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The DBJ Selects New Fund Manager to Invest in Local Businesses

Mr. Milverton Reynolds, Managing Director of the Development Bank of Jamaica Limited (DBJ), has announced that Actus Partners Ltd., a management consultancy firm focused on alternative private equity & venture capital solutions, based in London, England, has been selected to establish and manage a new Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) Fund, based in Jamaica.

The company was chosen to be the sole manager after a recent ‘Call for Proposals’ from local and international private equity funds for fund manager(s) under the World Bank Access to Finance for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Project (A2F) for which the DBJ is the implementing agency.

Actus Partners’ team, which has more than 100 years of combined experience in global private equity, has established the Jamaica Actus Small & Medium Enterprises Fund I (JASMEF) which will provide growth and risk capital financing to invest in high-growth SMEs in Jamaica, in addition to other investments undertaken in the Caribbean.

JASMEF will receive an investment of US$5 million from the DBJ, through a financing facility provided via the World Bank Group’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and will be required to raise additional funding of a minimum of US$10 million, in order to meet the DBJ’s objective of having a minimum level of funding dedicated to Jamaica-based SMEs.

According to its Managing Partners, JASMEF’s overall target is a fund size of up to US$100 million, investable in Jamaica and other eligible countries of the Caribbean region. The Fund’s objectives are aligned with the long-term vision of the Jamaican Government and the World Bank to encourage private equity investors to address the financing gap that is a significant challenge to local SMEs by increasing the supply of available long-term equity financing.

JASMEF will invest in sectors that particularly promote strong economic growth and development which include key sectors such as technology, climate & renewable energy, agriculture & food security, health & hygiene, tourism, logistics, light manufacturing, FMCG and business services. In addition to generating superior returns, the Fund also has the key objective of achieving measurable impact targets that support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including an emphasis on decent work, economic growth and gender equity.

The Fund will take a hands-on partnership approach with clients, which will entail the provision of technical assistance, where needed, to SMEs that have typically struggled in obtaining access to risk and growth capital.

Ugo Ikemba, JASMEF co-Managing Partner, said: “We are honoured and extremely keen to partner with the DBJ and our network of international and Caribbean institutions to invest growth capital in Jamaica and the pan-Caribbean region. We strongly believe that we will get the best results by coupling our global and local expertise in private equity, impact investing and capacity-building gained from partnering with numerous SMEs, with our rigorous approach to analysis, transparency and teamwork.”

Murat Taşçı, Founder of Actus Partners Ltd. and JASMEF co-Managing Partner, said: “The Actus Partners team has a strong background in private equity investing with a focus on ESG initiatives. We seek to ensure that the JASMEF portfolio of SMEs is actively guided to institutionalize their operations through digitization and corporate governance.

JASMEF will provide equity financing for SMEs to achieve their growth objectives. Actus will introduce its international networks to Caribbean SMEs to help them expand their footprint across the wider region, North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and beyond, in order to become regional or global champions.”

Zhan Li, Head of JASMEF’s Strategy & Impact Committee, said: “Just as our success in this selection process is a joint achievement with our local team members, we are looking forward to creating positive impact on the ground and enhancing how SMEs improve Caribbean communities, all in close collaboration with local experts and advisors.”

The Fund is expected to begin operations in the third quarter of 2021 and will employ a variety of marketing tools to inform business projects and entrepreneurs of the availability of its financing.

In welcoming Actus Partners Ltd. to the DBJ’s growing group of fund managers, Mr. Reynolds pointed out that JASMEF is the sixth fund in which the DBJ has invested and represents the continued expansion of the local private capital ecosystem, the growth and development of which was established under the Bank’s Jamaica Venture Capital Programme.

“I am very pleased, not only that we have been able to conclude these arrangements satisfactorily but also that the DBJ has demonstrated once again that we are dedicated to the development of the Jamaican entrepreneurial class that will grow our economy and improve our standard of living and quality of life,” he said. “Of course, we could not have done it alone and I must pay tribute to the team members at the World Bank who have worked closely with us to develop the A2F Project and its SME Fund; and the Jamaican Government which gave the DBJ the opportunity to prove that we are equipped and fit for the task. I welcome Actus Partners Ltd. and fully expect that our partnership will be long and fruitful.”

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