JA enterprise still strong

Montego Bay – Jamaica’s economy may be set to contract this year, but it is still a good time to start some businesses, said a financial specialist.

Frank Whylie is general manager of the Jamaica National Small Business Loans.

He said that while thousands of jobs may be lost and the economy may contract by 0.5 to two per cent as the global recession deepens this year, there are still plenty of opportunities in the micro and small business sector. This, he said, is because there are still some favourable niches in the economy.

A major area of opportunity has arisen in agriculture due to a faster than normal rise in global food prices.

‘Producers of livestock and cash crops enjoy special advantages as some consumers prefer fresh local products, and cash crops in particular have an advantage in terms of lower transportation costs,’ Whylie told participants in a Jamaica National Building Society seminar in Montego Bay last week.

‘And as contradictory as it may seem, the demand for some professional business services often rises in a recession,’ Whylie declared, adding that there is an increased demand for business plan preparation and business training as people lose their jobs and seek to chart a new course by retraining or starting a business.

He added that accounting and tax services providers have traditionally done well as businesses and private individuals cannot afford to dispense with them.