Local small business got a major shot in the arm recently when Government injected $420, 000 into the sector to provide technical assistance.
The Business Development Unit of the Ministry of Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Business Development received this sum from central government to be passed on to the sector.
According to a Ministry official, “growth in the small business sector will result in the growth of the economy as a whole.”
Government first allocated some $25, 000 to small business back in 2003. Since then, the sector has received yearly incremental injections of funds, with some $200,000 being allocated last year.
The $420,000 provided this year therefore represents a 110 per cent increase over last year’s.
In welcoming the assistance, the Chief Business Development Advisor to the Ministry, Francine Blackman, explained that, “technical assistance for small businesses can vary from development of product design; marketing assistance for the local and export market; and assistance to businesses seeking to participate in overseas trade shows; to preparation of business plans to facilitate the initial financing and management of businesses; and research.”
She also touched on some areas where technical assistance could be used, including: creating and upgrading websites; producing brochures, letterheads and business cards; training; auditing or accounting aid; as well as making manufacturing businesses HACCP compliant.
To date, the Business Development Unit has received numerous applications for technical assistance, and under the Technical Assistance Programme of the Small Business Development Act any approved small business is entitled to technical assistance from the Ministry.