MEETING ON NATIONAL AWARDS

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A Government Ministry has given an undertaking to “iron-out any teething problems” that might affect the smooth execution of next year’s National Small Business Awards ceremony. 

The promise has come from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Commerce, the official organisers of the annual event.

Even though a date for next year’s function has not been announced, the Ministry took the initiative and met with several small business persons last month at the Bagnall’s Point Gallery, Pelican Craft Centre on Princess Alice Highway.

A number of pertinent concerns were raised by the entrepreneurs, including the matter of insufficient time allocated for compiling proposals for judging by the panel; greater clarity of the categories to be judged; and more access to technical assistance.  

Small business owner, Celeste Foster, said the $15,000 cash prize was an important stimulus and suggested that the organisers should clearly articulate the goals of the incentive programme.

Is the goal of the award programme to recognise deserving persons?  If that is the only goal, then you would have achieved something.  But, if the goal is to promote small business and promote excellence, then the programme has to take on a further extension where part of the prize can be developmental,” Ms. Foster stressed.

Acting Executive Director of the Small Business Association (SBA), Lynette Holder, described the meeting as timely and observed: “We [SBA] are here to lend our support and participation in this worthwhile exercise.”  

The Ministry of Trade’s Chief Business Development Officer, Francine Blackman, explained that the National Small Business Awards represented a strategic focus that aimed to enhance the overall performance of the small business sector.

Also present at the meeting were Acting Director of the Foreign Exchange Department at the Central Bank, Peter Whitehall; and Manager of Marketing and Corporate Communications at the Barbados National Bank (BNB), Debbie Stoute. The BNB sponsors the awards ceremony each year.

Previous National Small Business Award winners were Devin Griffith of G&A Communications and Betty Wilkins of Calypso Bakeries who copped the award in 2004 and 2005, respectively. 

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