Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs) play an integral role in the overall growth and development of the Barbadian economy.
Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, made this disclosure recently, as she delivered the keynote address at the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation and International Labour Organization Membership Workshop, on Productivity Improvements for SMEs, at the Accra Beach Hotel.
Speaking under the theme: Understanding Issues of Productivity and Exploring Ways of Improving, Senator Byer Suckoo stated that SMEs continued to foster the development of entrepreneurial skills and promote the use of indigenous resources.
In her view, this role, along with the changing structure of the global economy, created an opportunity for greater impact from small and micro enterprises.
“Micro, small and medium enterprises…have a vital role to play in any national economy. Their role, in terms of production, employment generation, contribution to exports and facilitating equitable distribution of income, has been touted as extremely beneficial to economic growth and development…
“It is therefore imperative for emerging and developing economies to develop the capacity to improve the competitiveness of SMEs in domestic, regional and global markets,” she said.
The Labour Minister noted that Government was mindful of some of the challenges which impacted the productivity and competitiveness of SMEs, and remarked that the solutions must be geared towards the sustainability of these small scale enterprises.
According to her, one way to achieve this mandate would be the institution of “effective” employee training, even in the smallest of enterprises.
“Employers should understand the link between training and productivity. Despite their small structure and staff complement, the provision of effective training should not be overlooked by SMEs as a means of boosting employee productivity and the return on investment…
“Training increases knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Proper training motivates employees and increases the competencies of employees, which in turn increases productivity levels,” she explained.
Dr. Byer Suckoo pointed out that conversely, employers and employees must be committed to demonstrating how they intend to make their enterprises more profitable and efficient, while embracing new technologies and creating a culture of advancement.