UTech, Jamaica Launches Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Jamaica 2021/2022 National Report


-- Report finds Reduction in Total early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity

Professor Colin Gyles ,(1st right) Acting President, University of Technology, Jamaica and Mrs. Kim Mair, Chair, JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation unveil a replica of the cover of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Jamaica 2021/2022 National Report produced by researchers in the University’s College of Business and Management (COBAM).  Dr. Andrea Sutherland (left), Dean, COBAM and Ms. Deborah Newland (right), General Manager, Strategic Services Division, Development Bank of Jamaica who co-sponsored the production of the report with the JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation, participate in the unveiling and launch which was held on Thursday, March 2, 2023 at the University’s Papine Campus.

The University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech, Jamaica), through its College of Business and Management on March 2, 2023, launched the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Jamaica 2021/2022 National Report at a forum for the dissemination of its findings held at the University’s Papine Campus.

GEM is a networked consortium of national country teams primarily associated with top academic institutions. It carries out surveyed-based research on entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship ecosystems around the world and is the only global research source that collects data on entrepreneurship directly from individual entrepreneurs. GEM tools and data are therefore unique and benefit numerous stakeholder groups including academia, entrepreneurs, financiers, and policymakers.

The research measures the relationship between the decision to start a new business and the local, regional, and national environments that influence the decision directly (through access to resources) and indirectly (through its effects on social values and priorities). The GEM data collection methodology utilizes the completion of two comprehensive surveys: the Adult Population Survey (APS) and the National Expert Survey (NES). The Jamaica APS data which collects detailed information on the entrepreneurial activities, attitudes and aspirations of respondents was collected between August – December 2021 among 2300 adult respondents aged 18-64 from the 14 parishes; while the NES Survey which collects information on the context in which entrepreneurship takes place in the economy, was carried out May to June 2021 as an online survey among 39 experts.

The GEM model distinguishes three stages of entrepreneurial activity; namely Nascent Entrepreneurs, New Business Owners and Established Business Owners.  The GEM Global Report draws comparisons amongst 50 participating economies during the 2021-2022 cycle which was characterised by the COVID-19 pandemic.  It ranks economies in three categories by level of GDP per capita with Jamaica ranked as a level C economy (GDP per capita of less than $20,000).

The findings and detailed analysis on key insights on Jamaica’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, as well as recommendations on the way forward were shared by the research team. Lead researcher Mrs. Terry-Ann-Gaynor Clarke and Mr. Orville Brown, Lecturers, COBAM presented highlights of research findings, while Dr. Gaunette Sinclair-Maragh, Associate Vice-Dean, COBAM shared findings from the special feature from the 2021-2022 GEM Jamaica Report on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Dr. Andrea Sutherland, Dean, COBAM and Mrs. Erica Donaldson, Lecturer, provided recommendations.   Mr. Nigel Cooper (who was unable to attend the launch), former head, Joan Duncan School of Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Leadership (JDSEEL) also formed part of the team of researchers.

GEM Jamaica 2021/2022 National Report researchers from the College of Business and Management (COBAM), UTech, Jamaica, pose for photograph with a replica of the cover of the report unveiled at the launch ceremony on March 2, 2023, Shared Facilities Building, UTech, Jamaica Papine Campus.  From left are Dr. Andrea Sutherland, Dean, COBAM, lead researcher and Lecturer, Mrs. Terry-Ann-Gaynor Clarke, Dr. Gaunette Sinclair-Maragh, Associate Vice-Dean, COBAM and Lecturers, Mrs. Erica Donaldson, and Mr. Orville Brown.

 Reduction in Total early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity

The report indicates that Jamaica’s Total early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) rate in the 2021/2022 APS survey was 6.5% in 2021.This indicates a significant reduction from 9.9 % since the previous report was published in 2016/17. Specifically, in the nascent category (individuals who have attempted to commence business within the past year), the TEA rate was 2.2%. For the category of ‘baby businesses’ (those starting and running a business and paying wages or salaries for three months or more), the TEA was 4.3%.

It also indicates that the number of established businesses in Jamaica has decreased to 6.3% in 2022 for those aged 18–64 who are currently owners/managers of established businesses (older than 3.5 years) compared to 8.2% in the pre COVID-19 years. Notably, this figure is not much lower than the global average rate of 6.77%.

Analysis of the Socio demographic of entrepreneurs show that the majority of TEAs; both nascent and baby business owners’ entrepreneurs are within the age range of 25 to 34 with more female entrepreneurs (59%) than males (41%). The majority of the combined TEAs also live in the bordering parishes of St. Andrew and St Catherine with more nascent entrepreneurs living in St. Catherine. In addition, the majority of nascent entrepreneurs and baby business owner-managers earn an annual household income below J$20 million. Findings also indicate that the majority of the TEAs obtained at minimum a post-secondary education.

The consumer services sector continues to be the most predominant sector for the TEAs (72.3%) showing an increase of 2% since the previous report. In its analysis of attitudes and perception towards entrepreneurship, the report reveals that most Jamaicans are confident in their abilities to start a business. They perceive themselves as highly capable, therefore if given the right opportunities they will establish new businesses despite the fear and uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there has been a significant decline in the status, respect and media attention that is usually afforded to successful entrepreneurs.

The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on entrepreneurial activity and individuals were significant in Jamaica with 60% of the respondents reporting that the pandemic decreased their incomes. Also, 63.1% for TEA and 78% for EBO stated that it is more difficult to start a business when compared to one year ago. Despite these challenges 59% of the TEA and 70% of the established business agreed that the government response during the pandemic was effective. Experts (69%) also agree that the government made effective decisions to manage the health crisis although they could have done better to save more jobs and prevent the decline of new and growing firms during the first year of the pandemic.

