Case Study

Big up Small Business in Jamaica

Our goal was to create new opportunities for up to 150 small-business entrepreneurs in Jamaica, so that more people could benefit from tourism. The project pivoted post COVID to focus more on supporting business survival and recovery.


Small-business entrepreneurs are a vital part of any economy. Most people rely on them for employment and they drive innovation and opportunity. With the right conditions, tourism has great potential to enable small businesses to prosper. Bars, restaurants, shops and activities can be enjoyed by visitors and residents alike and in turn they create jobs, prosperity and contribute to a thriving local economy.

Our approach

We supported a whole range of exciting small businesses in Jamaica, so they could better connect with tourists and to support their recovery from the impacts of the pandemic.  Small businesses including artisans, accommodation providers, community enterprises, craft and food producers and micro excursion providers received training and marketing support to improve their business and better understand international market requirements.


• Initial work was carried out to research and map key stakeholder groups in order to identify the type and nature of small tourism businesses in Jamaica, their current capacity and training needs, demand for the kids of products and services offered as well as existing support mechanisms and marketing channels.
• At the end of 2019, we trained over 250 people running micro businesses, providing new opportunities to access the tourism market. The training included understanding how to meet international requirements and market to tourists. Businesses involved included attraction and excursion providers, accommodation providers including guest houses, B&Bs and villas.
• Following a pause in 2020 due to the pandemic, the project moved to focus on supporting SMMEs to recover and rebuild post-COVID. More training, ‘Are you ready for recovery‘ was delivered online.
• Over 90% of all participants trained so far have reported increased skills and awareness across a range of learning objectives.
• Following a detailed selection process, we provided tailored support to eight small organisations or ‘booster businesses‘, including help with marketing, promotion and capacity building.
• In 2022 we delivered a further set of training webinars which were available to all small and medium tourism businesses in Jamaica.
• Early research identified gaps and opportunities in relation to the ability of small businesses to market themselves to key target markets. This resulted in the production and dissemination of a digital e-marketing guide to over 200 businesses.



The project created significant knowledge and resources for many small and medium tourism businesses in Jamaica, many of whom have changed or intend to change their business practices, products and services for the better as a result.

Wider Impact

This project can serve as a model to implement similar capacity building projects in other destinations and complement tourism’s positive effects on local livelihoods. It shows that where a mainstream tourism sector is active, there are many opportunities for SMEs to tap into the benefits.

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