The government of Jamaica is introducing business incubators to support its entrepreneurs. They are doing things a little differently than US incubators, to meet their own unique needs.
Jamaica has large rural regions, but faces a familiar problem of people migrating to the cities for jobs. The government will be inviting entrepreneurs to bid for incubator space, and group business plans are being sought. Their technical university is getting involved, and sees itself as a driver of global competitiveness.
Reginald Budhan, Senior Director of Policy, Planning, Projects and Research at the Ministry of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce explained some details to JIS News.
“The incubators are not intended to be government managed. what the project envisages is that government would construct these facilities or rehabilitate existing facilities.. and invite bidders to bid for renting the facility. If, for example, you work from home and lack certain facilities or equipment this incubator would have the necessary equipment that can be used,” the Senior Director points out.
“Small business incubators are expected to be implemented in both rural and urban areas, like on a phased basis. In rural areas these incubators are expected to play a pivotal role in the creation of employment opportunities for the non-agricultural labour force, thereby alleviating the rural-urban drift,” he adds.
He explains that as soon as the project is finalized, the Ministry will invite groups of persons who are interested in forming incubators, to submit their business plans for consideration. The Ministry is also expected to assist individuals in the preparation of business plans.
The University of Technology has already formed an incubator, the first in the English speaking region of the Caribbean.
Senior Director at the Technology Innovation Centre, Valerie Tappin explains that, “this incubator came out of the thinking that the University needed to be actively addressing the issue of increasing innovation and technology in response to the economic shift from the export of natural resource based goods to more knowledge based services and goods, to be more globally competitive.it is out of this idea that the incubator was born”.
Incubators are one of the widely-relied on techniques in the US rural development model. It will be interesting to follow their success globally.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.