Frequently Asked Questions

The Access to Finance Project (A2F) is a partnership between the Government of Jamaica and the World Bank. The A2F Project is being executed by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ). The project consists of 4 components geared towards the development of financial instruments/products that will support the MSME ecosystem. Notably products being development by the A2F programme are: Reverse Factoring, SME Fund and supporting the DBJ’s Credit Enhancement Fund (CEF) and Voucher for Technical Assistance Programme (VTA).

Here’s a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the Access to Finance Project:

General FAQ

1. What is the Reverse Factoring?
Reverse Factoring also known as supply chain financing is where a Supplier receives early payment on its accounts receivables (goods/services delivered) by a process that is started by the Buyer (ordering company). MSMEs can have access to Reverse Factoring through application to the DBJ
2. What is the SME Fund and how will it help MSMEs?
The A2F Project will support the establishment of US$ 15 million public-private SME Fund of 10 years extendable to 12 or 15 years, which would provide US$100K- US$2 million (US$750,000 average amount) in risk capital to established SMEs with high growth potential and with operations in Jamaica, but that have not been deemed investment worthy by private equity funds constraints.
3. What is the Credit Enhancement Fund?
The Credit Enhancement Fund is designed to provide collateral support to MSMEs who may have no or insufficient collateral to access funding.
4. What are the Eligibility Criteria for MSME’s under the CEF?
• Annual Turnover < J$425 million • Business should be in operation for 24 months • Start-ups in operation for over a year • Credit worthy companies or individuals (enterprises operating in Jamaica with at least 51 percent Jamaican ownership. • Company Registered
5. How much funds can MSME’s have guaranteed?
• 80% up to a maximum guarantee coverage of J$30 million for GENERAL MSME loans. • 90% up to a maximum guarantee coverage of J$10 million for small loans up to J$11 million for Small Loans. • 80% up to a maximum guarantee coverage of J$5 million for start-up enterprises.
6. What is the turnaround time for gaining the CEF for an entrepreneur?
An eligible MSME applying for the CEF should be approved within a week. This may vary based on MSME AFI.
7. What is the Voucher for Technical Assistance Programme and how does A2F support it?
The Voucher for Technical Assistance (VTA) is designed to assist micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in strengthening their managerial and administrative abilities to improve their creditworthiness through the provision of vouchers for business development services. VTA vouchers can be accessed through dbjvoucher.com. Values of vouchers vary from J$50,000 up to as J$200,000 and can be used to access business development services (e.g financial statements preparation) through Business Development Organisations. The A2F project will support the VTA through the provision of a new platform for the administration of the program.

About Vouchers

What is the Voucher for Technical Assistance?
This is a voucher issued electronically by the DBJ’s Approved Financial Institutions or Project Manager and redeemed by Micro and Small-sized Enterprises (MSEs) at Business Development Organisations (BDOs), to receive business support services with the aim of improving their business operations and the MSEs’ ability to access credit. (See list of services covered under the project) Entrepreneurs may also apply for vouchers online using the portal available on the voucher website at www.dbankjm.com/vta. The application will be reviewed by the Project Manager and the client will receive an email with the voucher information to be redeemed at a Business Development Organisation.
What do you mean by "Electronic Voucher"?
The voucher will not be printed and handed to the client. When a voucher is issued, the client will receive an automatically generated e-mail with a reference number, which should be taken to the BDO to access the required service.
Who qualifies for a voucher?
Any micro or small-sized business entity organized for profit, with a place of business located in Jamaica, and which operates primarily within Jamaica or makes a significant contribution to the Jamaican economy through payment of taxes or use of Jamaican products, materials or labour. These businesses must operate in the productive sectors and should at least be registered as a sole trader. (See list of eligibility criteria)
Are there established criteria to be used by AFIs to determine which entrepreneur receives a voucher?
It is entirely up to the Loan Officer whether or not to issue a voucher to a client to support a loan application or to improve the operations of entrepreneur.
Who will determine the needs of the entrepreneur?
The financial institution or the Project Manager will establish the need or gap. The BDO will be required to hold discussions with the entrepreneur to determine what will improve their chances of getting a loan or improve the business in general. The Voucher for Technical Assistance Project Manager may determine that the client needs a special type of assistance, when they apply online.
What is the value of the voucher?
Vouchers will have values ranging from $50,000 up to $200,000. The DBJ will finance up to 70% of the cost of each service or the value of the voucher, whichever is lower (inclusive of GCT). (See list of voucher services and associated value)
What can the voucher be used for?
Vouchers may be used for providing financial statements, mentorship and coaching, business process improvement, and to prepare business plans, strategic plans and marketing plans. In addition, product development services offered by the Scientific Research Council and the Bureau of Standards Jamaica may be accessed by using the voucher. A complete list of services may be viewed at www.dbankjm.com/vta/services.
Is there a defined time within which the service for each voucher should take place?
Training or assistance packages should be completed within three to six months after receiving the voucher.
Do the vouchers have an expiration date?
Vouchers will expire 90 days after the date of issue. After the expiration date, the vouchers will be released from the system. Expired vouchers will need to be reissued.
How long will the programme of assistance last for?
After a successful one-year pilot from June 2014 to May 2015, the Voucher programme will continue for an additional 5 years to support the development of the MSME sector.
What triggers payment by the DBJ to the BDO?
The BDO will request payment from DBJ with a Disbursement Request Form and invoice along with supporting documentation.

Partners

Who is defined as a micro and small enterprise?
The Ministry of Industry Investment and Commerce defines MSE as: Firm Size No. of employees Total Annual Sales/Turnover Micro ≤ 5 ≤ J$10 million Small 6 - 20 > J$10 million ≤ J$75 million
Can an enterprise be a person?
To benefit under the Voucher for Technical Assistance you must comply with one of the following business structures: 1. A Company - a commercial enterprise registered or incorporated under the Companies Act of Jamaica. 2. A Business - a sole trader or partnership registered under the Business Names Act of Jamaica.
Who selects the Business Development Organisation (BDO) to be used - is it the financial institution or the DBJ?
The entrepreneur will choose which BDO to use. A list of BDOs from which the entrepreneur may choose can be found at www.dbankjm.com/vta/bdos.
How are BDOs selected to participate in the programme?
Once per year the DBJ will seek to accredit new Business Development Organisations to add to the list of those offering services under the programme. BDOs are evaluated periodically and renewal of their accreditation is based on them providing high quality service.
Who will determine the scope of work or terms of reference for the assistance that is given to the entrepreneur?
The SME in conjunction with the BDO will determine the scope of work.
What happens if the amount of work agreed on is greater than the value of the voucher?
The DBJ will only pay 70% of the cost of the service or the value of the voucher (inclusive of GCT), whichever is lower. An agreement should therefore be reached about the scope of work before starting the service, as the entrepreneur will be required to pay the balance.
Who will monitor the work done by the BDOs to determine the quality of their outputs?
The project manager will monitor the BDOs by liaising with the AFIs to ascertain if the documents received are satisfactory as well as with the entrepreneurs to determine if there are improvements in their operations as a result of the assistance received.
Are there agreements between the stakeholders?
Memoranda of Agreement (MOAs) are signed between the DBJ and the BDOs as well as between the DBJ and the AFIs. Voucher beneficiaries will need to sign an agreement with the BDO before the service is provided.