More entrepreneurs are expecting lower business growth compared to a year ago but there is optimism for entrepreneurial activity as there are still some emerging opportunities amid these challenges.

Notably, despite the COVID-19 pandemic the discontinuation rate of 2.8% in business has been significantly reduced when compared to the 2016/17 rate of 9%. This is an indication of the resilience of the Jamaican entrepreneurs.

Looking at innovation and the use of technology, the report indicated that most of the technological innovations in Jamaica are little to nonexistent. Only a small percentage of TEA companies were implementing digital technologies to sell their products or services.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its relationship with entrepreneurship were analyzed as a special feature of the report, due to the SDGs importance to economic growth and development. The findings showed that the majority of entrepreneurs in Jamaica are not aware of the SDGs. This is of concern since it is important for entrepreneurs to have knowledge of the SDGs and to establish related goals to enable a sustainable business.

A special feature of the report on ethics and leadership was sponsored by the JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation and highlights the need for adequately resourced societal interventions to address the decay of leadership and ethics. Most respondents (80.5%) felt that individuals tend to blame politicians instead of doing what they can to make a difference especially since 78.4% indicated that leaders give their friends preferential treatment. Regardless, 75.6% felt that as an individual they have leadership qualities. Interestingly, as it relates to ethics, most people (82.1%) were more focused on surviving as opposed to living a purposeful life. This was supported by the fact that 79.4% indicated that they could not get ahead without having some form of connections in life.


The range of recommendations of the GEM Jamaica report point to the need for increased financial support and access to capital for entrepreneurs and a more enabling environment with improved fiscal policy including the centralization of government support services for entrepreneurs; increased entrepreneurship education at every level of the education system and improvements to the commercial and physical infrastructure to facilitate digital adoption and innovation.

Professor Colin Gyles, CD, Acting President, UTech, Jamaica in his welcome at the launch ceremony, congratulated the College of Business and Management (COBAM) research team, led by Mrs. Terry-Ann Gaynor Clarke, whom he noted “have worked tirelessly to ensure the production of this 2021/2022 GEM Jamaica country report.” Pointing out that it has been five years since the results of the previous survey was published in Jamaica, Professor Gyles noted that “this new report comes at a very significant and timely juncture.  It is quite timely to reflect on Jamaica’s entrepreneurial ecosystem as our country and the rest of the world recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all areas of life, industry and doing business.”  He added that “UTech, Jamaica through the expertise of its researchers is happy to be doing our part to provide significant evidence-based data and new knowledge in response to these important questions pertaining to economic development in our country.”  Professor Gyles expressed gratitude to the two sponsoring organizations for their support in enabling the production of the research project. He thanked the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) which provided $5 million and the Joan Duncan Foundation which offered sponsorship of $2.5M.

Mrs. Aileen Ionescu-Somers, GEM Global Executive Director, who joined remotely, also extended congratulations to the research team and noted the value of the GEM Jamaica report in the context of the global collaboration of nearly 400 researchers.

Sponsors’ remarks were received from DBJ and the JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation.  Ms. Deborah Newland, General Manager, Strategic Services Division, DBJ, speaking to the significance of the report, affirmed that “in the environment of data-driven decision-making and moving Jamaica towards a digital economy and a digital society, studies such as this report are going to be even more important than we probably recognize today,” adding that “DBJ as part of its thrust is moving our development partners, our international and local development partners towards data-driven decision making and studies such as this will form the foundation of a lot of the work that the Development Bank of Jamaica will be doing not only on its own but through the ministries, departments and agencies,  and also through the universities and other think tanks.”  She pledged the DBJ’s continuing commitment as long-term partners on the GEM study and to further partnership with UTech, Jamaica for future applied research projects.

Representing the JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation and the Joan Duncan Trust, Mrs. Kim Mair, Chair, JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation stated that the partnership with UTech, Jamaica for the production of the GEM Jamaica report “is in keeping with the agenda of the Foundation to advance and promote entrepreneurship, ethics and leadership within our society,” adding that “It is against this thrust for ethical leadership in entrepreneurship that the Trust has sought to also ensure that a component on ethics and leadership was addressed as part of the study.”  Mrs. Mair noted that the report will be beneficial in providing “a close-up view of our own realities, emerging trends and other key findings, while providing practical recommendations tailored for Jamaica and benchmarked against global best practices,” and congratulated the Joan Duncan School of Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Leadership at the University for its “continued focus on an evidence-based approach to entrepreneurship education.”

Entrepreneur Randy Makk, founder of Breshe Jamaica delighted the audience of academics, members of the business community and students who joined both in person and online, with his witty renditions of dub poems titled “I am an Entrepreneur” and “Team Work.”

Mr. Prince Graham-Haynes, Head of School (Acting) Joan Duncan School of Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Leadership (JDSEEL) who chaired the launch ceremony invited key stakeholders including academics to use the findings of the GEM Jamaica report to “inform and develop new approaches to teaching entrepreneurship in the classroom,” and invited policy makers to use the study as a reference point as better ways are sought for improving entrepreneurship in Jamaica.

Looking at something of keen interest in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM)Jamaica 2021/2022 National Report from left: Mrs. Kim Mair, Chair, JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation, Mrs. Terry-Ann-Gaynor Clarke, lead researcher and Lecturer, College of Business and Management, Professor Colin Gyles, CD, Acting President, UTech, Jamaica, Mr. Prince Graham-Haynes, Head of School (Acting), Joan Duncan School of Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Leadership (JDSEEL) and Ms. Renay Johnson, Research Manager, Business Analytics and Policy, Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ).


Michelle Beckford 
Corporate Communications Manager
University of Technology, Jamaica
Telephone: 876 970-5299 
Email: mbeckford@utech.edu.jm