UTech, Jamaica GEM Report Presents Rich Data of Current Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

 The University of Technology, Jamaica on Thursday, September 14, 2017 launched the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Jamaica 2016 - 17 Report undertaken by a team of researchers drawn from its College of Business and Management. Pictured above, the researchers involved in the project discuss something of interest in the publication during the launch ceremony. From left are Dr. Andrea Sutherland, Mr. Michael Steele, Mrs. Vanetta Skeete, Dr. Claudette Williams-Myers, Dr. Girjanauth Boodra,j, lead researcher and Dr Gaunette Sinclair-Maragh.

The University of Technology, Jamaica on Thursday, September 14, 2017 hosted a special launch ceremony and symposium to announce the findings of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Jamaica 2016/17 Report, undertaken by a team of researchers drawn from the University’s College of Business and Management (COBAM). – Team Lead Researcher, Dr. Girjanauth Boodraj, Associate Professor, COBAM, Mr. Michael Steele, Head,  Joan Duncan School of Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Leadership (JDSEEL), Associate Professors, COBAM, Dr. Claudette Williams-Myers, Dr. Andrea Sutherland, Dr. Gaunette Sinclair-Maragh, Head, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management  (SHTM) and Mrs. Vanetta Skeete, Senior Lecturer, COBAM.

GEM is the largest study of entrepreneurship in the world.  Through a consortium of universities in 100 countries,   GEM data tracks the entrepreneurial attitudes, activities and motivation of entrepreneurs in the participating countries and monitors entrepreneurial framework conditions which promote or hinder the growth of entrepreneurship such as financial support, government policies, commercial and service infrastructure and physical infrastructure. GEM tracks rates of entrepreneurship across multiple phases of activity- potential entrepreneurs, nascent entrepreneurs, new business owners, established business owners and discontinued businesses.  UTech, Jamaica has been involved in producing the GEM Jamaica country report since 2005.

Associate Vice President, Graduate Studies, Research and Entrepreneurship, Dr. Paul Ivey who delivered the welcome on behalf of President Prof. Stephen Vasciannie, in congratulating the research team, noted that “the University of Technology, Jamaica is committed to conducting high-impact, inter-disciplinary and applied research, like the GEM project that focuses on an area relevant to economic and social problems in our society.”  He added that the University is happy to be playing its part in providing evidenced-based applied research in response to answering questions and providing rich data for Jamaica’s development.

Minister Fayval Williams lauds GEM data

Hon. Fayval Williams, MP, Minister of State, Ministry of Finance and the Public Service addressing the launch ceremony held at the Shared Facilities Complex, UTech, Ja. Papine campus.

Keynote speaker, Hon. Fayval Williams, MP, Minister of State, Ministry of Finance and the Public Service lauded the researchers and the high value of the GEM Report data in informing government policy and practice.  Citing recommendations from the GEM 2013 Jamaica report, Minister Williams disclosed that “the recommendations from the report on research into business discontinuation is factored into the emphasis that is now placed on the long-term sustainability of start-ups, business growth and reducing business failure as an important component of enabling a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation.” 

The Minister also noted that another recommendation from the GEM 2013 report for more youths to be exposed to entrepreneurship as a long term career option, particularly at the elementary level was brought to bear in revising the current MSME Policy that now focuses on the introduction of Entrepreneurship in the school curricula at all levels.

Minister Williams told the gathering of entrepreneurs, students, academics and members of the business community, that the government continues to place emphasis on initiatives aimed at capacity building and creating an enabling environment for MSMEs to flourish.  She noted that the updated data provided by the GEM 2016-17 report will be useful in “fixing the shortcomings in the way we support the entrepreneurship environment in Jamaica.”

“Jamaicans Hold Entrepreneurs in High Regard”

Members of the GEM research team presented the key findings of the study derived from an Adult Population Survey (APS) using a random sample of at least 2,020 adults between the ages of 18 and 64 and a National Experts Survey (NES) in which 36 business experts were interviewed.  GEM collects data from participating countries using these two common data collection instruments.  It harmonizes the data and compares results among countries categorized as factor-driven, efficiency-driven and innovation-driven.  Jamaica is categorized as an efficiency-driven economy.  In the measure of societal values of entrepreneurship, according to the Report, Jamaicans hold entrepreneurs in high regard, with 85% stating that starting a business is a desirable career choice.  This compares to only 64% for residents of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The principal indicator of GEM is the Total Early Stage Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) rate which measures the percentage of the adult population who are in the process of starting or have started a business. The researchers found that Jamaica’s TEA rate is 9.9% which is approximately 50% of that of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Among the other key findings are that Jamaicans positively perceive  the possibility of operating a business (85%); slightly more females (50.6%) than males (49.4%) are involved in entrepreneurship; Jamaicans are driven to engage in entrepreneurship by opportunities that exist and do not fear failure; and small, easy to start-up businesses dominate the entrepreneurial landscape in Jamaica.   The researchers also reported that 84% of Jamaicans believe that they have the required skill to start a business, while 38% expressed the intention to start a business over the next three years.  It was noted however, that “the will, courage and confidence of most Jamaicans to undertake entrepreneurial activities above the micro-enterprise level are lacking.”  The researchers recommended that factors that motivate entrepreneurial activity such as training, accessibility to financing, guidance and mentorship need to be maintained or strengthened.

The presentation of the report was followed by an entrepreneurship symposium.  The presenters were Dr. Ellen Campbell-Grizzle, Associate Professor, College of Health Sciences, UTech, Jamaica who provided a comprehensive overview of opportunities in “The Business of Cannabis.”  Dr. Campbell-Grizzle is leading the University’s research and development thrust in medical cannabis.   Entrepreneur, Ms Valrie Grant, Managing Director of GeoTech Vision Limited shared her own experiences  in a presentation on “Women in Entrepreneurship” and President of the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) shared with the audience on “Opportunities in Agripreneurship.”

‘Bursting with Ideas’ -

The bursting of 5 symbolic balloons mark the launch of the GEM Jamaica 2016/17 Report.  Participating from (l-r) Prof. Paul Golding, Dean, COBAM, Mrs. Marcia Reid-Grant, Assistant General Manager, Retail Banking, NCB - main sponsor of the GEM Jamaica Research Project, Miss Dionne Palmer, Incubator Manager, Technology Innovation Centre (TIC), JDSEEL, Hon. Fayval Williams, MP, Dr. Claudette Williams-Myers, Mrs. Vanetta Skeete, Mr. Michael Steele, Dr. Paul Ivey, Dr. Gaunette Sinclair-Maragh, Dr. Andrea Sutherland  and Dr. Girjanauth Boodraj.


Michelle Beckford (Mrs.)
Corporate Communications Manager
University of Technology, Jamaica
Telephone: 970-5299
Email: mbeckford@utech.edu.jm