In July 2013, JN (Jamaica National), known more for Home Loans and Mortgages, launched a revolutionary product that’s got many entrepreneurs talking, especially persons interested in going into Animation as announced in my article KingstOOn Animation Festival and GG’s “I Believe in Jamaica” Animation Training – Genesis of Animation Outsourcing.
At their Jamaica-Diaspora Conference from Sunday June 16th 2013 to Wednesday June 19th 2013 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, JN’s charity arm, JN Foundation and JNBSL (Jamaican National Small Business Loans) the SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) lending arm of the JNBS, launched the Caribbean’s first Crowdfunding website, iSupportJamaica.
The aim of this initiative is to draw upon the financial resources of the Denizens living on the Internet and the Jamaican diaspora to fund the innovative drive that exists in Jamaica that might otherwise be ignored or fail to get off the ground due to a lack of financial options as argued in Jamaica’s Lost Innovators – An untapped Source of Economic Prosperity.
Financing your idea in Jamaica is very difficult. Bank Loans, Credit Union loads or even Micro-financing all require that you be working for at least a year and either have collateral or the business be in operation for about six (6) months on average. Worse if you have an outstanding Loan, you’ll be locked out of getting funding, a frustration for many.
A Credit Card such as a NCB Credit Card or a Scotia VISA Debit Card as described “How to use Scotia VISA Debit Card Online” can help, as it’ll facilitate your purchase of equiptment and gear from abroad needed for your business that may not be easily sourced locally. Despite the negative flack that the often get, Credit Cards are a very good source of Business Financing.
They offer a source of Low Interest Rate borrowing but is best done while your company is viable and you have a job makes at least JA$60,000 per month to keep up with interest payments.
Fortunately there are options that require you to present your ideas in the form of a proposal:
JBDC (Jamaica Business Development Corporation) for Grant Funding for your proposed production facility
SRC (Scientific Research Council) for manufacturing facilities and assistance with packaging
Crowdfunding involves soliciting funds from donors who make their contributions to your project posted on a crowdfunding website. As the solicitor of funds for your project, you set the target for the amount of funding you wish to have for your project and the timeframe within which to achieve this target. If the target amount isn’t achieved, the donated funds are returned back to the donors. If the target is reached, however, you can get the funds from the crowdfunding website along with assistance on financing the project
The more details you give for your project in the form of written proposals published online (videos and pictures are a big help too!) the more likely you’ll be able to reach your funding goal. Examples of such crowdfunding websites are as follows:
Jamaica can now add iSupportJamaica, as it’s more convenient than those listed above in that you don’t have to get a US Bank Account or be a US Citizen to get funding. Also there the convenience of getting the funds via a Local Bank, in this case a Building Society’s Loan arm instead of via a Cheque that takes a few weeks to clear!
Also, because it’s controlled by JN, already well known in the Remittance business, it creates a level of trust that allows donors to more readily swipe their Credit Cards to aid a local Jamaican Project, knowing full well it’ll be manager by a professional team from JNBSL.
As more success stories get their projects funded successfully, word will begin to spread of iSupportJamaica until everyone in Jamaica will realize that this is a very viable source of funding for Animation to planting Zucchinis! Crowdfunding is a pathway to economic sustainability and a way for the Lost Innovators in Jamaica’s very diverse SME landscape to be found!
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