The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and the National Commercial Bank of Jamaica (NCBJ) have made a robust response to the effects of COVID-19 through their support of early stage equity and capital markets. In September 2021, the DBJ and NCB announced the award of grants to RevUP Caribbean, a new virtual incubator. RevUP is partnering with the World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF) to launch an international mentorship programme which supports startups, preparing them for post-pandemic times to accelerate their business and digital transformation.
World Business Angels Investment Forum, in cooperation with the EY, has recently delivered the first phase of a national project of the Qatar Development Bank on developing an angel investment ecosystem in the country. WBAF Croatia Country Office received 318.441 EUR grant from the European Union (EU) to develop a new financing instrument for social impact investing.
As an affiliated partner of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), the World Business Angels Investment Forum advocates the importance of financial support to startups and small businesses in the recovery plans of governments against Covid 19. Baybars Altuntas, Executive Chairman WBAF, says ‘’Small businesses and startups are suffering financially today. If they cannot achieve business and digital transformation of their ventures, they will suffer more in post-pandemic times. The challenging issue is we are inviting them to invest in business and digital transformation, which is not a cheap issue, while they are not able to make regular payments of their companies. So, governments should include financial support to startups and small businesses in the recovery plans of governments against Covid 19, for them to survive. Otherwise, these companies will not be able to produce new jobs and wealth for economies after Covid 19 leaves’’.
Altuntas adds ‘’A good response came from Jamaica. The Development Bank of Jamaica now supports SMEs and startups through an excellent programme, which will connect them with global mentors and investors. World Business Angels Investment Forum is very pleased to be a stakeholder of this great program through a partnership with RevUP Caribbean. I think this is a great best practice for all development banks around the world’’
DBJ’s General Manager, Project Management Office, Christopher Brown said the DBJ, through its BIGEE programme, decided to support incubation and acceleration for small businesses to provide them with training, guidance, and mentorship. He says, “We recognise that this is an important part in the development of businesses, so we launched a call for business incubators and business accelerators to apply for funding from the bank to implement these programmes over time.”
“The incubation programme, in particular, has a number of components,” says RevUp Caribbean Managing Director and WBAF Senator Sandra Glasgow. “The participants will start with a self-assessment, a psychometric test and get support to produce a high-level strategic plan which will articulate their vision for the business and the steps they will need to take to achieve this vision. We really want to thank our partners, the DBJ and NCB , for the support that they have provide to us,”
“The ultimate goal is for Angel Investors in the FirstAngelsJA Network to fund businesses that expand and create jobs that contribute to the improvement of the Caribbean economies, as well as to create an entrepreneur-friendly ecosystem that will close gaps in terms of access to financing and provide direct access to engage high net worth individuals as investors,” shared Glasgow.
Sheree Martin, General Manager and head of Retail Banking and Customer Experience at NCB says that “Jamaica is not short of entrepreneurial spirit – there are people with great ideas, and the ability to translate these ideas into actual businesses that allow them to provide products and services isn’t easy. Founders have to think about dealing with customers, employees, payroll, suppliers, dealing with their Bank. Persons who are Founders, visionaries, idea generators, creatives do not necessarily have these skills. So, at NCB, we recognise that there must be a space where financial institutions invest in this kind of capability, and this is why NCB is proud to be a partner of RevUP.”
About the World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF)
An affiliated partner of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), the World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF) is an international organisation aiming to ease access to finance for businesses from start-up to scale-up, with the ultimate goal of generating more jobs and more social justice worldwide. It is committed to collaborating globally to empower world economic development by creating innovative financial instruments for innovators, start-ups, and SMEs. The Forum interacts with leaders in all areas of society, first and foremost in business and political spheres, to help assess needs and establish goals, bearing in mind that the public interest is of paramount importance. WBAF engages a wide range of institutions, both public and private, local and international, commercial and academic to help shape the global agenda.
About RevUP Caribbean
RevUP’s mission is to increase the successful development of emerging businesses in sectors that are supported by the Caribbean Region’s areas of opportunity. The businesses that will graduate from RevUP’s incubator and training programmes are expected to contribute to the overall vitality, diversity, and growth of the Jamaican and regional economies. It will provide an environment that allows for an active role in growing businesses that will lead to job creation. These new businesses and the new jobs they produce create wealth – through multiplier effects and new tax generation – that will ultimately benefit the Region beyond the individuals directly employed by incubator businesses and graduates. This incubator serves as a hub for early and growth stage companies and provide for the value-added services required to support clients’ success.
About the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ)
The DBJ, currently the only development financing organization in Jamaica, is committed to Jamaican entrepreneurs in the productive sectors and at all stages of development. While the DBJ provides funding and technical assistance to large projects, it has expanded and improved its assistance to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) which are widely recognized as the engine of economic growth and development, especially in small economies.
About the National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited (NCBJ) NCBJ, is the largest financial group in Jamaica providing highly competitive and innovative products and service offerings for its customers. Its aim is to maintain a solid governance structure and robust compliance framework, while utilizing flexible business models and efficient operational processes and systems. NCB provides an array of products & services to meet the banking needs of customers: deposit accounts, unsecured and secured loans, credit cards, overdraft lines, foreign exchange, personal, and private banking services are part of the offerings.