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Richard Johnson (right) Marketing and Promotions Manager, JNSBL signs the Memorandum of Understanding with  Optimist International Regional Governor Dr. Winsome Halliman, (centre) and Mark Croskery of Croskery Capital Ltd while…looks on. The signing of the MoU took place at the JN Financial Centre on Belmont Road, New Kingston on February 4.

JN Small Business Loans has partnered with Optimist Jamaica International for their ‘Igniting the Entrepreneurial Mindset’ which is aimed at assisting young people to start their own businesses.

Under the partnership, JNSBL will provide a grant to the 2020 -2021 top three winners if they successfully pitch their ideas to Optimist International. Entrants should meet the criteria of being 23 years old and under, and be from schools or community-based groups. They will pitch their business ideas, initially in the local market, before moving on to zonal competition involving the entire Caribbean District of Optimists International clubs.

“We are pleased to be a part of this initiative because it will unlock the potential of more persons, especially young persons who want to become entrepreneurs but do not have the capital to start their businesses or  knowledge of the steps to take,” stated Richard Johnson, Marketing and Promotions Manager, JNSBL.

“This initiative will allow us to assist more persons and give young people especially those from at risk communities, the option to become entrepreneurs,” he added.

The announcement of the partnership took place at the JN Financial Centre on Belmont Road, New Kingston on February 4.

As part of the partnership, JNSBL will provide loans for Optimist International’s partners, volunteers or associates to support micro or small businesses, as well as business support and financial literacy training from the JN Foundation.

The winners will also receive complimentary client features on all digital platforms operated by JNSBL, such as social media and the company’s website.

“They will benefit from promotion through our social media platforms which has some 30,000 followers and also via other forms of communications. We believe this will help them to reach new customers to showcase their products,” Mr. Johnson added.

Optimist International Regional Governor Dr. Winsome Halliman, said entrepreneurship was one way in which her organisation could assist young people to realise their dreams.

“Our youth are challenged in this kind of environment. We see some of them taking to a life of crime. But we, as Opimists, who believe in the power of optimism, can do the work to make sure that we bring them to the realisation of their dreams,” she stated. “And one those dreams that we decided to work on, with their entrepreneurial spirit, is the creativity that abounds in our youth and just needs to be harnessed.”

 “They will benefit  quite a lot,” she explained. “In fact, they will benefit from seed capital for the first, second and third place winners, along with workshops, mentorship programmes and special concessions from JN Small Business Loans, as well as introducing them to the entrepreneurial world,” she added.

Optimist International aims at being recognised worldwide as the premier volunteer organisation that values children and helps them develop to their full potential.

Optimist Caribbean includes five islands — Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Cayman Islands, and Jamaica — and is known as the Caribbean District. The region has 79 clubs, of which 60 are located in Jamaica.

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