Speaking at the Observer’s weekly Monday Exchange yesterday, Dr K’nife said funds allocated to the the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), the Culture, Health, Arts, Science and Education (CHASE) Fund and the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) would be better spent creating a fund for entreprenurship to build businesses and create jobs.
“The state is clueless. I don’t think they have a clue as to what is required for entrepreneurship,” Dr K’nife stated. “They think it’s just building a wall, like how JSIF will spend $5 million to build a wall around a field, when that $5 million could be used to build capital for someone to establish a business that could build a wall after the business has been established.”
Dr K’nife, a lecturer in the Department of Management Studies on UWI’s Mona campus, said government confuses entrepreneurship with the micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) sector. He said there was no support for the development of high-growth enterprises out of MSMEs.
Organisations such as the CHASE Fund and TEF were not spared Dr K’nife’s cutting comments as he said they have been “locked into a particular type of funding” which “has not worked”.
Also, the focus of social intervention strategies such as the Peace Managment Initiative (PMI) and the Citizens’ Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) was wrong, Dr K’nife stated.
The lecturer suggested creating an angel fund for entrepreneurs out of these many areas of funding. Beneficiaries would be trained by the UWI, and the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) would oversee the projects for quality control under the plan.
“We won’t be able to sustain culture, arts, sports and education without enterprise,” Dr K’nife stated as he called for some of the proceeds of the lottery to be channelled into entrepreneurship.
Dr K’nife insisted that there was enough money to fund entrepreneurship in Jamaica, but it needed to be reallocated from areas where it was wasted.
He also lashed the Government for using the TEF to market the existing tourism product. It should be used to develop new attractions, event venues, and the creative industries instead, he said.
“We need to create things that will draw people here. What are those things? The sports, the health, the food…from Bob Marley to (Usain) Bolt,” he added.