The Development Bank of Jamaica, DBJ, has improved aspects of its Innovation Grant Fund. One of the most significant changes is a 43 percent or $6 million addition to the funding that any successful applicant can receive.
DBJ announced on Friday the relaunch of the grant, which coincides with the start date for the influx of a new application round.
The relaunched program will give registered, medium-sized Jamaican companies access to up to $20 million in grants for business ventures that are considered original and provide scope for income and employment generation.
DBJ does not limit funding for innovation projects to specific sectors, but the state-run agency requires applicants to be in business for a minimum of seven years.
The signup window will remain open for more than a month, from May 20 to June 30.
The Innovation Grant Fund, IGF, is the first program launched under DBJ’s Boosting Innovation Growth & Entrepreneurship Ecosystems, or BIGEE, initiative, which aims to provide DBJ with $25 million, or $3.89 billion at current exchange rates. distribute among micro, small and medium-sized companies.
BIGEE includes three different components including grant financing, capacity building and institution building and equity financing, which in turn have different sub-components. The aim is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship among medium-sized companies in Jamaica.
So far, DBJ has approved six projects under the $78 million program, three of which are Bare Nutrition Limited, Intermed Company and Sherwood Forest Coffee Company. The three were chosen from over 100 applicants in the first round of the IGF launched in 2021.
At the time, the maximum funding for eligible entities was $14 million, but under the relaunched program, DBJ has increased the cap to $20 million.
“We listened to feedback from business owners and reviewed comments from our consultants about the need to improve various aspects of the IGF. This has led us to relaunch the IGF with enhanced features,” BIGEE project manager Christopher Brown said in a statement from the development bank.
In addition, the DBJ has accredited a cadre of business consultants to assist medium-sized business owners in completing phase two of the application process – a detailed business plan.
“Companies that apply for this subsidy must have an innovative business model and/or concept that leads to more turnover and more employment. For example, this could be a device that will replace a manual process. This must be new to Jamaica and, or the region,” Brown said.
Following the closure of the IGF, the Development Bank will open applications for the Innovation Grant from New Ideas to Entrepreneurship, IGNITE in July 2022. Dating back to October 2015, IGNITE provides financing for businesses from the idea stage to commercialization. IGNITE is aimed at micro and small businesses.
The grant is divided into two parts. It provides up to $3 million for idea-stage companies and $7 million for commercialization-stage companies, DBJ said.