COVID-19 opportunity: Small businesses urged to innovate in the face of virus outbreak

Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Valerie Veira.

Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Valerie Veira, says the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) provides an opportunity for micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) operators to find new ways to expand their services and meet the needs of their consumers/clients.

“It is now a time to do some serious reflection on how we do what we do and how to serve our clientele better. There has to be a way forward. We have to identify new services and products based on what we are experiencing at the moment, as new niches are coming, so we should look at identifying them, and looking at how we convert them into new businesses,” she said.

Veira suggested that MSME operators should use this period to do research, which is crucial to product development. Entrepreneurs are also encouraged to formalise their operations in order to be viable for opportunities and support.

“If the Government comes up with packages for support for MSMEs, we have to understand that it is important that you are formally recognised as a business. This is crucial for MSMEs as they reach out for assistance so it is also a time to reflect on that,” she added.

The JBDC is also urging MSMEs to make use of technology as they interface with clients/partners as well as embrace other distribution channels like e-commerce.