Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland (left) poses with co-owners of TodaMart Inc. Dale and Grafton Haynes at Sunday’s opening ceremony in Drax Hall, St. George. (GP)

With entrepreneurial ventures increasing across the island, Small Business Minister Dwight Sutherland has called on owners to include more males in their businesses.

This appeal came on Sunday, as he officially declared open TodaMart Inc., a minimart co-owned by Grafton and Dale Haynes, located next to Bethel Pentecostal Church, at Drax Hall, St. George.

Acknowledging that the venture had much potential, Mr. Sutherland noted that this could include encouraging youth to be more productive citizens, who could be mentored to pursue the myriad opportunities that would come with an improving economy.

Elaborating, he said: “It is in this regard that I make the bold call to ensure that our young males are not left behind….  When we look around today, where is our challenge? …among young males. Who are picking up the guns? Who are out there causing their parents heartaches? Who is out there trying to destroy this society? Not the women, you may find one per cent.  It is the young males between the ages of …14 and 30, and primarily that grouping within the 17 and 25 [age group]. So, we must, as a church, reach out to these young males in this community and utilize events such as these.”

Further encouraging the church to go into the community, the blocks and housing areas to win males over, Mr. Sutherland said he was reiterating the bold call to ensure young males were not left behind, since like their female counterparts, they represented our most productive resources.

“To continue this practice of social exclusion is only to birth a spirit of social anarchy within our communities.  There must, therefore, be the conscious recognition that if our young males are continually marginalized and are not treated as special cases for urgent social/societal interventions this will not only result in a seriously dysfunctional society, but one that will continue to fall short of leveraging its fullest attention,” he stressed.

Emphasizing the need for God’s intervention to address the chaos Barbados faced, he added: “We need a generation who is bold enough to become the catalyst of this radical change, and entrepreneurship must be viewed as the vehicle to inspire an innovative departure from the existing unproductive norms that the country now faces.”

He further acknowledged his ministry was doing much to ensure the necessary assistance would come about.  He pointed to a suite of exciting initiatives that would transform the entrepreneurial landscape of the country, and would be rolled out in the next few weeks.

They include a revamped small business and development centre programme to help measure the impacts on the environment as well as social impacts of businesses and wealth creation.

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