You can access up to $200,000 under the DBJ Voucher for Technical Assistance Programme (sponsored by the Government of Jamaica) for the following services under the:
- Business Plan Preparation
- Financial Statements
- Strategic Plans
- Financial Management
- Marketing Plans
- Website Development
- Business Risk Assessment
- Mentorships & Coaching
Acumen Pro (Linkar Education Limited) is an approved Business Development Organization (BDO) for the Voucher for Technical Assistance Programme, managed by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ).
The Development Bank of Jamaica has introduced a programme called the Voucher for Technical Assistance (VTA) to assist micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in strengthening their managerial and administrative abilities to improve their creditworthiness.
What are Vouchers?
Under the Voucher for Technical Assistance (VTA), micro, small and medium-sized businesses which operate in the productive sectors may receive vouchers in various denominations to be used to access business support services provided by Acumen Pro and other accredited Business Development Organisations (BDOs).
Entrepreneurs who operate businesses in all the traditional industries as well as those operating in emerging industries qualify for assistance under the programme. Traditional industries are agriculture, agro-processing, tourism, energy, manufacturing, mining, and services while emerging industries include animation and information technology.
MSMEs may also access other DBJ services and loan products, including the Credit Enhancement Facility (CEF), which are designed to help build capacity and set them on the path of sustainability.
An entrepreneur who does not wish to access a loan but wishes to improve his/her business operations, or prepare for other types of investment, may apply for a voucher online on the DBJ’s website. The application will be assessed by the Project Manager who will approve or deny each application using the criteria set out in the programme documents.
It is important for the entrepreneur to be aware that the DBJ’s technical assistance should not only improve its ability to access funding but should also assist in maintaining a sustainable business operation. Therefore, the DBJ and its partners will monitor the activities of the beneficiaries after the completion of the assistance package
How It Works
Voucher Process Flow Diagram (Online Applications)
(Acumen Pro is a BDO)
Voucher Process – Online Applications
- Entrepreneurs retrieve application form on voucher website – www.dbjvoucher.com
- Completed form is submitted to email@example.com (link sends e-mail)
- The client receives an automatic email confirming receipt of application (this is not a voucher)
- The project manager may interview the client, regarding the information in the application
- Project manager evaluates the applications and either approve or deny the request via email.
- If approved, a voucher is emailed to the client.
- The client redeems the voucher at a BDO of his/her choice
- The project manager will follow-up with clients to track the progress of their business.
- The client’s business should be improved by the services and may use the resulting document to improve access to financing.
MSME Selection Criteria
The project manager will use the following criteria to determine if the applicant is issued with a voucher:
- Entity is registered with the Companies Office of Jamaica and has valid Tax Compliance Certificate (TCC).
- The business entity has not previously received 2 vouchers within the last 2 years.
- The entrepreneur has demonstrated that the vouchers will have the potential to improve his/her business operations and strategy; for example:
- Assist the recipient entity to grow (increase revenues, allow recipient to access new markets etc.)
- Allow recipient to export/increase exports
- Increase employment
- Increase production and efficiencies
- Expand the business operation ( e.g. add new location/branches)
- Attract investment or loan.
Note: Vouchers are awarded on a first come, first served basis.
Services offered by Acumen Pro to SMEs:
Financial and Accounting System
Marketing and Promotional Plan
Web-based Marketing Package/Website Development
New Product Development
Mentorship and Coaching
Business Process Improvement
Note: DBJ will pay to Acumen Pro, the value of the voucher or 70% of the cost of the service whichever is lower.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Voucher?
This is a voucher issued electronically by the DBJ’s Project Manager and redeemed by Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) at Acumen Pro, to receive business support services with the aim of improving their business operations and the MSMEs’ ability to access credit. (See the list of services covered under the project)
Entrepreneurs may also apply for vouchers online using the portal available on the voucher website at www.dbankjm.com/vta. The application will be reviewed by the Project Manager and the client will receive an email with the voucher information to be redeemed at a Business Development Organization.
The voucher will not be printed and handed to the client. When a voucher is issued, the client will receive an automatically generated e-mail with a reference number, which should be taken to Acumen Pro to access the required service.
Criteria for Assistance
Any micro, small or medium-sized business entity organized for profit, with a place of business located in Jamaica, and which operates primarily within Jamaica or makes a significant contribution to the Jamaican economy through payment of taxes or use of Jamaican products, materials or labour. These businesses must operate in the productive sectors and should at least be registered as a sole trader. (See the list of eligibility criteria)
The financial institution or the Project Manager will establish the need or gap. Acumen Pro will be required to hold discussions with the entrepreneur to determine what will improve their chances of getting a loan or improve the business in general. The Voucher for Technical Assistance Project Manager may determine that the client needs a special type of assistance when they apply online.
