Big boost for SMEs in St James

THE Honey Bun Foundation and the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently signed a historic memorandum of understanding (MOU) to create added value for the members of the chamber.

For this year, the chamber will be offering The Honey Bun Foundation’s Advisory Committee model to its members, which facilitates a structured arrangement for businesses to access guidance from a team of expert advisers.

Speaking at the signing at the chamber’s Fairview, Montego Bay, St James office, founder of The Honey Bun Foundation and CEO of Honey Bun Ltd Michelle Chong said: “This partnership represents the type of collaboration that we feel is critical for the various associations so that we can get the needle moving.”

The Honey Bun Foundation’s Advisory Committee model will see the chamber assigning three advisers each to qualified members, for 12 months, to work on completing their strategic road map and profit and loss projection, using templates designed by the foundation.

The model, which was tested in 2019-2021, was launched with its first cohort of nine small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 2022.

It is the third model from The Honey Bun Foundation which was launched in 2019. The other two models are a national training calendar and a free-for-download business diagnostic tool, the GAPP app.

In welcoming the agreement with the foundation, Conrad Robinson, chairman of the Business and Entrepreneurial Committee at the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “This is a partnership which we believe will go a long way in creating successful businesses, which is a part of our mandate here at the chamber.”

Robinson added: “Our members will benefit from the expert advice of these experienced advisers as they will act as a sounding board for new ideas and help the SMEs achieve the objective of their strategic road map, while adopting good corporate governance practices. As such, the chamber is pleased with the signing of this MOU and looks forward to the successful implementation of this programme.”

He said the deal will provide the kind of support and advice SMEs need to be successful.

“This model that The Honey Bun Foundation is proposing gives them this opportunity. We also see that through this approach, the SMEs will be exposed to best practices and networking opportunities which will be of benefit to the success of their businesses,” said Robinson as he noted that it was the first of its kind for the chamber.

“I would encourage other business support organisations to join forces. If we are going to grow the Jamaican economy and develop the entrepreneurial culture in Jamaica, which is anchored in the foundation of good corporate governance, then this is one way of doing it — the sharing of knowledge, the giving of guidance and the promotion of best practices,” said Robinson.

In the meantime, Chong said that her hope for this partnership, and others to come, is for, “many, many SMEs to be supported through their critical years to make a difference to Jamaica’s economy”.

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