CDB Supporting Sustained Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction through Private Sector Development in Jamaica

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has thrown its support behind the upcoming Development Bank of Jamaica’s 2nd Annual Venture Capital Conference slated for September 9th, 2014 at the Jamaica Conference Centre. Among its objectives is highlighting opportunities for growth through venture capital financing for entrepreneurs.

Describing it as representing an important development in financing small business advancement, Nigel Romano, Acting Vice President - Operation explained:

Describing it as representing an important development in financing small business advancement, Nigel Romano, Acting Vice President – Operation explained:

“CDB prioritises private sector development (PSD) as one of its key operational objectives. We are therefore pleased to support the essential discussions about spurring and financing innovation that this conference will facilitate. Entrepreneurship has an important role to play in the economic recovery of the Caribbean through the creation of new business opportunities and increased innovation. However, the requisite support, inclusive of access to funding, must be present to spur innovation.”

The private sector is recognized as a critical stakeholder and partner in economic development, through its contributions in many areas, including providing income, jobs, goods and services to enhance people’s lives and help them escape poverty, food security, climate change mitigation, environmental sustainability and contributions to taxes.

Some 90% of all economic activity and nine out of every 10 jobs, in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is created by the private sector. Therefore, the speed and pattern of private sector development matter for such an inclusive growth agenda. However, the Caribbean’s private sector is characterized by high informality and low productivity. Informality (non-compliance with tax, labor and regulatory requirements) is endemic in LAC accounting for 20% of GDP in MDCs and almost 70% in LDCs, thereby limiting access to finance and legal services and undercutting the profitability of formal firms.

Low productivity can be primarily attributed to the barriers faced by the sector which impede investment, firm expansion, job creation, and sustainable growth.

These include lack of basic productive infrastructure (transportation, electricity, trade and integration policies); limited access to financial services and capital markets (bias towards short-term credit, SMEs limited access to finance); low skill levels of workers and management which limits the agility needed for long-term sustainable growth and the ability to compete in increasingly globalized markets.

CDB has in the past supported venture capital initiatives such as the DEVCAP Equity Fund 2007 which made investments in start-up and expansion enterprises, and buyouts.

The theme of the conference is, Towards a Dynamic Ecosystem … linking capital, innovation, and entrepreneurship for growth, and features keynote speaker Josh Lerner, the Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Investment Banking at Harvard Business School, and Chair of its Entrepreneurial Management Unit.

Divided into four sessions, the event includes round-table and panel discussions on:

  • Putting the Caribbean on the global Venture Capital & Private Equity map – size, sustainability and alliances
  • The Creative Economy, Sports, Culture & Growth
  • Backing Women Entrepreneurs;
  • Fuelling a Hub for Innovation
  • Financing opportunities in Infrastructure, Logistics, Real Estate, BPO, Energy, Privatizations, PPP, Tourism, Agribusiness, Nutraceuticals
  • Startup Jamaica and other opportunities for sustainable deal flow…Attracting, nurturing and ‘spinning out’ innovative companies.
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