Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Chris Sinckler (left) in discussion with Inter-American Development Bank, (IDB) Representative Anneke Jessen at the launch of FINPYME Export Plus today at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.??

Barbadians need to see entrepreneurship not as a burden, but as an empowering experience.

This was emphasised by Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler today, as he delivered the feature address at the launch of FINPYME Export Plus Programme, an international technical assistance initiative based in Washington, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Mr. Sinckler said that many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), were making tremendous contributions towards national development and the society as a whole.

He told his audience that: "Over the years, successive governments in Barbados have recognised the importance of the small business sector to the economy and have put in place a number of initiatives aimed either directly or indirectly at improving the operation and business environment of the sector."

Mr. Sinckler mentioned some of these initiatives included the establishment of a Business Development Unit to advise on policy formulation, with respect to the development and expansion of the small business sector.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs underlined that Government was also moving to introduce legislation such as the Small Business Development Act Cap 318C; the Electronic Transaction Act; and the Computer Misuse Act. He indicated that these measures would add some formality to the business environment, along with providing greater sustainability.

"Also, only recently in the Annual Budgetary Statement, the Government increased the allocation to the Barbados Agency for Microenterprise Development or Fund Access by $1.5 million to assist its efforts to respond to the needs of its clients who may require working capital technical assistance or training," he added.

Furthermore, Mr. Sinckler identified the implementation of the National Micro Enterprise Programme, which would provide grant financing of up to $3000 for micro businesses, and the implementation of a HACCP Project, where small businesses would be audited for HACCP implementation.

He further stated that Government was also looking at hosting educational seminars to enhance the skills and knowledge of SMEs, and would introduce a Medium-Term Development Strategy, 2010-2014. These initiatives, Mr. Sinckler stressed, would allow individuals and businesses to seize the opportunities available.

The Finance Minister pointed out that government would also allocate 40 per cent its procurement to the SMEs this month. "These initiatives, along with the work of the FINPYME Programme will stand our small business sector in a good stead," he asserted.

The FINPYME Export Plus Programme is part of the Inter-American Investment Corporation. It has $US 1.42 billion in assets and is designed to enable small and medium-seized enterprises to improve their access to export markets.

Similar launches were performed in the Bahamas, Guyana and Suriname.??clashley@barbados.gov.bb

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