My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: JN Foundation and JNSBL launches Jamaica's first Crowdfunding website, iSupport Jamaica - Local Crowdfunding to the rescue of Jamaican Innovators so you don't have to be The Lone Ranger

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

JN Foundation and JNSBL launches Jamaica's first Crowdfunding website, iSupport Jamaica - Local Crowdfunding to the rescue of Jamaican Innovators so you don't have to be The Lone Ranger



“This is not a novel approach, but it is taking an idea that has been working for many countries around world, and transforming it into something totally Jamaican, to support our aspirations and development targets and provide a means for our Jamaicans abroad and well-wishers everywhere to partner with Jamaica and make a difference by just assisting one entrepreneur”

Excerpt from presentation by JNSBL General Manager Philip Bernard at 2013 Jamaica-Diaspora Conference, held June 16-19 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James

JNBS (Jamaica National Building Society) has done it yet again, leading the Banking Sector by example. They pioneered among Local Banks the idea of using your Debit Card as your Bank Account as described in my blog article entitled “JNBS Introduces Swipe and Go, eliminating Bank Books - Secret of Wings for a Cashless Society in Jamaica”, a convenience for those of us already used to this from another bank that Canadian owned, that being Scotia Bank.


Now they’ve gone a step further and introduced the first Crowdsourcing website for soliciting funds for Local Jamaica projects called I Support Jamaica as stated in the article “JNSBL unveils island's first crowd-funding website”, published Monday June 24, 2013, The Jamaica Gleaner and “JN to launch Jamaica's 'first' crowd-funding website” published Sunday, June 23, 2013, The Jamaica Observer.

Launched at the 2013 Jamaica-Diaspora Conference from Sunday June 16th 2013 to Wednesday June 19th 2013 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James, the wholly Jamaican Crowdfunding website I Support Jamaica is an initiative of the JN Foundation, the Charity arm of the JNBS and JNSBL (Jamaican National Small Business Loans) the SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) lending arm of the JNBS.

Crowdfunding basically involves soliciting funds from donors who make their contributions to your project which is posted online. As the solicitor of funds for your project, you set the target for the amount of funding you wish to have for your project. The more details you give for you project in the form of written proposals published online (videos and pictures are a big help too!) the more likely you’ll be able to reach your funding goal.

An example of a project that can be crowdfunded and for which I might take up the challenge is the making of affordable Citronella Candles to replace Mosquito Destroyers as explained in my blog article entitled “Minister of Health calls for Public Support for ban on Smoking in Public Spaces - How to kill mosquitoes using a Carbon Dioxide Generator Mosquito Trap”.

Many SME usually pursue their business dreams by getting assistance from one of the following GOJ (Government of Jamaica) Funding Agencies:

1.      JBDC (Jamaica Business Development Corporation) for VC funding for your proposed production facility
2.      SRC (Scientific Research Council) for manufacturing facilities and assistance with packaging

Getting a Credit Card such as a NCB Credit Card or a Scotia VISA Debit Card  as described in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to use Scotia VISA Debit Card Online” for purchasing items abroad is definately a good idea. Credit Cards are actually source of Low Interest Rate borrowing but is best done while you have a job that pays at least JA$100,000 per month.

Credit Cards also facilitate your purchase of equiptment and gear from abroad needed for your business that may not be easily sourced locally. Best to go with the Scotia Credit Card or even the Scotia VISA Debit Card as described in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to use Scotia VISA Debit Card Online”.

However, if Credit Card and Proposal Writing is not up your alley, then Crowdfundin is just right for you. You can seek a loan from a Building Society or in this case opt to go the crowdfunding route as described in the article “Crowdfunding to raise cash online for Jamaica’s kids”, Posted by Ingrid Riley on May 22nd, 2012, SiliconCaribe and “Finance Your Projects with Crowd Funding”, published Sunday, April 28, 2013 BY SHAMILLE SCOTT, Business reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

Some great sources of Crowdfunding are listed in Roger’s blog article entitled “Jamaica’s Lost Innovators – An untapped Source of Economic Prosperity and are listed below:

1.      Kickstarter
2.      IndieGogo
3.      RocketHub
4.      GoFundMe
5.      Kiva

As you can see, there are several sources of funding for SME’s in Jamaica but very few for VC (Venture Capital) or start-ups. So the I Support Jamaica can be added to that list to fill the gap for Crowdfunding and VC funding that has existed in Jamaica as very few Jamaican know where to go to get funding for their projects and may have thought of giving up on their dream idea.

Although the idea is not new, it’s geared specifically toward Jamaicans without the hassle of having to have a US Bank Account in a US bank or having to wait on Paypal to send you funds as a cheque. You get the funds straight in your Bank Account and the donors can be local Jamaicans, Jamaicans in the foreign Diaspora or anyone who happens across the website.

The loans are managed and structured by the JNBS, making it a secure platform for innovator to promote their projects and local VC’s to fund the project without being deceived in to giving away money. Best of all, as it’s a Jamaican website, if you’re a local Jamaican investor, you can get to meet the person directly and see what they are about and even make further contributions to the project.

Everything from Citronella Candles to Animation as explained by my blog article entitled “Inaugural KingstOOn Animation Competition a boost to local Animation Industry - State Minister Julian Robinson give Graphic Artists the chance to Feel this Moment Pitbull and Christina Aguilera Style” can be funded via I Support Jamaica. In the next few months, as Jamaicans begin to take advantage of this first for Jamaica, it’ll make many innovators and dreamers experience there This Moment for Life Nikki Minaj Style.



I just hope that the JNBS gets a good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Manager to drive traffic to the website otherwise it’ll be for naught if very little international traffic is coming to the website. Local Crowdfunding to the rescue of Jamaican Innovators so Jamaicans don't have to be The Lone Ranger (2013).

Here’s the link:
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