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The Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) and the Honey Bun Foundation have announced the second iteration of a one-year development programme for Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) aimed at stimulating growth in the sector.

The Honey Bun Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Honey Bun Limited, developed the Advisory Committee Model as part of the programme to assist SMEs create the right business model to help them grow. The one-year programme will pair qualified SMEs with a team of three advisors from various fields, who will guide them towards achieving a strategic objective during the programme, using templates designed by the foundation.

Nashauna Lalah, general manager of The Honey Bun Foundation, said: “This is how you effect real change in the sector by collaborating. I am happy that having done a test model in 2023, the JMEA has seen the value of The Honey Bun Foundation’s advisory committee model and how it can benefit its members.”

Sydney Thwaites, CEO, Lubricating Specialties Company

Sydney Thwaites, president of the JMEA, said: “I feel very strongly about my experience with the Honey Bun Foundation and what I saw in the methodology, the structure, the caring, the accountability. I think it’s the best process I’ve seen, and so I was very excited to get on board with the JMEA. I look forward to the JMEA being able to gain an extension of the foundation and ensure we carry it out in the spirit in which it was created.

Kamesha Blake, executive director of the JMEA, added: “When we look at the structure of the programme, we see that it has great value and impact. Thus, it wasn’t a question of whether we would continue; rather, it’s a matter of how we can scale and encourage more members to sign on. As we progress through this cohort, we contemplate scaling even further because the more members we impact, the greater the opportunity for that multiplier effect, which is crucial for everyone. Small and medium-sized businesses are the heart and soul of our economy.

“If they succeed, so too does our economy and so I welcome all initiatives and measures that help SMEs realise their full potential,” she continued.

General Manager of The Honey Bun Foundation Nashauna Lalah (left), has the full attention of  President of the JMEA Sydney Thwaites and Executve Director JMEA Kamesha Blake during the signing of a MOU at JMEAs Haughton Avenue offices recently. (Photo: Contributed)

The Advisory Committee Programme will match five JMEA member companies from four sectors —beauty and cosmetics, food and beverage, digital service provider, and construction. The goal is to scale the SMEs, drive job creation, and increase economic activity.

Having mapped out the programme in 2022 through test studies, this is the third full cohort for the foundation and the first for the JMEA. The foundation continues in its quest to have the model adopted by other business support organisations so that more SMEs across the island can benefit not only by growing their business to profitability, but also by grounding them in sound corporate governance practices.

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