Participants listen attentively to the presentations at the workshop. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Creating an enabling environment for female entrepreneurs is important to Government, and steps will continue to be taken to ensure that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) receive the assistance they need.

Minister of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development, Denis Kellman, offered this message of support yesterday as he addressed the Business Modelling and Applied Management Techniques for Female Operators of MSMEs workshop, which began yesterday.

He observed that both the public sector and business support organisations continued to contribute to the development of female entrepreneurship and noted that the Ministry, through its Micro Grant Programme, had assisted 206 female entrepreneurs to the tune of some $792 960 over the financial period April 2008 to March 2012.??

"Similarly, over the same period, the Barbados Youth Business Trust has provided technical assistance to some 1,468 female-operated businesses in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing and construction; while giving financial support to another 49 female-owned businesses in the amount of $408,000," he said.

The Industry Minister added that the Barbados Small Business Association (SBA) was also making an effort to assist female entrepreneurs, who comprises 33 per cent of its membership.?? While acknowledging the work of the SBA, which has been providing training and technical assistance for women, Mr. Kellman noted that there were still many obstacles to be overcome.

He explained that "several challenges" had been identified by the female membership-base of the SBA, including "the need for increased staffing and improved operational efficiencies; a glaring absence of meaningful networking opportunities; greater access to the level and quality of mentoring as that given to their male counterparts;…[and] the availability of more plant, storage facilities and green-housing for small manufacturing."

Outlining the purpose of the four-day workshop, Minister Kellman said that it was conceptualised "to redress the inappropriate business practices of those entrepreneurs across the landscape of Barbados, who have mastered the art of rushing head-on into a raw, new idea; securing a business plan; and seeking financing without effectively testing, evaluating and refining the original idea."

He added that this lack of preparation permeated the country, where the "traditional business model in Barbados has been the entrepreneur’s non-ownership of the business plan. He or she merely pursues the strategy as enunciated by the consultant or business advisory institution, thus giving rise to further entrepreneurial

detachment in terms of where the business should go; what practical steps must be taken to get there; and the varied crucibles the business may encounter in pursuit of the desired objectives," he stressed.

According to Mr. Kellman, one objective which should be a feature of any enterprise, was the ability to look beyond the local market.??

This, he said, meant that "the small business with global appeal,…" must never mistake small-business for small mindedness. Rather, it must proactively assume those features that would attract international investment to its doors."



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