KINGSTON, Jamaica – (JIS) Owners of small hotels and attractions in Jamaica can now benefit from a $100 million ‘Spruce Up Jamaica Entrepreneurial Fund’, which is a special program to provide technical assistance and financing for small properties and enterprises.
The main purpose of the program, which is the latest initiative by the Ministry of Tourism, in partnership with the JN Small Business Loans Limited, is to undertake product enhancement and upgrading of small entities, marketing, operational and administrative improvement, such as accounting systems and development of management techniques.
Under the program, a maximum of $3 million will be allocated to each small property and is repayable over a 60-month period at an interest rate of three per cent per annum. Promissory notes supported by guarantees of each entity’s Directors will be accepted as collateral.
Speaking at the launch of the Fund on July 9 at the Ministry of Tourism, portfolio Minister, Edmund Bartlett noted that, “this initiative is to ensure that communities as well as small and medium enterprises within the tourism industry are given an opportunity for development and for them to play their part in driving job creation as well as providing the income flows for communities and the economy.”
Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett (left), outlines new initiatives that will be implemented under the Spruce Up Jamaica program, at a media forum held on July 9 at the ministry’s offices in New Kingston. Looking on is Jennifer Griffith, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry.
A unique feature of the program, the Minister informed, is that property owners can use up to one third of the loan available for paying off tax arrears.
“We want our small entrepreneurs to shoulder their responsibility in providing the revenues for this country and we are saying in tourism, you must pay your tax,” Mr. Bartlett stressed.
The overall program, he noted, “is about providing loan support for the development of the creative talents of the people in the communities – the small hoteliers, small attractions’ proprietors and those with ideas – to convert them into material value that can provide earning and income for them.”
The initiative is a part of the ‘Spruce Up’ Jamaica program, which is an initiative of the Ministry, focusing on forging creative partnerships among the public and private sectors and the community.