Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Voucher?

What is the Voucher for Technical Assistance?

This is a voucher issued electronically by the DBJ’s Approved Financial Institutions or Project Manager and redeemed by Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) at Business Development Organisations (BDOs), to receive business support services with the aim of improving their business operations and the MSMEs’ ability to access credit. (See list of services covered under the project)

Entrepreneurs may also apply for vouchers online using the portal available on the voucher website at www.dbankjm.com/vta. The application will be reviewed by the Project Manager and the client will receive an email with the voucher information to be redeemed at a Business Development Organisation.

What do you mean by "Electronic Voucher"?

The voucher will not be printed and handed to the client. When a voucher is issued, the client will receive an automatically generated e-mail with a reference number, which should be taken to the BDO to access the required service.

Criteria for Assistance

Who qualifies for a voucher?

Any micro, small or medium-sized business entity organized for profit, with a place of business located in Jamaica, and which operates primarily within Jamaica or makes a significant contribution to the Jamaican economy through payment of taxes or use of Jamaican products, materials or labour. These businesses must operate in the productive sectors and should at least be registered as a sole trader. (See list of eligibility criteria)

Are there established criteria to be used by AFIs to determine which entrepreneur receives a voucher?

It is entirely up to the Loan Officer whether or not to issue a voucher to a client to support a loan application or to improve the operations of entrepreneur.

Who will determine the needs of the entrepreneur?

The financial institution or the Project Manager will establish the need or gap. The BDO will be required to hold discussions with the entrepreneur to determine what will improve their chances of getting a loan or improve the business in general. The Voucher for Technical Assistance Project Manager may determine that the client needs a special type of assistance, when they apply online.

Definition of MSME

Who is defined as a micro, small and medium entrepreneur?

The Ministry of Industry Investment and Commerce defines MSME as:

Firm Size No. of employees Total Annual Sales/Turnover
Micro ≤ 5 ≤ J$10 million
Small 6 - 20 > J$10 million ≤ J$50 million
Medium-sized 21 - 50 > J$50 million ≤ $J150 million

 

Can an enterprise be a person?

To benefit under the Voucher for Technical Assistance you must comply with one of the following business structures:

  1. A Company - a commercial enterprise registered or incorporated under the Companies Act of Jamaica.
  2. A Business - a sole trader or partnership registered under the Business Names Act of Jamaica.

Voucher Services

What is the value of the voucher?

Vouchers will have values ranging from $50,000 up to $500,000. The DBJ will finance up to 70% of the cost of each service or the value of the voucher, whichever is lower (inclusive of GCT). (See list of voucher services and associated value)

What can the voucher be used for?

Vouchers may be used for providing financial statements, mentorship and coaching, business process improvement, and to prepare business plans, strategic plans and marketing plans. In addition, product development services offered by the Scientific Research Council and The Bureau of Standards Jamaica may be accessed by using the voucher. A complete list of services may be viewed at www.dbankjm.com/vta/services.

BDO Selection

Who selects the Business Development Organisation (BDO) to be used - is it the financial institution or the DBJ?

The entrepreneur will choose which BDO to use. A list of BDOs from which the entrepreneur may choose can be found at www.dbankjm.com/vta/bdos.

How are BDOs selected to participate in the programme?

Once per year the DBJ will seek to accredit new Business Development Organisations to add to the list of those offering services under the programme.  BDOs are evaluated periodically and renewal of their accreditation is based on them providing high quality service.

Scope of Work

Who will determine the scope of work or terms of reference for the assistance that is given to the entrepreneur?

The SME in conjunction with the BDO will determine the scope of work.

What happens if the amount of work agreed on is greater than the value of the voucher?

The DBJ will only pay 70% of the cost of the service or the value of the voucher (inclusive of GCT), whichever is lower. An agreement should therefore be reached about the scope of work before starting the service, as the entrepreneur will be required to pay the balance.

Monitoring

Who will monitor the work done by the BDOs to determine the quality of their outputs?

The project manager will monitor the BDOs by liaising with the AFIs to ascertain if the documents received are satisfactory as well as with the entrepreneurs to determine if there are improvements in their operations as a result of the assistance received.

Agreements

Are there agreements between the stakeholders?

Memoranda of Agreement (MOAs) are signed between the DBJ and the BDOs as well as between the DBJ and the AFIs. Voucher beneficiaries will need to sign an agreement with the BDO before the service is provided.

Payment for Vouchers

What triggers payment by the DBJ to the BDO?

The BDO will request payment from DBJ with a Disbursement Request Form and invoice along with supporting documentation.

Period of Assistance

Is there a defined time within which the service for each voucher should take place?

Training or assistance packages should be completed within three to six months after receiving the voucher.

Do the vouchers have an expiration date?

Vouchers will expire 90 days after the date of issue. After the expiration date, the vouchers will be released from the system. Expired vouchers will need to be reissued.

How long will the programme of assistance last for?

After a successful one-year pilot from June 2014 to May 2015, the Voucher programme will continue for an additional 5 years to support the development of the MSME sector.