Jamaica gives the go-ahead to crowdfunding

Jamaica has become the latest country to jump on the crowdfunding bandwagon and give the idea the go ahead.

A panel of experts and policymakers at the Third International Conference in Ethiopia confirmed that expanding crowdfunding is something that Jamaica should be looking at. Jamaica’s Minister of Finance Dr Peter Phillips, co-chaired a side-event at the United Nations Financing for Development conference, and told the Jamaica Observer that crowdfunding could be a “genuinely exciting” way of “democratising finance”.

“Access to affordable financing is of central importance, especially if we are to satisfy the development goals which are the heart of this conference. There is the prospect of crowdfunding being a viable solution for helping Jamaica, and other countries, channel financing to small and medium enterprises to grow private sector investment,” the minister said.

In July of 2013, Jamaica’s first official crowdfunding site was launched by The Jamaica National Building Society, called https://www.isupportjamaica.com.

JNSBL general manager Philip Bernard said: “Our Jamaican landscape is lush with bright ideas that only require the necessary seed funding so that they can be explored and realised. Therefore, as a social organisation, JNSBL has developed this approach to broaden access for all our micro entrepreneurs, because this is a critical sector of the economy that will indeed play a major role in shaping the future of Jamaica.”

In 2014, the Jamaica bobsled team crowdfunded their way to the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Russia. Despite getting a place, they didn’t have enough finance to fund the trip themselves, so turned to the internet. They needed $80,000.00 to cover their travel and equipment costs, and launched a campaign on both Crowdtilt and Indiegogo. Of course, after the successful film Cool Runnings, the Jamaica bobsled team already have a ready audience and a high profile; and within a few hours they were able to raise $115,000 with $30,000 being donated by users of digital currency Dogecoin.

Moves by the Jamaican government to promote and expand crowdfunding can only be good for entrepreneurs and the small business sector; access to funds will become easier and more business ideas will have the opportunity to flourish.



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