UTech, Jamaica and JMMB Group Celebrate First Cohort of Graduates from SME Accelerator Programme

(L-R) Mr. Victor Clemetson, CEO, Door Step Jamaica Limited collects a certificate of merit from Technology Innovation Center Incubator Manager, Mrs. Andrea Bolton-Fyffe during the SME Accelerator graduation and awards ceremony on Friday, August 11, 2023 at LT 50, UTech, Jamaica, Papine Campus.

The first execution of the JMMB Group SME Accelerator Programme in partnership with the University of Technology, Jamaica’s Technology Innovation Centre (TIC), culminated with a client graduation and awards ceremony on Friday, August 11, 2023.  The official ceremony was held inside Lecture Theater 50, shared facility building at the university’s Papine Campus.  

Established in November 2021, through a five-year agreement between the JMMB Group SME Resource Centre and UTech, Jamaica’s TIC, the initiative was designed to provide capacity building training and support services to Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago-based Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSMEs), aiming to scale and grow their businesses. It forms part of the strategic move by the JMMB Group to bring value added financial partnership, resources and innovative financial solutions to MSME clients. The initiative welcomed sole trader, partnership, and limited liability MSMEs operating for two or more years. 

Mrs. Shani Duncan-Falconer, Senior Corporate Manager, JMMB Group Resource Centre congratulates the first batch of graduates from the SME Accelerator Programme during the graduation and awards ceremony.

Mrs. Shani Duncan-Falconer, Senior Corporate Manager, JMMB Group Resource Centre, told the graduates, “when we conceptualized this programme, we wanted to find ways to truly partner with you…to help you grow and develop throughout your business life cycle and I firmly believe that we have been able to do this.”   

At least nineteen (19) clients from the JMMB Group Resource Centre and twelve (12) from UTech, Jamaica’s TIC business incubator were acknowledged for their tenacity and hard work leading to their successful completion of the Programme. Mrs. Duncan-Falconer noted that the two-year journey with the entrepreneurs was great, crediting the successes to the participants dedication along with insightful business “workshops at the TIC” and “coaching sessions within the SME Resource Centre.”  She also noted that the participants were able to further build their businesses accessing “the different product offerings that we have within JMMB.” 

Attesting to the profound growth that the programme offers, Chief Executive Officer at Door Step Jamaica Limited, Mr. Victor Clemetson noted that he has learnt a lot about “corporate governance.” With his eyes set on listing on the Jamaica Stock Exchange, Clemetson who is a client of the TIC stated that the knowledge gained has “helped us to start structuring our company’s Board.” Mr. Clemetson was one of several TIC based clients who received a certificate of merit during the graduation ceremony for outstanding participation.

Mr. Prince Graham-Haynes, Head, Joan Duncan School of Entrepreneurship Ethics & Leadership (JDSEEL), brings greetings during the SME Accelerator Programme graduation and awards ceremony.

Mr. Prince Graham-Haynes, Head, Joan Duncan School of Entrepreneurship Ethics & Leadership (JDSEEL), regarded the programme as being “very important as it brings to our participants, cutting-edge information in areas such as governance, taxation and compliance, copyright and trademark, project management, financing of businesses among other things.”  He pointed to the authenticity of the initiative stating, “this programme is unique” and is being presented “by trained practitioners in the field.” Among those practitioners are lecturers from the JDSEEL who played an integral role in designing relevant course assignments for the programme and the TIC’s team of experts lead by Incubator Manager, Mrs. Andrea Bolton-Fyffe who facilitated the capacity training workshops throughout the programme.

An animated Gordon Swaby, Founder and CEO of EduFocal Limited, Guest Speaker at the event shares a word of inspiration with the graduates during the SME Accelerator Programme official Graduation and Awards Ceremony.

Mr. Gordon Swaby, Founder and CEO of EduFocal Limited, in his capacity as Guest Speaker, encouraged the graduates to “believe in possibilities”. A UTech, Jamaica Alumni and former TIC client himself, Swaby noted that the support he gained through the TIC “has set the tone” for many of his entrepreneurial success. He encouraged the graduates to build on the knowledge that they have gained to sharpen their awareness in essential areas of entrepreneurship such as, “understanding how to read a cashflow statement, a P&L and balance sheets.” He also applauded the JMMB Group for “having the foresight in understanding how impactful and important these things are for entrepreneurs.”  

The TIC forms a specialized unit of the Joan Duncan School of Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Leadership (JDSEEL), in the College of Business and Management (COBAM) at UTech, Jamaica. It is a full-service business incubator which provides support for technology-based start-up companies through its residential business programme and supports entities from other industries through its associate and virtual programmes.  

UTech, Jamaica and the JMMB Group struck a longstanding partnership in 2011 when the financial firm donated approximately $80 million towards the expansion of the university’s School of Entrepreneurship.  With this monetary injection, the school was renamed the Joan Duncan School of Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Leadership (JDSEEL), offering advanced teaching and research in entrepreneurship, economic growth, and business ethics in a thrust to produce globally conscious transformational leaders.  The recently concluded SME Accelerator Programme is the latest initiative to have sprung from this partnership with its second staging slated for January 2024.

Contact: Michelle A. Beckford
Corporate Communications Manager
University of Technology, Jamaica
Telephone: (876) 970-5299/ (876) 818-5893
Email: mbeckford@utech.edu.jm