JSIF gives $20m boost to small traders
Shawn Castell was a picture of fulfilment as he spoke to The Gleaner yesterday shortly after he was presented with a marine Igloo, a length of rope, and a variety of other fishing equipment.
“I will be able to upgrade my fishing business by building a deeper net,” he said. “I fish with a small net now, so this will prepare me for the Easter coming.”
Castell was among 115 beneficiaries of the Integrated Community Development Project II, which comprised residents from the communities of Denham Town, Greenwich Town, and August Town in Kingston; Treadlight in Clarendon; and Anchovy, Salt Spring, and Mount Salem in St James.
They were awarded non-cash grants of up to $400,000 and, on average, the grants were valued at $120,000.
“I’ve been fishing since I was 19. I grew up in that field – grandfather, uncle – and so when I finished school, I just started,” the 30-year-old told The Gleaner.
While there are highs and lows to fishing, Castell said he relishes every experience.
“Going to sea when it’s windy or when there is bad weather is challenging. I have a lot of nice time fishing like when mi go sea and catch some special fish,” Castell said.
The Greenwich Town resident has two employees – a captain and a crew member – and they have ventured as far as St Thomas seeking a catch.
HELP FOR MSMES
A $20-million initiative of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), the Integrated Community Development Project seeks to provide support and training to owners of micro enterprises.
The first phase of the project was financed by the World Bank, and the second is now funded by the Government.
Some 510 applicants responded to a call for proposals, and the 115 beneficiaries were selected after a rigorous verification process.
They received training in the areas of financial management, costing, marketing, attention to legal and regulatory matters, record keeping, and stock management.
Another recipient, 59-year-old Lorna Green, shared that Inspector Pilmar Powell, who works with the zone of special operations, saw her at the corner of Laws and North streets in Kingston three years ago and recruited her to be the “don of the corner”, assisting with the monitoring and enforcement of curfews.
She began selling guineps on the corner on behalf of her grandson, and soon after, using the profits, she branched out into selling a few items of clothing.
“Mi start the business from a tarpaulin to a board shop ‘til now, me gone a concrete,” she said, triggering a round of applause.
Powell encouraged her to send an application to the programme, and yesterday, she was gifted a deep freezer and a deep fryer.
“The children dem seh mi mus do chicken neck, so I asked for the fryer so I can do that. I have to look for an employee right now to do the frying, and I will continue to do the money business,” the mother of six said.
Mona Sue-Ho, JSIF senior manager for social development, explained that ongoing mentorship and capacity building will be provided for the beneficiaries with support from the University of Technology, The University of the West Indies, Mona, and the Jamaica Business Development Corporation.
“We are also going to ensure that they are registered as legal entities, that they have their food handlers’ permit where necessary, that they are paying their taxes. We had them sign legal documents governing the use and resale of items, and there will be ongoing monitoring by JSIF,” she explained.