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DBJ’s BIGEE awards grant support to RevUpCaribbean start-ups, MSEs

The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) recently signed an agreement at its Oxford Road office to provide a US$100,000 grant to RevUp Caribbean, the region’s first virtual business incubator. RevUp Caribbean, which will help start-ups improve their business skills and put them on a path to sustainability, is set to assist 54 Jamaican start-ups with high-growth potential and an additional 100 micro and small enterprises (MSEs) from October 2021 to March 2022.

DBJ Managing Director Milverton Reynolds and RevUp Caribbean Chairman Joseph Matalon signed the agreement for the grant, which is being supported through the DBJ’s Boosting Innovation, Growth and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems (BIGEE) programme.

RevUp Caribbean is offering start-ups and companies in the early stage of development its Business Incubation Programme for Equity-Seeking Companies while businesses that are clients of the National Commercial Bank may qualify for its Training Programme for Growth-Stage Companies.

“The incubation programme, in particular, has a number of components,” said RevUp Caribbean Managing Director Sandra Glasgow. “The participants will start with a self-assessment, a psychometric test and get support to produce a high-level strategic plan which would really articulate their vision for the business and the steps they will need to take to achieve this vision.”

Other components include a 10-hour investment readiness programme, an 85-hour training programme and a weekend retreat facilitated by the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company. Additionally, all start-ups will be assigned a local and overseas mentor.

“We really want to thank our partner, the Development Bank of Jamaica, for the support that they have provided to us,” said Glasgow. “We are so excited to be a part of this ecosystem and get the support from DBJ which has really played a phenomenal role.”

DBJ General Manager, Project Management Office, Christopher Brown said the DBJ, through its BIGEE programme, decided to support incubation and acceleration for small businesses to provide them with training, guidance and mentorship.

“We recognise that this is an important part in the development of businesses, so we launched a call for business incubators and business accelerators to apply for funding from the Bank to implement these programmes over time,” said Brown. “Recently, we awarded the first grant to our RevUp Caribbean team for them to execute a programme that starts in October. So between October and March, you will be able to get access to mentors, training on how to run your business, whether it’s sales, marketing, human resources or corporate governance.”

Businesses are being encouraged to visit for more information and to apply. Applications, which are now open, close on October 18. The programme begins on October 28. 

This form of indirect support from the DBJ to the entrepreneurs will facilitate their growth and is expected to generate positive economic returns by way of private investment, company revenue, employment, and export earnings. Start-ups participating in this incubator will learn how to gain access to international markets and venture capital funding. At the end of each cohort, participants will be assessed on their learning and business development over the period, and the most promising will have an opportunity to be coached and to pitch to angel investors, particularly the First Angels investor network and the Caribbean Alternative Investment Association.

RevUp is a spin-off company of First Angels Jamaica Limited, Jamaica’s first angel investor group (founded in 2014) aimed at supporting and financing the development of innovative businesses that have high-growth potential.

The DBJ provides opportunities to all Jamaicans to improve their quality of life through development financing, capacity building, public-private partnership and privatisation solutions in keeping with Government policy.