DBJ Hosts successful Conference on Private Equity & Infrastructure Development

The Development Bank of Jamaica hosted its 2019 International Conference on Private Equity and Infrastructure Development on June 10 - 13 at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel. Organised under the theme: ‘DELIVERING ECONOMIC GROWTH THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS: Financing Regional Infrastructure, SMEs & Innovation’, the conference included fireside conversations, plenaries, round-table discussions, workshops, market soundings and numerous networking opportunities. More than 80 speakers, including notable local finance industry leaders Dr. The Hon. Nigel Clarke, Sen. The Hon. Pearnel P. Charles Jr., and The Hon. Michael Lee-Chin, OJ, were in attendance to highlight the readiness and attractiveness of investment opportunities in the island through the different topics covered.
Experienced practitioners and private sector investors from Canada, the United Kingdom, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas also discussed key issues impacting the continued growth of the country through innovation, entrepreneurship and the emerging private equity and venture capital markets.
Opening Ceremony
Michael Lee Chin, Chairman of the Economic Growth Council and Senator Pearnel Charles, Jr., who represented the Honourable Prime Minister spoke at the official opening ceremony sharing a wealth of information that highlighted the current state of the Jamaican business market.
Day 1
The first official day of the conference began with an update on Jamaica’s Public-Private Partnerships & Privatisation (PPPP) and the Private Equity and Venture Capital programmes. Minister of Finance & the Public Service Dr. Nigel Clarke delivered the keynote address, followed by a conversation on Canada’s strategic plans for developing and financing sustainable infrastructure.
Conference partner the Canadian High Commission in Jamaica noted at the conference’s launch earlier this year said that “Jamaica is a very important partner for Canada in the region; we have very good bilateral trade in Jamaica…We look forward to continuing to share Canadian experience and best practices with our partners here in Jamaica…to collaborate on building infrastructure needed to boost economic growth and sustainable development for all Jamaicans.”
Day 2
Day 2 offered two concurrent sessions of Market Sounding/Investment Opportunities in Jamaica and the Caribbean, and SMEs, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Day. Market sounding provided insights from project diamond sponsor NCB Capital Markets, among others, on infrastructure investment opportunities being developed in Jamaica and select Caribbean countries. The SMEs, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Day focused on discussions toward the adoption of 21st-century technologies under the 4th Industrial Revolution, to boost Jamaica’s part in being a competitive hub for innovative entrepreneurs. 
Day 3
The final day of the conference hosted Tech entrepreneurs and Tertiary Level Entrepreneurship Students in an effort to catalyse a culture of innovation and dynamic entrepreneurship. This section of the conference explored modern entrepreneurship as it is practised in Silicon Valley and how it can be adapted in other regions of the world. Paul Ahlstrom, Venture Capitalist, delivered the main presentation after which the dynamic duo of Natt Clegg and Lenni George, training Specialists at The Development Alchemists in the U.K., conducted a very interactive workshop on the Psychology of Entrepreneurship Success.
 Milverton Reynolds, Managing Director of the Development Bank explained, “Our conference is a major international event and we just could not have done it alone. We are extremely grateful to our partners.” The 2019 Conference is a collaborative effort of DBJ’s Public-Private Partnership & Privatisation Division and the Jamaica Venture Capital unit. Sponsors this year included IDB LAB, NCB Capital Markets, C&W Business, JAMPRO, the Canadian High Commission, CIBC First Caribbean International Bank, Blueprint Consulting, Ernst & Young, Foundation for Competitiveness and Growth, MPC Capital, New Fortress Energy and PriceWaterhouse Coopers.
The timing of the conference could not have been more perfect, set against the background of Jamaican entrepreneurs and local businesses becoming more receptive to equity funding and with private equity increasingly gaining traction in the local landscape. This is a significant achievement considering the previously debt-centric environment in the island as MSMEs are now widely recognised as the engine of economic growth, especially in small economies such as Jamaica’s.
 “This conference has been fantastic. I want to congratulate DBJ for organising such a successful event; it is a pleasure to see how Jamaica is ready for business. For these couple of days, we were able to see opportunities not only in infrastructure projects that are gonna be a breakthrough because there is so much talent in Jamaica. Through these forums, we are able to showcase what Jamaica is doing" said Wayne Beecher, conference participant.