Convenor Joseph Cox confirmed that 1.94 billion in confirmed investment matches had been facilitated. Speaking to the Jamaica Observer post-event, he said that the expo was designed to alleviate some of the problems associated with accessing financing, and gave 26 local entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their business plans to a panel of potential investors.
At the end of each pitch, the investors were required to complete a 'review sheet' which indicated if there was a 'definite match', 'need for further talks', or 'no interest'.
Once a match was identified or interest indicated, contingent on further talks, then the matter became a third-party issue between the investor and the pitcher.
Initially, over 48 entrepreneurs had registered online to participate, with the final number of businesses that made their pitches being selected after a series of capacity-building workshops.
"After participating in the workshops, a number of them [businesses] also opted to differ their pitch, in an effort to further refine their business plans," Cox said.
"Currently, domestic credit in Jamaica is less than 35 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is well below international benchmarks. This points to difficulty in accessing credit and is reflective of inadequate funding for investments and entrepreneurial activities, which, in part, is occasioned by an information deficit," Cox said at the launch.
FIRM is a collaborative effort between the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and the PIOJ, and aims to assist people with viable business ideas, or existing businesses that are under-funded and lack the requisite collateral or market information to access financing for their ventures.