MSME sector being assisted

Steps have been taken to unify the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector and the relevant authorities are now better able to see what impact that sector has on the country.

That is according to Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland. Speaking Monday evening in the House of Assembly, he said the Small Business Development Centre, formed by way of a memorandum of understanding between the Governments of Barbados, the United States and the Organisation of American States last November, is an operational framework used by the United States to bring all of the small business agencies under one umbrella.

“The cohesiveness that is needed within the sector was indeed achieved,” he said.

This operational framework, he stated, brings together the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation, the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme; the Small Business Association, FundAccess, the Barbados Youth Business Trust, the Barbados Trust Fund Limited among other entities, as well as educational institutions the likes of The University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI). He explained that they are using that framework to capture information on how the businesses are doing.

“One of the requirements of all of the agencies under the Small Business Development Centre network, they have to input data on all of the businesses that they are indeed trying to build out, that pass through their institutions... We are looking at job creation, job retention, businesses started, businesses expanded, persons trained, loans, values of the loans, finance provided, the number of businesses accessing whatever services they are, new investments and we are measuring it,” he stated.

He added that under that umbrella body they are able to measure the impact of the micro, small and medium enterprises sector to both social and economic development in this country.

Meanwhile, Anderson Cumberbatch, Chief Business Development Advisor said that The UWI has an important role to play, as empirical data and research are needed to help build out the sector.

“There are many challenges within the sector and this framework where we collaborate, it therefore helps to mitigate a number of issues. Over the years there has been a lot of duplication within the system, persons have operated as separate silos and this has created a lot of challenges. So the model seeks to pull the players together,” he said.

Cumberbatch added, “The model therefore allows for these agencies to provide the business development services and handholding, so that the businesses do what they are supposed to do so that they are better able to become economically viable.”

He went on to say that with the training being provided through the Centre they are also able to make small businesses more “bankable”. The Chief Business Development Advisor’s comments came as he said that through the model they have been able to ascertain that in 2019, some 2 000 persons were trained.


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