Come Saturday July 3, 2021, Barbados will join the rest of the world in observing International Day of Co-operatives (#CoopsDay).
Under the theme: Rebuild better together, the aim of #CoopsDay is to garner awareness of the movement throughout the world and to promote its philosophy of international solidarity, economic efficiency and world peace.
On that day, the co-operatives movement will showcase the importance of that business model as a major contributor to socio-economic development around the globe. It is expected that co-operatives will demonstrate how they have responded to the COVID-19 crisis, and its effect on their enterprises.
To heighten the public’s awareness about the work of the movement in Barbados, the Co-operatives Department in the Ministry of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship will hold a Co-operatives Fair on the grounds at Church Village Green, Tom Adams Financial Centre, Church Village, Bridgetown. The fair will be held on Saturday, July 3, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
On display will be products and services from a number of co-operatives. These include those in the agricultural sector, such as Ujamaa and Addis Alem Co-operatives; multipurpose co-operatives like Emerging Brands Barbados and the Women Entrepreneurial Co-operatives, both comprising clusters of small businesses with different skillsets, and the Barbados Contractors and Artisans Co-operative – the sole construction co-operative registered to date in Barbados.
According to Registrar of Co-operatives, Brent Gittens, the fair gives the Barbadian diaspora an opportunity to “witness firsthand that members of co-operatives are astute businessmen and women, entrepreneurs and innovators in the Barbadian marketplace, while giving them another platform to exhibit and sell their quality goods and services to members of the public”.
The Registrar indicated that over the last three years, the movement had become more diverse and progressive with non-financial co-operatives being formed in new areas such as construction, renewable energy, and most recently sports.
He added: “Co-operatives continue to demonstrate that, among other things, pooling resources together and working as a collective means that no individual needs to face the COVID-19 pandemic on their own.”
Collectively, the movement in Barbados has over $2.4 billion in assets; has a membership of over 211,000, and employs over 600 people.
However, the non-financial co-operatives, which the Ministry of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship regulates through the Co-operatives Department, have assets estimated at $10.6 million, a projected membership base of 1,350 members, and employs approximately 100 individuals.
#CoopsDay has been celebrated around the globe annually since 1923. It was officially proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on the centenary of the International Co-operative Alliance in 1995.