You Are Reading Vol. 09 Issue. 2 September, 2019
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Building Networks; Creating Wealth
Edition Changing the Mind-set of Small Business Practitioners MSME sector in Barbados and the Caribbean region. Describing MSMEs as the backbone of the private sector and the key drivers of economic growth and social inclusion in Barbados, Dr. Smith asserted that making major investments in this sector would be the key to unlocking the long-term economic growth and development for Barbados and the region. blank space blank space blank spa
President of the Caribbean Development Bank, Dr. William Warren Smith giving the keynote speech at the conference
The CDB president lamented that there was insufficient research in the region on the MSME sector but referenced a 2016 survey commissioned by the Small Business Association which revealed that MSMEs comprised over 95% of formal enterprises in the country. Additionally, MSMEs accounted for 60.7% of private sector employment, 47.6% of total employment in the country and non-agriculture MSMEs contributed a total of 64.1% of national value added.
The Small Business Association of Barbados recently held its first State of the Sector conference during Small Business Week 2019. The conference delved into issues affecting the local Micro Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector and possible solutions that would assist in positioning the sector for growth and sustainability.
However, though these statistics were notably impressive, Dr. Smith insisted that the sector’s full potential remained unrealised. He further stated that based on the sector’s contribution to the number of formal enterprises and employment opportunities, export levels for the sector, which fell at 38.8% in 2016, should be a lot greater.
The theme for the week was ‘Small Size, Big Thinking – Changing the Mind-set for Global Engagement’, which provided the focus for the discussions held at the conference. Topics included: ‘Opportunities for New Sunrise Industries’, ‘Whither Access to Finance- A Call to Action’, ‘Improving the Legislative Agenda for Growth’ and ‘Facilitating a Culture for Cluster Development.’ Other areas of discussion encompassed ‘Building High Performance Institutions’ and ‘Leveraging Market Access.’ ank spa The highlight of the conference, was the keynote address presented by president of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. William Warren Smith, who spoke directly on the current state of the
In order for this to occur, Dr. Smith stated that the issues preventing MSMEs from
operating more efficiently, productively and competitively must be unravelled and solved. Several of these challenges include: a weak enabling environment, high energy and production costs, limited and poor product, service quality and standards and limited access to both loan and equity finance. To combat these issues, the CDB head implored government officials and policy makers to “remain committed to improving the business environment and scale up their efforts to create a policy and institutional framework that responds appropriately to the characteristics and special needs of MSMEs.” blank space He also stated that in many Caribbean territories, this was not the case as there was ample evidence of “inadequate legislative and regulatory frameworks, weak public sector institutions for providing legal protection, and inefficient business support and training services”. In addition to this, Dr. Smith charged governments with the task of preventing further delays with regards to the effective implementation of CARICOM’s Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. In doing so, he highlighted the fact that despite the removal of over 450 legal and administrative barriers to the free movement of goods, services, capital and labour in most CARICOM territories, market access had still not improved. He also noted that there was still no single jurisdiction that would allow for the equal treatment of businesses within the CARICOM member states.
” Stakeholders, sponsors and small business owners listening intently to the various presentations
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Changing the Mind-set of Small Business Practitioners cont’d... Another detrimental issue highlighted was the difficulty MSMEs faced in accessing finance. Dr. Smith opined that this was not as a result of funds being unavailable. In fact, he made it clear that even in countries where the financial systems reported high levels of liquidity, MSMEs still struggled to access financial resources at acceptable interest rates. Furthermore, according to diagnostic studies conducted by the Inter-American Development Bank, only three to five percent of small business owners have access to adequate financing. The president attributed this to the fact that financial institutions were generally reluctant to lend to small business owners because they “lack adequate
collateral, operate in unfavourable business environments and have limited access to affordable accounting, legal, auditing and other support services.” However, Dr. Smith stated that banking facilities should come together with government and the business community to redesign their products and offer special mechanisms for MSMEs to create an environment where they are willing to embrace uncertainty and take risks. He also suggested other financing mechanisms including credit bureaus, collateral registries, guarantee schemes and additional financing channels such as junior stock exchanges that could be employed to improve the current financial situation for MSMEs.
The regional leader further stated that the biggest inhibitor to accessing finance in his opinion was the failure of small businesses to adapt to good business practices such as sound record keeping. It is therefore necessary for entrepreneurs to change their mind-set and business culture to adopt such practices and think bigger. He emphasised this point by encouraging business owners to “visualise their company as having the DNA of an elephant – capable of growing in size, capacity and global reach.” Once this mind-set for success is effected alongside effective business planning, good financial management, continuous marketing and excellent customer service, local MSMEs will no doubt begin to leave a major impact on the world.
