when the world is amid a global COVID -19 pandemic and the economic forecasts for countries and businesses alike are gloomy. Amidst plunging stock markets, lowered oil prices, travel restrictions and challenges to access markets, goods and services there are projections of an economic pandemic and the potential for a global recession as rolling recessions are anticipated.
MSMEs are likely to be amongst the most vulnerable of business enterprises as they struggle to weather out this crisis as they will face a host of challenges to keep and scale their businesses during this difficult time.
The targets include cultivating, accelerating and supporting ventures with potential at all stages: from an early idea phase, to start-ups with high growth potential, to established SMEs that face challenges to innovate and grow, as well as high growth potential MSMEs. It encourages them to use inputs and factors in more productive ways such as improving productive processes, creating new products, and adopting more efficient technologies thereby enabling faster growth.
The aims also include a trigger for greater innovation in emerging technologies such as, artificial intelligence, big data, cyber security and biotechnology. Subprojects with potential to solve problems in critical areas such as climate change and gender inclusion and diversity will also be promoted.
The vision will see the introduction of new productivity-enhancing practices in Jamaica such as open innovation, as well as features to crowd-in private sector investment to support entrepreneurs and start-ups namely the use of a sidecar fund for angel investors, and the creation of a venture capital fund. These features have been designed to make sure that public sector investments to support entrepreneurs and start-ups are aligned with real market demand.
Beneficiary entities will also receive technical and financial support to accelerate their operations and scale-up services. This includes mentoring and capacity building to promote enhanced marketing, and governance, among others. Other business enablers such as incubators, accelerators, business support accelerators, academia and technological transfer actors will be further strengthened under the programme.