By Charnele Henry
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) – Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) wishing to take their businesses online can now benefit from funding through the National Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of Jamaica’s ‘EXIM E-commerce Funder’.
The $100-million loan fund, which is a partnership between the EXIM Bank and the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), was launched in September to help businesses improve their digital footprint in the e-commerce space.
The EXIM E-commerce Funder is suited for businesses seeking to upgrade or develop digital platforms to aid in increasing sales and marketing by appealing to a wider audience and accessing global markets.
The loan is open to businesses that have been registered for two years or more, members of the JMEA and all small businesses seeking assistance from the development to execution of an e-commerce platform.
Manager, loan origination and business development at EXIM Bank, Hopeton Nicholson, said the move of many local businesses online during the COVID-19 pandemic, partly gave rise to the EXIM E-commerce Funder.
“In recent times, during the pandemic, we saw a greater focus where a lot of businesses pivoted and were focused on meeting the clients instead of the clients coming to their doors or brick and mortar [location]. So, we saw an opportunity to explore, to expose, to develop and to encourage our clients to be more profitable in the online space,” Nicholson told JIS News.
Through the EXIM E-commerce Funder, MSMEs can access from as low as $1 million up to $5 million, with maximum financing of 80 per cent of project cost with up to five years to repay. MSMEs will also benefit from an interest rate of five per cent and loan commitment fees of 2.3 percent, which can be funded from loan proceeds.
The loan origination and business development manager shared that businesses can access loans to facilitate financing of equipment; setting up of servers; establishing a digital logistic hub for storage and packaging in the country being exported to; development, maintenance and hosting of the website; and search engine optimisation and online marketing.
Nicholson said that to access the loan product, entities are required to present business registration documents, a certificate of good standing and a tax compliance certificate.
“There are also a few ‘Know Your Customer’ documents, which includes identification (ID), proof of address, credit bureau consent form, customer agreement and an application form for the funding,” he noted.
Additionally, eligible businesses will need to provide collateral in the form of residential or commercial real estate, hypothecation of funds, serialised equipment directly related to e-commerce, and personal and bank guarantees.
To apply for loans under the EXIM E-commerce Funder, businesses can visit the EXIM Bank website at www.eximbankja.com or their offices at 85 Hope Road, Kingston 6, where they may speak with any of the bank’s business development officers.