Youth Encouraged to Engage the World through Technology Over 140 secondary school students recently gathered at the Savannah Beach Hotel to showcase a year’s worth of hard work, dedication and entrepreneurial prowess during the Enterprise in Action (EIA) Youth Forum. blank space blank space bla This tenth iteration of the EIA Youth programme, was a major success, with over 270 fourth and fifth year students enrolled from ten secondary schools. As always, this outstanding programme provided the Small Business Association with the opportunity to nurture and develop an entrepreneurial mind-set in the youth. The programme facilitated a series of training courses in entrepreneurship and challenged students to develop a business idea to its operational stage in order to cement the tenets of business start-up and management learned in class.
Springer Memorial School students showcasing fruit smoothies, kebabs and fruit cups they produced as Fruit Paradise Co.
addressed by experts in the technological field including Ms. Veronica Millington from Caribbean Transit Solutions, Mr. Damany Reid from Transcend Technology and Mr. Chris Welch from CW Visuals. These guest presentations truly helped to inspire students to think outside of the box on how technology could be used to expand their professional horizons.
Additionally, due to the effort and success of the programme so far, the SBA has partnered with the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Council (TVET), to transition the EIA Youth Programme into a National Vocational Qualification. This process will allow the 2019-2020 cohort to receive this locally and regionally recognised certification on completion of their secondary school tenure, further enhancing their value in the professional arena.
All-natural lavender and goat milk soap created by students of the Alleyne school under the business name, Angel Care Beauty.
Students at the Savannah Beach Hotel paying attention to the various video presentations.
The climax of this journey for students ended in the opportunity to present their business projects to the SBA staff, major stakeholders, sponsors and members of the media alike. This year under the theme “Using Technology to Engage the World”, the student entrepreneurs were challenged to use technology to create short video presentations stating their learning experiences in the programme and what they achieved throughout their course of business. Some of the impressive business ideas included, the sale of all-natural hand-made soaps, branded t-shirts, home-made baked goods, popular snacks, hygiene products and healthy fruit smoothies. After their presentations students were
Graphic Tees designed and created by the business Bim Tees from the Graydon Sealy Secondary School.
A student emersed in the world of virtual reality
In the upcoming year, the association aims to maintain this standard of excellence with a view that the training of the island’s youth in the principles of entrepreneurship is key to building a sustainable economy.
Small Business ASSOCIATION
AGM & Awards Ceremony During the awards segment, several firms were celebrated for their outstanding accomplishments in their various fields and industries of practice for the past year.
Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, the Hon. Dwight Sutherland MP, addressing the meeting
At the recently concluded Annual General Meeting, members of the Small Business Association received reports from the Board of Directors on the operations and finances of the organisation for the year 2018-2019. In addition, the audited financial report was presented by an auditor from Brian Griffith and Co. Despite the challenging fiscal year characterised by numerous financial constraints, the association was able to achieve more with less and had successfully accomplished several key objectives. Looking ahead, members should expect to see further growth and strengthening of the association’s mandate in relation to increased membership engagement activities, lobbying and advocacy, training and opportunities for small firms to network and build capacity. Additionally, the association will lead by example in thinking big and engaging the world by forming international strategic partnerships and regional networks to further assist MSMEs to maximise their export potential, available through the CSME and the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement.
Members and their guests were also engaged by Ms. Selma Greene who gave a presentation on the upcoming ‘We Gatherin’ 2020’ initiative including its foreseeable impact on the island and the opportunities it would create for the MSME sector. Minister of Small Business, Dwight Sutherland, also addressed the group, emphasising that there was a need for greater creativity and innovation in the sector. He also stressed that small business owners had an important role to play in the success of the island’s socio-economic development in the upcoming year and should maximise on the opportunities presented by the aforementioned 2020 initiative. Ten awards were presented to members including six sectoral awards, the Minister’s Award for Innovation, the President’s Award and the Small Business of the Year Award. Additionally, the R.L. Mark ‘Spirit of Excellence’ Award was generously sponsored once again by R.L. Mark & Co. Ltd.
The Minister’s Award
The Hon. Dwight Sutherland presenting the Minister’s Award to founder of the Caribbean Weight Loss Clinic, Dr. Donna Matthew
The Minister’s Award for Innovation was presented to Caribbean Weight Loss Clinic & Spa Inc. The firm was recognised for its innovation in creatively utilising various natural supplements, health care products and research to promote healthy weight loss and increase the overall well-being of citizens in the local fight against the rise in non-communicable diseases.
