Denham Town residents building themselves and community with JSIF grants
Last December, Denham Town resident Lorna Green received an enterprise development grant from the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), which she said greatly improved her life financially.
The 61-year-old not only operates a small clothes store, but also owns an additional micro business called Lorna River Island Enterprise and Cash Boutique and Wholesale.
"I used to sell little sweetie an' thing before the grant and things weren't wonderful. I got a fridge and a dryer and $30,000 and this is what I used and start my business. I can see my way through. Business has been going very good. I even have a little clothes stores and all of that start from the $30,000 and little dues and hustling. I am very happy for JSIF and all of who helped mi," she said.
The west Kingston resident is one of 28 beneficiaries of the second cycle of the Jamaican Government's Enterprise Development Grants project, which started last August and will end on June 22. JSIF's managing director, Omar Sweeney, revealed that the overall project costs $51.7 million. Eight communities were targeted, with Denham Town receiving $2.925 million. Last Friday, Sweeney and his team handed over the symbolic cheque at the community centre.
"We want to make sure that persons can make a living within the community. There are persons who will leave the community but we want when they leave, they will bring back their monies to spend back in the community. The enterprise development grants include the provision of equipment, machinery, etc that will bolster the capacity of these entrepreneurs and facilitate their continued participation in the society and labour market," he said.
Another beneficiary Ardain Morris, who is the owner of Praise J's Chef Bro, said the grant has given him a sense of independence.
"I applied for the grant late but it came through. I got a deep fryer and because of this grant, I am now seeking two more employees to work with me. I would like if I could get another grant so I could hire some more people. JSIF is always checking and giving business advice. They have helped me to start put things on paper and see how the money going and if business a go right. I want to thank them for that," he said.
Sweeney added that the grants have a larger impact that extends beyond these entrepreneurs. They also benefit the families of the entrepreneurs and, by extension, the community as residents can enjoy better lives and more secure futures.