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Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland delivering the feature address. 

Focused on MSME sector 

Government will in the coming months, be seeking to utilise two initiatives, including the soon to be relaunched Small Business Development Centre (SBDC), to help further develop the micro, small and medium entreprises (MSME) sector in this country.

Word of this has come from Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland. He made the disclosure while delivering the feature address yesterday morning at the closing ceremony of an entrepreneurship workshop, which was hosted at the Shekinah Wesleyan Holiness Church, located at Church Village, St. Philip, where some 11 new businesses were introduced to the market.

“My ministry and by extension our government, will continue to support the micro, small and medium-entreprises sector through the National Micro, Small and Medium Entreprises Sector Policy Framework, which has been developed to advance an entrepreneurial culture for micro, small and medium-entreprises. In advancing this agenda the Cabinet of Barbados has recently approved the relaunch of the Small Business Development Centre Network to be called ‘Small Business Development Barbados’. This network led by the Small Business Unit in my ministry, is expected to among other things, capture the economic impact of micro, small and medium-businesses in Barbados and to assist businesses in their progression along the growth chain to eventually become sustainable, profitable and commercial entities,” he stated.

Speaking to The Barbados Advocate after the event, Minister Sutherland, expanding more on the SBDC, which he hopes will be up and running no later than October this year, is in keeping with the SBDC model that has been developed by the Organisation of American States (OAS), This initiative, he said, will assist in developing a more cohesive MSME sector in Barbados.

He explained that Barbados is signatory to the OAS initiated model, introduced to the country back in 2015, which is designed to bring the various small business development entities including the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme, the Student Entrepreneurial Empowerment Development (SEED) project of the University of the West Indies, the Small Business Association, the Trust Loans Unit and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute for Technology among others, under one umbrella.

“We have a few small business development centres and what we do is to come together to create that entrepreneurial eco-system. We’ve formed a committee of the various small business development entities that provide services and that is to be chaired by someone yet to be determined,” he indicated.

Minister Sutherland continued, “Each of these entities feed into a database and we capture all of the inputs needed to build out small businesses and indeed, those inputs allow us to know what are some of the strengths, the deficiencies and some of the challenges.”

The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Minister further explained, that the goal is to address the fragmented approach to assistance coming from those entities and to avoid any duplication of services. He went on to say that his Ministry is also putting in place a Financial Literacy Bureau – the tool that will be used to provide training to the MSME sector.

“The Bureau is not just about financing, it is about marketing; it’s about managing your own business; it’s about customer service; it’s about basic accounting; it is about looking at deficiencies within the business and differentiating the products. So we will be partnering with the private sector who offer this type of training. Government is creating the policy framework and the ecosystem, whereby the Financial Literacy Bureau will be launched within the community,” he stated.

Sutherland’s comments came as he said their ultimate goal is to build out a comprehensive, cohesive and coordinated framework for the MSME sector. (JRT)

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