Rose Miller, grants manager, JN Foundation, has urged entrepreneurs to take responsibility for their financial education as this would improve their capacity and broaden their options for investing in areas such as stocks and mutual fund while diversifying their investment portfolio and increasing their potential to generate wealth.

Miller, who also heads JN BeWi$e Financial Empowerment Programme, was one of the presenters at the Business Mentorship and Accelerator Programme Workshop hosted by JN Small Business Loans (JNSBL) at the St James Methodist Church in May Pen, Clarendon, recently. The workshop focused on financial planning, record keeping, marketing and cash flow management, goal setting and preparing business plans.

“Approximately 15 per cent of Jamaicans own stocks and shares. Unfortunately, that figure is low because investing in stocks can be a game-changer to help you on your journey towards financial independence. However, many persons do not invest because of ignorance or fear,” Miller said.

“We need to take time out to increase our knowledge and learn about the various investment options that are available. Listen to radio programmes, read books or articles in the newspapers, watch videos on YouTube, all of which will enhance your knowledge about investing and enable you to be more comfortable about these types of investments,” she said.

She added that entrepreneurs who are unsure of how to invest, should speak with a broker or an investment adviser, who will guide them through the process and decide which approach and what type of investment is best for them.

“Some of you may not have the time, or are afraid of the risks associated with purchasing shares directly. The alternative is to open an account with an investment firm, such as JN Fund Managers, who employ trained professionals to manage the funds on your behalf via their suite of mutual funds. When you invest in mutual funds, you actually have ownership in several of the companies listed on the stock exchange,” she explained.

The grants manager told participants that they should take advantage of opportunities presented by initial public offerings, as this is a good entry point to start building your portfolio. However, investors must be prepared to wait for gains, which sometimes may not materalise until the medium or long term, although it is possible to get some appreciation in the short term.

“For example, if you had invested in Wigton WindFarm shares, when it was offered at 50 cents per share, you could have made at least 25 per cent on the sum you invested,” she said. “If you had bought the Sagicor Select shares for $1, you would also have seen some appreciation. By not investing in stocks, you are missing out on significant opportunities to generate wealth.”

Jacqueline Shaw-Nicholson, communication and client services manager, JNSBL, explained that the workshop was hosted as part of a wider programme to provide financial-management support to its clients.

“The Mentorship and Accelerator programme is part of JNSBL’s thrust to provide meaningful support and training to our clients, to assist them to sustain and grow their businesses,” Shaw-Nicholson explained.

“MSMEs (micro, small, and medium-size enterprises) require support throughout their business journey. The support required will depend on where they are in their business life cycle. The clients at the May Pen workshop received well-needed guidance about good business and financial management techniques for growth, and how to market, as well as keep, proper records,” she said.

Shalena Collins, a sandal maker, said that she benefited from the information that was presented.


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