Government will be implementing a clustering programme to strengthen the small business sector as part of its competitiveness initiative.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Patrick Todd, made this revelation recently, while addressing the Small Business Association’s Entrepreneurial Training Series graduation ceremony.?? The event was held at Bagnall’s Point Gallery, Pelican Craft Centre.

He explained that the clustering programme was not only designed to increase the productivity of the enterprises, but was also necessary to allow government to address the structural deficiencies that prevented the sector from pursuing opportunities, under the Economic Partnership Agreement and other trading agreements.

Mr. Todd added: "This methodology is effective in improving efficiency and overcoming the challenges.?? Consequently, this programme provides small businesses with a vehicle to access demanding world markets.

"As this programme is rolled out, I urge the Small Business Association and its membership to get involved and to be a voice to promote its success."

Former Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Terry Bascombe, has been appointed the Barbados Competitiveness Programme coordinator.?? He will be assisted by Delano Scantlebury, and other support staff within the Small Programme Unit.

The competitiveness programme, comprises four major components and when fully implemented, it would rationalise the incentives and regulatory systems associated with business development; rationalise the institutional architecture of business development services; lower the cost of moving goods and people and introduce a framework for clustering initiatives.?? The venture would also improve trade facilitation and logistics; build public/private partnerships; strengthen public/private dialogue and develop a medium-term competitiveness strategy.

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