Friday, 24 April 2020

NEWS + NOTES: Financial aid for small businesses; Tablets in Schools project gets a big boost...

STARTING OVER: “We are building back our business and trying to recover as best as possible,” says Trevor Heaven, proprietor of the Mandeville-based Heaven’s Fesco service station, which snagged headlines last month after a fiery explosion at the station left one man dead and several other people injured and hospitalized. The fire reportedly caused damage in the vicinity of $100 million. The service station has reopened for business, with vastly improved public safety measures put in place. All 42 employees, it has been reported, have participated in fire-fighting training sessions. “We actually hire fire wardens for each shift [now] to ensure that all of the red-flag areas are identified quickly and are reported,” Heaven says. “We have had our structured integrity tests done, pressurized our tanks and lines. We have new dispensers, new fittings. Everything is brand new.”

POISED FOR GROWTH: Over the course of the next four years, the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) will be stepping up efforts to ensure the continued international competitiveness of Jamaican products while facilitating business development and trade - thereby aiding the country's economic growth. To that end, some 213 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises will be beneficiaries of a financial-aid programme slated for the new fiscal year, which commenced April 1. The initiative is in collaboration with Jampro and will place emphasis on such priority sectors as manufacturing and agriculture, as well as the emerging industries of hemp, bamboo and cannabis.

MONEY WELL SPENT: As part of the islandwide efforts to enhance teaching and learning skills through global digital inclusion (with the goal of increasing digital literacy), the Government, in partnership with e-Learning Jamaica, has signed off on the procurement of 40,000 tablet computers for students and 25,000 devices for teachers under the Tablets in Schools project. A new phase of the project, which is to be renamed 'Technology in Infant and Primary Schools programme' will start in te 2020/21 fiscal year. According to CEO of e-Learning Jamaica, Keith Smith, his company will play a long-term role in the maintenance and upgrading of the tablets (for both teachers and students), which will be distributed to schools within the next 15 months. "e-Learning will be putting in place mechanisms to support the schools to get better use of technology," Smith says. "[However], in light of COVID-19, we are trying to expedite the process to facilitate greater online learning."

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