WASHINGTON—The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) says it is helping Jamaica promote innovation growth and entrepreneurship ecosystems by providing a US$50 million conditional credit line.
The Washington-based financial institution on Tuesday said that the first individual operation for US$25 million will promote sustainable and robust growth among startups and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Jamaica.
“Jamaica’s productivity growth and innovation challenges requires a long-term vision of identifying and promoting high-growth potential opportunities, as well as flexibility to accommodate to the rapidly changing technological environment that is affecting the private sector globally,” the IDB said.
It said the project aims to promote innovation and productivity among established MSMEs with high growth potential; promote sustainable growth in scalable startups; and create a sustainable pipeline of high-growth potential startups.
“This will allow MSMEs to use inputs and factors in more productive ways (improving productive processes, creating new products, and adopting more efficient technologies, among others), enabling faster growth,” the IDB said.
Therese Turner- Jones, IDB country representative for Jamaica and general manager of the Country Department Caribbean Group (CCB), said “new businesses make an economy more vibrant.
“This injection of funds will help build Jamaica’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, unleash the creativity of the people, and contribute to economic growth as well as improve the lives of Jamaicans,” she said.
The IDB said the beneficiaries of the project will be MSMEs, scalable startups, new startups with high growth potential and entrepreneurs with sustainable business ideas, “who will receive technical and financial support to accelerate operations and technical assistance to scale-up services (outreach to markets, mentoring and governance, among others).”
The IDB said the program will capitalise a Sidecar Fund providing matching grants for ventures that are supported by “an angel investor,” according to the Development Bank of Jamaica Limited Venture Capital and Private Equity Investment Policy.
The Venture Capital Fund will be managed by a Fund Management Firm, selected through a competitive process, the IDB said.
In addition, it said the project will benefit public and private institutions that conform the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, such as incubators, accelerators, business support accelerators, academia and technological transfer offices, “that will be strengthened with the program.”
The IDB said the program – which will involve innovation in emerging technologies such as Manufacturing 4.0, electronics, artificial intelligence, big data, cyber security and biotechnology, among others – will be prioritized, as well as sub-projects with potential to solve problems in areas such as climate change and gender inclusion and diversity.