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Entrepreneurs Igniting Growth in Jamaica

fcgp Jamaica

The Foundation for Competitiveness and Growth has served the Jamaican economy in many ways including providing essential funding and support to small and medium-sized enterprises, like Spur Tree Spices and Partytime Serrvices. 

World Bank

As the sun rises, the team at Party Times Services springs into action. Uniformed workers unload tents, tables, chairs, and party supplies from the truck. They assemble the tents, arrange rows of tables, decorate the venue, and in a few hours the vacant lawn is transformed into a scene of celebration. In the evening, yet another memorable wedding will take place under the white tents, giving birth to memories that will last a lifetime. 

Party Times Services is one of the leading companies in Kingston which provides event-management services: renting tents, furniture, cutlery, security fences and more. Through its strategic community engagement philosophy, Party Time Services employs many persons from its domicile, Grants Pen. Its annual turnover is close to JMD 30 million.

However, some years ago, Party Time Services and its owner Orville Arscott were in a different place. In 2005, Orville bought the company with a modest $2.5 million turnover. He started growing the business – there was no lack of parties in Jamaica - but Orville could not achieve exponential growth due to a lack of equipment. His inventory comprised 10-meter by 10-meter tents, accommodating approximately 100 guests each. His clients – private and commercial organizations - were seeking to organize larger events but he could not satisfy that demand. He did not have the capital to buy larger tents. 

It was at this point that Orville discovered a loan facility offered by the Development Bank of Jamaica, through its network of Authorized Financial Institutions (AFIs). The facility provided loans totaling USD 20.2 million to small and medium-sized companies in Jamaica. The initiative was part of the joint Government of Jamaica/World Bank’s Foundations for Competitiveness and Growth Project.

Orville’s secured a loan of over USD 30,000. With this money, he expanded his stock of tents, including purchasing 60-meter by 30-meter units, which could accommodate up to 1500 people - a rare offer in the Jamaican market. Additionally, he invested in acquiring portable toilets, further enhancing the comprehensive offerings of his business.

Coupled with his excellent management skills and the dedication of the team, his company became one of the top five biggest event management companies in Jamaica. His revenue grew from J$2.5 million at inception to nearly J$30 million due in large measure to leveraging the loan proceeds. What’s more important to Orville – he is now able to contribute to his community. “I can confidently say that on a yearly basis, we are contributing close to $ 10 million into the local economy in terms of salaries we pay to our workers,” Orville said. 

Orville also launched a charity project, providing free breakfasts for the vulnerable in his community - Grant’s Pen, a place known for periodic simmering volatility. His aspiration for the company is to become a household name in Jamaica, synonymous with parties and celebrations. He also plans to continue supporting his community by offering more jobs and various charitable initiatives.

“Jamaica has fascinated me with its entrepreneurial potential. I met dozens of entrepreneurs, including many women, who are innovating and growing their businesses with hard work. I'm glad to see that 140 companies were able to expand, contributing not only to their own growth but creating a multiplier effect by generating employment opportunities, fostering innovation, and driving economic development across various sectors," said Lilia Burunciuc, World Bank Director for the Caribbean

Orville is among many other entrepreneurs, who have benefited from the Foundation for Competitiveness and Growth Project. The project, implemented between 2014 and 2024, aimed to strengthen the business environment in Jamaica. One of the project’s main components – a loan facility – helped 140 small and medium enterprises like Orville’s Party Time Services to gain access to critical financing. But, supporting companies with finance is only one of many pillars to enable businesses to thrive. Businesses also require an environment with efficient regulations and transparent rules.

Improvement in Jamaica's economic performance captures different dimensions of business regulation. The project has supported firms, including micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, to avoid bankruptcy and identify a path to re-finance their operations by strengthening the operations of the Office of the Supervisor of Insolvency, including through digitization of its processes and integration into the Jamaica Business Gateway. Creating greater access to these services via an online mechanism, through the Jamaica Business Gateway, will bolster enterprises and help them to remain viable. 

To stimulate the economy at a larger scale and provide funds to the government from divestment of assets, the project facilitated private investment into key infrastructure assets. Transactions supported under the FCGP Project Preparation Facility include the Rio Cobre Water Treatment Plant PPP, the School Solar Energy & Efficiency PPP as well as the divestment of Caymanas Track Limited and the Wigton Windfarm privatization. The project helped to attract private investment through public-private partnerships and divestments, mobilizing US $520 million of project and actual private capital. This significantly surpassed the target of US $200 million. Strategic investments like these will be key to generating long-term growth in Jamaica.

"The Foundation for Competitiveness and Growth has served the Jamaican economy in many ways.  By providing essential funding and support to small and medium-sized enterprises, it fostered entrepreneurship and fueled economic expansion and job creation,” said Mr. David Wan, Acting Managing Director of the Development Bank of Jamaica. “By attracting private investments in key infrastructure assets, it is helping to enhance our economic competitiveness. All these efforts are key to strengthening the fabric of our economy," Mr. Wan added.

Through the project’s efforts additional direct and complementary support to MSMEs has been offered. This included initiatives such as the Supply Chain Grant Facility (the Jamaica Business Fund), also managed by the DBJ, and the Export Max programme, - managed by JAMPRO - which supported firms to expand their existing enterprises or venture into new export markets. Further, the enabling environment in support of businesses was also bolstered by the project with revision of the MSME Policy and Implementation Plan, in March 2024.

The Government of Jamaica has committed counterpart financing to continue funding implementation of investment climate reforms through March 2025 to deliver even more benefits to the private sector over the medium to longer term. This extended focus augurs well for sustainability of project outputs.


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