A total of $34 billion (approximately US$265 million) was raised over the last four years from equity fund investments facilitated under the Jamaica Venture Capital Programme (JVCP).
The JVCP was established by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) in 2013 to provide micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) with access to alternative equity financing.
Coordinator of the JVCP, Audrey Richards, says the out-turn, which was generated through four regional fund facilities, includes $13 billion (US$98 million) raised from Jamaican investors.
She was speaking at the launch of the 2019 National Business Model Competition for tertiary institutions, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday (February 27).
Mrs. Richards said $7 billion (US$56 million) of the sum raised has been invested in 20 Jamaican businesses, so far, while noting that local angel investors have also invested $188 million in another 12 entities.
Angel investors provide capital for business start-ups, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity.
Mrs. Richards said these developments suggest that the Jamaican equities markets “are beginning to come into their own” and that private equity, as an asset class, has “gained traction” locally.
“Entrepreneurs and Jamaican businesses are now more receptive [of] equity financing. Issues of risk-taking and sharing of ownership were not [previously] part of the general national psyche. However, I think more people are becoming attuned to what it means to be an equity partner. Local capital market players are now willingly including private equity and other alternative investments in their portfolios,” she added.
The DBJ established the Jamaica Venture Capital Programme in 2013 with technical assistance and financial support from the Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF)
Activities supported under the JVCP represent a new approach by the DBJ to create sustainable development of Jamaica’s venture capital industry.
This, by focusing on establishing an ecosystem conducive to venture capital development through partnerships with private-sector interests on projects that impact entrepreneurs, fund managers and investors.
Mrs. Richards said other developments under the JVCP include 560 fund managers, investors and lawyers being trained and enlightened on the tenets of private equity and venture capital investments.
The National Business Model Competition, which is organised through the JVCP, promotes and encourages student entrepreneurship on the campuses of local tertiary institutions.
This year’s sixth staging is slated for The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston from March 21 to 22.
The event is jointly staged by the Development Bank of Jamaica and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ).