Fresh Ideas Needed To Boost SME Sector

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Minister of Finance, Christopher Sinckler, is suggesting a “fresh sweep of ideas” that would promote a pro-development ethos across the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sectors.

He made this observation yesterday during the opening ceremony of Foromic 2012- a micro enterprise forum at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Emphasising that microfinance was not a panacea for economic development in developing countries, the Minister of Finance said it must be seen as a “key tool to entrepreneurship development”.

He acknowledged that microfinance was important to the development of the sector but, lamented that it was not a sufficient condition for microenterprise promotion.??

To correct this, he offered a number of suggestions on how micro enterprise development could be achieved. “What is required however, is an appropriate microenterprise environment that would facilitate the commercialisation of ideas; selection and motivation of the microentrepreneurs; capacity building and institutional strengthening arrangements; and the establishment of market linkages for the region’s goods and services.”

He added that these microenterprises factors, combined with an appropriate regulatory framework, would make microfinance more productive and contribute to economic development within the region.

“Within this context, I implore all gathered here to embrace a pro-development mindset that would include a broad array of empowering interventions and microfinance initiatives for the MSME sector.”

He further stated: “In these great halls, there are policy makers, academics, representatives of various multilateral components of the donor society, microfinance institutions and enterprise development providers. Your participation represents by itself, confirmation of the need to define new pathways for regional private sector development.”

Therefore, Mr. Sinckler urged participants during the deliberations to “encompass a shared vision that seeks to strengthen inter-agency collaboration in relation to the development of a more vibrant and relevant microfinance architecture”.

He also suggested that the discussions on micro-entrepreneurship must be “couched in a compulsion to innovate, sharpen strategies and connect entrepreneurs alike, to efficient financing mechanisms that will support income generating activities”.

“In essence, I am making a general case for microenterprise to become a more integral part of the business environment in an effort to improve productive development outcomes,” Mr. Sinckler underlined.

The three-day forum, which began on Monday, October 1, under the theme: Unlocking Entrepreneurship: Towards Innovative Solutions concludes tomorrow, Wednesday, October 2.

julie.carrington@barbados.gov.bb

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