Ms. Selma Greene speaking to members on the We Gatherin’ Barbados 2020 initiative
The President’s Award
The Small Business of the Year Award
President of the SBA, Mr. Wayne Willock presenting Ms. Lorna Barrow with the President’s Award
The Hon. Dwight Sutherland presenting the Small Business of the Year Award to Mr. Stephen Ollivierre of Sentry Insurance
This prestigious award was presented to ardent supporter of the association, Ms. Lorna Barrow. Ms. Barrow is a business consultant and trainer who established the company, Impact Training & Development Services. Among other things, Ms. Barrow was awarded for her considerable effort in giving back to the members of the SBA having facilitated several workshops free of cost to members.
The company which shone the brightest this year was Sentry Insurance Brokers Limited. In addition to making significant investments in their employees, Sentry has made tremendous strides in going fully digital through a fully cloud based management system. Their plan for the future is to create a 24/7 virtual client experience which will further set them apart in their field.
The R. L. Mark Award
Mr. Trevor Hope receiving the R. L. Mark ‘Spirit of Excellence’ Award from Mr. Richard Mark
This award for excellence was presented to Courtyard Caterers Ltd, a provider of top-class catering services across Barbados. The business which caters to all events has been in operation for over 50 years. Notably, the catering company has taken up several excellent green initiatives including the full conversion to energy-saving LED lightbulbs and partnering with local farmers to collect the restaurant’s scraps and used oil to be reused, thus reducing the waste taken to the landfills.
Sectoral Awardees General Manufacturing Sectoral Award Barbados Industries Ltd.
Niche Manufacturing Sectoral Award IMORO
Mr. Dean Straker (far right) and representative of Barbados Industries Ltd receiving the sectoral award from president of the SBA
Professional Services Sectoral Award Caribbean Weight Loss Clinic
Winner of the Professional Services Award, Dr. Donna Matthew
Winner of the Niche Manufacturing Sectoral Award, Ms. Portia Doyle, receiving her trophy
General Services Sectoral Award Sentry Insurance Brokers Ltd.
Mr. Stephen Ollivierre being presented with the General Services sectoral award
General Services - Food Safety Sectoral Award Safe Food Essentials
Group Member Award The Barbados Pig Farmers Cooperative Society Ltd.
Ms. Kelly Brathwaite (centre) and co-founder (right) of Safe Food Essentials, receiving their award
Vice-president of the Barbados Pig Farmerâ€™s Cooperative Society, Mr. David Catlyn accepting the Group Member Award
The CEOâ€™s Last Word
With the dawn of the new digital and technological era, many of the worldâ€™s daily routines and practices have become revolutionised due to inter alia, high-tech devices, high-speed internet, digital financing, artificial intelligence and 3D printing. Similarly, as a result of many of these technological advancements, the way we conduct business - from the manufacturing stage, to the selling and consumption of the goods and services - have all been radically changed forever. This change, though intimidating for some should be considered by the MSME sector as
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it provides countless avenues of opportunity for the small business owner to be more competitive in the domestic space and to pursue internationalisation. Testament to this is the fact that a large manufacturing company in America and a Barbadian small business owner can both have access to millions of prospective consumers via the world wide web. Whether through the set-up of an e-commerce website fuelled by promotions on popular social media platforms or the creation of surveys and questionnaires to garner crucial market information, the possibilities are now endless for the success of the wise entrepreneur. In light of this, I implore all business owners and persons with an entrepreneurial spirit to desist from limiting their thoughts to the 166 square miles we call home and to begin to truly see the world as their oyster. Our local small businesses provide top-quality products capable of attracting profitable demand from borders far beyond our own. However, small business owners must have the zeal and dedication required to do ample research into the exporting avenues readily
available to make this a reality. Forming partnerships and seeking training and development in areas of weakness is also paramount to success. Lastly, small business owners must continue to put pressure on their local business support organisations to assist them in building capacity, fostering cluster development and lobbying for better policy environments to achieve their regional and international aspirations. In this vein, the Small Business Association stands committed to the growth of the sector and encourages all stakeholders desirous of assisting in the process to step forward as we gear up to take our local MSMEs to the global stage. The small business sector has been defined as the driving force of our economy and must now become the engine of the digital revolution on the island. In light of this, it would be remiss of me not to ask, how should government facilitate this transition and what do we need our policymakers to do to assist in this area? Stay tuned for my comments on this going forward. - Senator Lynette Holder (CEO of the SBA)
The Small Business Association of Barbados, Suite 101, Building 4, Harbour Industrial Estate, Bridgetown, Barbados Tel: (246) 228-0162 | Fax: (246) 228-0163 | Email: email@example.com | Website: www.sba.bb