Business
JM | Sep 22, 2022

Scotiabank’s Vision Achiever programme fuelling post-pandemic growth of SMEs

/ Our Today

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The 2022 cohort of the Scotiabank Vision Achiever programme celebrate the end of their 17-week business transformation programme with executives from Scotiabank, ActionCoach Jamaica and 2022 sponsors. (Photo: Contributed)

Scotiabank continues to assist small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners to transform and expand their businesses, through its annual Vision Achiever (SVA) programme.  

This year, Jesse’s Gifts & Décor, a personalised gift, and home décor company; Homemaid Jamaica Limited, a company that connects clients to reliable housekeepers, caregivers and nannies; and Somers Furnishing – a St Ann-based bespoke wooden furniture manufacturer emerged atop a cohort of 24 small businesses who participated in the annual SME development programme at an awards ceremony held at the AC Marriott Hotel on Tuesday (September 20).  

The top three emerged from the group of business owners who altogether received prizes totalling J$5 million following their participation in a 17-week-long capacity-building course led by Marcia Woon Choy, CEO of ActionCoach Jamaica.  The winners were selected based on their attendance, completion of modular assignments, and the ‘real-life’ implementation of practical learnings during the course. 

The three top-performing business owners in the 2022 Scotiabank Vision Achiever programme (from left) Nastassia Morrison of Homemaid Jamaica Ltd., Kiddist Cowans of Jesse’s Gifts and Decor, and Rushane Somers of Somers Furnishing Ltd. (Photo: Contributed)

During the closing ceremony, Perrin Gayle, executive vice-president of retail and small business banking at Scotiabank said that the bank continues to demonstrate its commitment to the empowerment, growth, and development of Jamaica’s small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 

He also expressed delight that the programme was able to have a positive impact on these businesses, many of which experienced significant challenges during the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The 2022 cohort included participants from varying industries including healthcare services, education, retail and distribution, manufacturing, agriculture, and environmental solutions. 

“The Scotiabank Vision Achiever Programme is one of our long-standing commitments to our SMEs and we have invested almost $100 million in this programme over the last 12 years. These participants have now benefited from one-on-one business consultations and training and have joined an elite group of businesses known as the Scotiabank Vision Achievers,” Gayle said. 

Industry and Commerce Minister Aubyn Hill, guest speaker at the recent event, disclosed that while he celebrated the successful investment of Scotiabank into the small business sector, it was equally refreshing that SMEs could find opportunities to thrive despite the economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kiddist Cowans (left), CEO of Jesse’s Gifts and Decor, greets Senator Aubyn Hill, Minister of Industry, Investment, and Commerce at the 2022 Scotiabank Vision Achiever closing ceremony and mini expo. Looking on is her husband and business partner, Jerome Cowans.(Photo: Contributed)

“You are now celebrating the best investment that you have made in your business. You are now proficient in the core competencies required to run a profitable business, and that is a great achievement. I am a part of a government that believes in profit, and we will continue to support more businesses to become profitable,” Hill said.  

 “The practical strategies that we learnt throughout the programme we could implement right away. This was amazing and can be seen in the vast improvement in our revenues and profits,” commented Rushane Somers, owner of Somers Furnishing. He also reported that his company’s revenue increased by nearly 140 per cent during his participation in the programme. 

Nastassia Morrison, managing director of Homemaid Jamaica Ltd., expressed satisfaction with her learnings and said, “during the programme, we learnt about the value of implementing strong systems in our business and so we upgraded our systems to make them more automated and so far, it has greatly boosted our efficiency in managing the services that we offer.”

Morrison was also awarded a J$250,000 grant from the DBJ as “most outstanding female entrepreneur” in this year’s programme. 

Kiddist Cowan, owner of Jesse’s Gifts and Décor said it was a transformational journey, that went above and beyond her expectations. “We are very grateful to Scotiabank for investing in us, and we look forward to seeing our businesses continue to grow,” Cowan said.   Since joining the programme, her company has achieved approximately 41 per cent growth in revenue versus the same period last year. 

Hugh Grant (left) general manager of the Development Bank of Jamaica project management office engages in conversation with Marcia Woon Choy (centre), CEO of Action Coach Jamaica Ltd., and Perrin Gayle, executive vice-president for retail and SME banking at Scotiabank at the 2022 closing ceremony for the Scotiabank Vision Achiever programme, which was held at the AC Marriot Hotel in Kingston on Tuesday, September 20, 2022. (Photo: Contributed)

The top three winners walked away with a plaque from Scotiabank, a J$250,000 in grant from the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), J$250,000 in advertising value towards marketing of their product and services from Trend Media,  J$200,000 in advertising from the Jamaica Gleaner and a $200,000 gift certificate from Ashley Furniture Home. All twenty-four participants received a free digital course– courtesy of the iCreate Institute valued at $US750. 

The Scotiabank Vision Achiever programme has been part of Scotiabank’s offerings to SMEs and is open to any eligible business, including companies not aligned with the bank.  

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