MSMEs Get Support Through NQA Mentorship Programme

The Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) continues to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in achieving business success, through the National Quality Awards (NQA) mentorship programme.

The mentorship programme, initiated by the BSJ, was created under the NQA programme and aims to support MSMEs that participated in the NQA programme to standardise their operations.

Speaking at the NQA Banquet, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on October 13, Director, Standards Division, BSJ, Julia Bonner Douett, underscored that “the NQA is a very important programme in the strategy for Jamaica to achieve economic success”.

To achieve that success, she noted that the programme seeks to address similar challenges faced by MSMEs, both locally and internationally.

“We at the BSJ know this well. All our auditors, when they seek to audit MSMEs, find similar problems. In fact, the Bureau is a forerunner to what happens across the world, because as Chair of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) Developing Committee for 121 countries internationally, it was emphatically brought out that the main issues for developing countries, as they relate to standardisation, are about implementation. So, we are right on track,” Mrs. Bonner Douett added.

This information was brought out in a needs-assessment survey done by the ISO.

To this end, the NQA mentorship programme was a very deliberate move by the BSJ as the agency seeks to acknowledge difficulties that MSMEs go through.

“We acknowledge that MSMEs contribute significantly to the microeconomic activities within every country, and without this ability to use standards well, they are unable to reap the benefits and realise economic success,” Mrs. Bonner Douett said.

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She pointed out that the mentorship programme seeks to address these very concerns and assist MSMEs in the areas of the need as expressed by them.

The mentorship programme is awarded to the company that is the winner in the MSME category of the NQA.

Detailing the process, Mrs. Bonner Douett explained that the winning company would identify an area within their organisation and operations that can be strengthened as it relates to implementation of standards.

“The BSJ, in turn, seeks to peer this MSME with a mentor, which is usually a past NQA winner who has the capacity, time and capability to assist this MSME with improving their systems,” she added.

Mrs. Bonner Douett said the relationship between these two parties is documented in a mentorship agreement, which details the conditions of that relationship. The companies will then work together, based on the agreed terms, to address the gaps, hence improving the efficiency of that MSME.

The MSME that will benefit from the mentorship programme this year is Hillview Memorial Gardens.

“We seek to move companies in this category to greater heights in achieving business excellence and a greater contribution to the growth of our economy,” Mrs. Bonner Douett said.

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