Despite the numerous job losses that impacted Jamaicans across the island in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, entrepreneural spirit, resilience and creativity led many Jamaicans to pivot toward new business opportunities throughouth 2020.
Making his opening contribution to the 2021-2022 State of the Nation Debate in the Upper House on Friday (June 25), Government Senator Don Wehby built on a previous revelation from Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke when he outlined that there were 12,809 business names and 3,935 companies registered by entrepreneurs and investors with the Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) in 2020.
READ: Don Wehby | Jamaica building back stronger (Part I), Don Wehby | Jamaica building back stronger (Part II)- Signs and hopes for recovery and New company registrations hit all-time high amid COVID-19
Wehby indicated that the outturns represent a 12 per cent increase for business names and three per cent rise for companies over 2019, despite the pandemic.
In March, Clarke had stated in opening the 2021-2022 Budget Debate that the country had seen the largest number of new company registrations and new business registrations in its history in 2020.
He acknowledged, however, that, though commendable, the data was not an indicator of current economic activity but rather an indicator of intentions and possibilities.
On Friday, Wehby said the entrepreneurial spirit ignited last year during the global health crisis was a testament to the resilience of locals, adding that “we have to big up our Jamaican entrepreneurs”.
In a nod to the value of technology in creating a smoother system to foster entrepreneurship, he noted too that over 25 per cent of the registrations in 2020 were done using the COJ’s electronic business registration platform.
The portal is the digital version of the COJ’s Super Form, which introduced the one-stop-shop approach to registrations, linking several critical government agency systems.
An executive agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, the COJ’s principal roles are: registering and regulating companies and businesses; maintaining accurate and up-to-date records on commercial entities, and administering the National Security Interests in Personal Property Online Registry.
The COJ registers local and overseas companies, and individuals and firms conducting business in Jamaica.
Through the entity’s website, the public can ascertain companies’ or businesses’ legal status, statutory compliance, and ownership
The COJ encourages voluntary compliance by companies and businesses with the Companies Act 2004, the Companies (Amendment Act) 2013, and the Registration of Business Names Act of 1934.
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