YLAI 2022 Fellows Bevon Charles (Grenada) and Kerrie-Anne Brathwaite (Barbados) chatting with Minister of State in Foreign Trade and Business Development, Sandra Husbands as Fellow, Renee Edwards-Ambrose (Antigua and Barbuda), looks on. (Photo: US Embassy)

Government has embarked on a number of initiatives to provide the appropriate facilitation and environment for entrepreneurs to do better in business.

Minister of State in Foreign Trade and Business Development, Sandra Husbands, said these initiatives were directed towards innovation, information, communication and smart technologies; insolvency legislation, and development of the co-operative movement, among others.

Ms. Husbands made the comments on Thursday as she addressed the Opening Ceremony for the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative Regional Workshop, at the Courtyard By Marriott, Hastings, Christ Church.

She told her audience: “The Government of Barbados has not only adopted this approach to provide support mechanisms for its entrepreneurial class, but it has also sought to transform itself as it moves towards eradicating inefficient, outdated processes and collapsing unnecessary bureaucratic layers that make it so difficult for new entrepreneurs to be able to function, and this is something that our Ministry is deeply committed to.”

She noted that the remit of the Business Development Division of the Ministry was to be transformative in the areas of entrepreneurial development and consumerism.  

“It is in this regard, that as an example, we will continue to advance the operationalisation of the Barbados Electronic Single Window to reduce the costs of doing business; facilitate improvements in competitiveness; provide higher levels of efficiency and transparency…,” she pointed out.

Ms. Husbands proffered the view that the global state of affairs had provided the region with new market opportunities in a wide range of services and products for which it had a competitive advantage, particularly within the Americas and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). 

She also opined that this generation of Caribbean entrepreneurs would make CSME a greater reality for the region and use it to build out the economies.   

“Globalisation and liberalisation of trade and finance provide new and increased opportunities to access both portfolio and foreign direct investment….  In the Foreign Trade Division, we are currently working on initiatives to strengthen our engagement in trade across the region.  We are working on a digital platform called CIMSuPro, which is designed to enable all of our entrepreneurs who have goods to export, to mount them on the platform so that they are available to all the peoples of the region.

Minister of State in Foreign Trade and Business Development, Sandra Husbands and U.S. Embassy representatives join 15 YLAI Fellows for the start of their 2022 business development exchange. (Photo: US Embassy)

“We will even go further; we will work with our CARICOM brothers and sisters at the governmental level to make the necessary adjustments to the Common External Tariff to be able to boost regional demand for your goods and services.  We will work with our colleagues to be able to do bulk purchasing,” she assured.

Ms. Husbands noted that Government was advancing the introduction of a Collateral Registry and a Secondary Market to transform the environment in which micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) access finance and credit, in an effort to break the barriers that restrict access to much needed working capital.

“The Collateral Registry will transform your ability to be able to get credit and this is going to help you to compete…. The proposed Collateral Registry is one of the pivotal reforms expected to elicit transformational change in our local economy and financial system, by contributing to the creation of an effective low-cost secured credit framework….

“This enhancement of a secured transactions environment will, without doubt, be a catalyst to reposition our small enterprises for sustainable growth within the highly competitive global marketplace by providing them with access to finance, not afforded to you traditionally,” she pointed out.

Minister Husbands said work was continuing to amend the National MSME Policy to give execution to the Act, which was being positioned to assist with the development and competitiveness of entrepreneurs.

The two-day workshop gave 15 young people the opportunity to engage in entrepreneurial dialogue.  The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative is a programme which empowers emerging businesses and social entrepreneurs from across Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada and the US, to realise the full economic potential of the region’s citizens.


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