The Development Bank of Jamaica, DBJ, has improved aspects of its Innovation Grants Fund, with one of the key changes being an addition of 43% or $6 million to the funding each successful applicant can obtain.
DBJ announced the relaunch of the grant on Friday, which coincides with the start date for receiving another round of applications.
The revived program allows registered Jamaican medium-sized businesses to access up to $20 million in grants for business ventures deemed original and likely to generate revenue and employment.
DBJ does not limit funding for innovation projects to specific sectors, but the state-run agency requires applicants to have been in business for at least seven years.
The application window will remain open for over 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, through which DBJ intends to distribute $25 million, or 3 $.89 billion at the current exchange rate, to micro, small, and mid-size businesses.
BIGEE covers three distinct components which include Grant Funding, Capacity Building and Institutional Strengthening and Equity Funding, and which in turn have several sub-components. Its goal is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship among medium-sized businesses in Jamaica.
So far, DBJ has approved six projects under the program worth $78 million, three of which were Bare Nutrition Limited, Intermed Company and Sherwood Forest Coffee Company. The three were chosen from more than 100 applicants in the first round of the IGF launched in 2021.
At the time, the maximum funding for qualified entities was $14 million, but under the relaunched program, DBJ increased the cap to $20 million.
“We listened to feedback from business owners and considered feedback from our consultants on the need to improve several aspects of the IGF. This is what led us to relaunch the IGF with enhanced functionality,” BIGEE project manager Christopher Brown said in a statement released by the development bank.
Additionally, the DBJ has accredited a cadre of business consultants to help medium-sized business owners complete the second step of the application process – a detailed business plan.
“Companies applying for this grant must have an innovative business model and/or concept that will result in increased revenue and job creation. For example, it may be equipment that will replace a manual process. This must be new to Jamaica and/or the region,” Brown said.
At the close of the IGF, the development bank will open applications for the New Ideas for Entrepreneurship Innovation Grant, IGNITE, in July 2022. IGNITE, which dates back to October 2015, provides funding to businesses, from stage from idea to commercialization. IGNITE is for micro and small businesses.
The grant is divided into two parts. It provides up to $3 million to idea-stage companies and $7 million to commercialization-stage companies, DBJ said.