JMMB Bank and FinDev Canada announce over US$6 million loan deal to empower women-led SMEs – Jamaica Observer


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At least US$6.3 million has been set aside by JMMB Bank for Women-Owned and Women-led SMEs (WSMEs) seeking capital to help them create and retain jobs and grow their businesses. This represents 30% of the recent US$20 million loan agreement between FinDev Canada and JMMB Bank, in favor of Jamaican SMEs.

“This financing to JMMB Bank, our first transaction in the Caribbean, is expected to provide a significant boost to Jamaican SMEs seeking capital to grow their businesses and retain or create local jobs,” said Paulo Martelli, Vice President and Chief Investment Officer of FinDev Canada.

“[It is] part of the agency’s COVID recovery strategy to provide capital resources to financial institutions so they can directly fund businesses in the markets they know best,” explained the FinDev Canada leader.

This strategy is consistent with FinDev Canada’s mandate as a subsidiary of the Development Finance Institute Canada Inc., which is to provide financial services to the private sector in developing countries with the goal of alleviating poverty through economic growth focusing on three main themes — economic development through employment creation, women’s economic empowerment and climate change mitigation.

Women entrepreneurs contribute significantly to the country’s gross domestic product and job creation. A study commissioned by the Development Bank of Jamaica in 2019 found that the Jamaican micro and small business sector was dominated by women and that micro businesses were largely started by women with secondary education.

This willingness to allocate some of its funding to WSMEs complements the bank’s current lending, with around 34% of women-owned SMEs in its loan portfolio.

Jerome Smalling, CEO of JMMB Bank, said the loan agreement is in line with another gender-based lending initiative called “Her Wealth”, created by JMMB Group in 2017 with the aim of leveraging the huge potential market opportunity for the growth of this market segment. , addressing the unique financial needs of women and addressing perceived gaps in the financial sector.

In line with its continued commitment to specifically support WSMEs, the bank signed an agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in 2021 that would see JMMB bank lend 20% of the funds, or a $7 million loan. to support small businesses run by women.

JMMB Bank is also dedicated to empowering women within its workforce and equal opportunity for all employees. Proof of this is that the subsidiary has a strong representation of women throughout the organization, with 33% at board level, 15% at management level and 69% at team level.

“This partnership underscores our commitment to helping SMEs scale and grow their businesses by providing holistic solutions to support them throughout their life cycle, as we recognize that access to affordable financial solutions plays a key role in the operation and growth of the company, which bodes well for the development of the country,” said Smalling.

He noted that this decision is in line with the group’s strategy to add more value to SMEs and builds on previous agreements with international partners such as IDB Invest, to strengthen SME financing.

Jerome Smalling, CEO, JMMBBank

Paulo Martelli, Vice President and Chief Investment Officer of FinDevCanada


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