Definition of MSME
The Ministry of Industry Investment and Commerce defines MSME as:
No. of employees
Total Annual Sales/Turnover
≤ J$10 million
6 – 20
> J$10 million ≤ J$50 million
21 – 50
> J$50 million ≤ $J150 million
To benefit under the Voucher for Technical Assistance you must comply with one of the following business structures:
- A Company – a commercial enterprise registered or incorporated under the Companies Act of Jamaica.
- A Business – a sole trader or partnership registered under the Business Names Act of Jamaica.
Vouchers will have values ranging from $50,000 up to $200,000. The DBJ will finance up to 70% of the cost of each service or the value of the voucher, whichever is lower (inclusive of GCT). (See list of voucher services and associated value)
Vouchers may be used for providing financial statements, mentorship and coaching, business process improvement, and to prepare business plans, strategic plans and marketing plans. In addition, product development services offered by the Scientific Research Council and The Bureau of Standards Jamaica may be accessed by using the voucher. A complete list of services may be viewed at www.dbankjm.com/vta/services.
The entrepreneur will choose Acumen Pro, which appears on a list of approved Business Development Organizations on DBJ’s website.
Once per year, the DBJ will seek to accredit new Business Development Organizations to add to the list of those offering services under the programme. Acumen Pro and other BDOs are evaluated periodically and renewal of their accreditation is based on them providing high-quality service.
Scope of Work
The SME in conjunction with Acumen Pro will determine the scope of work.
The DBJ will only pay 70% of the cost of the service or the value of the voucher (inclusive of GCT), whichever is lower. An agreement should therefore be reached about the scope of work before starting the service, as the entrepreneur will be required to pay the balance.
The project manager will monitor Acumen Pro by liaising with the AFIs to ascertain if the documents received are satisfactory as well as with the entrepreneurs to determine if there are improvements in their operations as a result of the assistance received.
Memoranda of Agreement (MOAs) are signed between the DBJ and Acumen Pro. Voucher beneficiaries will need to sign an agreement with the Acumen Pro before the service is provided.
Payment for Vouchers
The Acumen Pro will request payment from DBJ with a Disbursement Request Form and invoice along with supporting documentation.
Period of Assistance
Training or assistance packages should be completed within three to six months after receiving the voucher.
Vouchers will expire 90 days after the date of issue. After the expiration date, the vouchers will be released from the system. Expired vouchers will need to be reissued.
The Voucher programme will continue to May 2020, to support the development of the MSME sector.
Register for your new account and fill in the requested information about you and your business, then you are all set to apply for a voucher!
Definition of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
Any business entity organized for profit, with a place of business located in Jamaica, and which operates primarily within Jamaica or makes a significant contribution to the Jamaican economy through payment of taxes or use of Jamaican products, materials or labour may be eligible for a voucher. These companies must operate in the productive sectors and should at least be registered as a sole trader. The table below defines the characteristics of the eligible MSMEs:
No. of employees
Total Annual Sales/Turnover
≤ J$10 million
6 – 20
> $10 million ≤ J$50 million
21 – 50
> J$50 million ≤ J$150 million
Source: MIIC MSME Policy
Prohibited Business Relationships
The DBJ is prohibited from entering into a business relationship with the following categories of businesses:
- Shell Banks
- Telegraph/Wire Transfer Offices
- Money/Currency Exchange Houses
- Unauthorised Telephone card sales
- Pyramid Sales Schemes
- Fantasy Phone Call Companies
- Internet Gaming (including Sports Books)
- Internet or Virtual Casinos
- Unauthorised Direct Sales/Marketing
- Cambios (unlicensed)
- White Label Automatic Banking Machine (ABM) Operators
- Massage parlours
- Escort Services
- Adult Content Web Sites
- Sale/Distribution of pornographic or obscene material and other sexual communication/ paraphernalia
Acceptable Forms of Identification
When accessing service from Acumen Pro, each entrepreneur must present two (2) forms of identification as described below:
- At least one must be a valid government-issued document (i.e. passport, driver’s license, elector registration identification card) containing a photograph and the customer’s signature;
- The second must be a valid official item with or without signature and/or photograph (e.g. birth certificate accompanied by a Declaration of Identity) both signed by a Justice of the Peace, Minister of Religion or Attorney-at-Law confirming the identity of the customer, employee ID from a known employer, a TRN Card or any other form of identification deemed as acceptable by the Bank;
Source: DBJ’s Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Policy and Procedure, March 2015 – http://dbankjm.com/download-documents