Business
JM | Dec 4, 2020

Digital marketing, e-commerce firms to drive opportunities for local MSMEs

/ Our Today

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Two international firms, through partnership with the Jamaican government, are set to deliver digital marketing solutions and e-commerce opportunities to local micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs).

The move is being pushed as a mechanism to help MSMEs cope with the impact of physical distancing and other restrictive measures that have become necessary as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This digitalisation programme is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, and was initiated as back in August 2019 through an arrangement with Kolau, a Google-affiliated small business online marketing solution. Since then, more than 1,000 MSMEs have created webpages and increased their market visibility to customers locally and overseas.

The Kolau arrangement allows merchants to create their own webpage in less than five minutes at no cost and offers top placement in Google’s search results in the Google Map section free of cost to its clients. Persons transacting business with merchants who use the Kalou platform are required to make payment using PayPal.

E-commerce generator Fygaro is the latest entrant to the programme with that relationship cemented last October.

Fygaro provides options to assist MSMEs with basic e-commerce services, through the Jamaica Business Development Corporation, the National Commercial Bank and other members of the MSMEs ecosystem.

The partnership offers businesses the opportunity to create their own website, facilitate online stores, payment buttons, links for social media, WhatsApp, invoicing, order management, online accounting and logistics integration.

Both platforms (Kolau and Fygaro) are being utilised to further the Government’s goal of digitalising 25,000 MSMEs by 2022.

Merchants operating via Fygaro will incur no setup cost but are required to pay a minimal monthly fee of US$15 for the integrated suite of services. Under the arrangement with the government, merchants who sign up with Fygaro will benefit from a three-month free trial period.

Both platforms (Kolau and Fygaro) are being utilised to further the Government’s goal of digitalising 25,000 MSMEs by 2022. Additionally, MSMEs are being trained in digital marketing and other capacity-building subject areas via webinars and YouTube live sessions in order to optimise their operation in the digital marketplace.

In recognising the importance of the digital space in business, particularly within an environment characterised by physical distancing and curfews, initiatives such as these are being pursued by the government to drive local businesses, increase market access, expand customer base and boost earning potential. This initiative is considered particularly relevant as businesses try to find creative ways of weathering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the market. The programme is also consistent with the objectives of the MSME and Entrepreneurship Policy, 2018 to ‘internationationalise’ small businesses in Jamaica and to increase their sales and exports of goods and services internationally.

Business owners wishing to take advantage of this opportunity can begin the process through the Ministry’s MSME webpage at http://www.micaf.gov.jm/content/msme and on the website of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) at http://www.jbdc.net.

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