As governments worldwide implement strategies to deal with the current economic crisis, a government official has indicated that Barbados’ economic fortunes could be turned around by a vibrant small business sector.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Carson Browne, made this observation last weekend. He was delivering the feature address at the Small Business Association’s (SBA) dinner and awards ceremony held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Noting that persons should see entrepreneurship as a viable career choice, he reminded critics that "any other thinking was not only grounded in untruth, ???but if allowed to etch its way in the minds of aspiring talent, can render sustainable economic development in the region, a further challenge".

Mr. Browne further stated: "The entrepreneurial class the world over, and particularly within the developing economies such as ours, continues to be the hub on which hinges the hope of reviving the modern economy.

"This reality has become increasingly relevant and particularly so in the face of the current global economic climate, where our resilient small and medium enterprises response is essential."

Describing that group as among the "movers and shakers" of economic development in Barbados, the senior official said he was heartened by the SBA’s commitment to ensuring that the national, small and medium-sized sectors remained a competitive option for sustainable economic development and by extension, promoting the economic prosperity of Barbadians.

"The efforts towards achieving this goal did not escape the attention of the government and I would want to encourage you, however, not to lose your strategic focus, but rather, continue to work in tandem with the nation’s economic planners, including the social partnership and other stakeholders, to promote Barbados’ economic recovery."

Mr. Browne opined: "During this time of economic recovery, the way forward must be crafted with conciliatory dialogue among the various stakeholder interests.?? So, the SBA must continue its efforts to engage in programmes that will impact positively on its membership."

In congratulating the SBA on attracting new members, the Permanent Secretary disclosed that the planned establishment of a business facilitation factored programme executed by the Central Bank of Barbados would soon come to fruition.

Mr. Browne expressed the hope that with this programme, the obstacles to obtaining financing to improve their operations would be eliminated.??

During the event, a number of small business persons were awarded.?? Those in winners’ row were Managing Director of Golden Sands Hotel, Dennis Tull, who copped the President’s Award; and True Contentment Event Planning and Consulting, Managing Director, Tanya Martelly, received the People’s Choice Award and a voucher for $5,000 from the City of Bridgetown Cooperative Credit Union.?? Entrepreneur of the year was Luna Designs.

There were also a number of sectoral awards in the categories of farming, construction, general services, manufacturing, information communications technology, professional services and wholesale/retail.??

Meanwhile, Dr Jonathon Lashley, of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and & Economic Studies at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus and Anneke Jessen, of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), were recipients of Community Award

Employees of the SBA were also recognised for their efforts in servicing the needs of members and the organisation as a whole.?? Leading the way was Lianda Chapman, who was adjudged Employee of the Year, while Deborah Springer was voted Most Improved Employee.

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