Small Business and Entrepreneurship Minister, Kerrie Symmonds, taking a look at this independence t-shirt while visiting one of the booths at the first Bajan Christmas Pop-up Marketplace, at the Warrens Office Complex today. (A. Reid/BGIS)

Barbadians are being encouraged to come out and support local businesses when making their Christmas purchases for goods and services.

Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Kerrie Symmonds, speaking at the launch of the first Bajan Christmas Pop-up Marketplace, explained that in an effort to assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, a decision was made to provide an opportunity for these businesses to market their products and services.

“We felt it was absolutely necessary to mount a programme such as this, which brings the small and micro people into a defined space, where the Barbadian public can interact with them in a commercial way, and to give those folks an opportunity to make sales, which enable them to keep their businesses afloat; keep their families and their employees fed.

“And equally, on the other side allows Barbadians to keep Barbadians employed, and to give Barbadians the opportunity to help the country save a little bit of foreign exchange wherever it is possible, by presenting gifts to your loved ones, your friends, your families, significant others; gifts which are created right here in Barbados,” Minister Symmonds stated.

The Minister highlighted that school children participating in the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation’s $20 challenge would be a part of the pop-up marketplace. He also revealed that the Ministry is planning to continue this outlet for SMEs next year during Easter and Summer.

At today’s inaugural pop-up marketplace, several businesses braved the rain and displayed their products, which included craft, clothing, local food and drinks, natural wines, hair and body care items, as well as a rejuvenation booth offering massages.

The Bajan Christmas Pop-up Marketplace continues next Saturday, December 5, at Sky Mall, and again on Saturday, December 12, at Emerald City. It concludes on Friday, December 18, at National Heroes Square, The City.

The Bajan Christmas Pop-up Marketplace is being held in conjunction with the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association, the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Small Business Association, the Barbados Trust Fund Limited, the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme, and the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation.

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