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Labour Minister, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo. (A. Miller/BGIS)

The link between creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship and enhanced international competitiveness, wealth creation and the improvement of the quality of life cannot be ignored; and the Ministry of Labour is determined to provide a bridge between these two areas with the Human Resource Development Strategy (HRDS).

Speaking at an HRDS Orientation Seminar for Entrepreneurial Bodies yesterday at the Ministry’s headquarters, Labour Minister, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo disclosed that creating an environment which would cultivate innovation, and by extension create economic growth, was paramount.

"Government will adopt the necessary measures for the enhancement of science, technology, and innovation policies so that we can foster a culture of research and innovation from as early as primary school through to tertiary level education.

"Emphasis will be placed on reinvigorating science education at all levels of the education system, and on building human capacity in these areas through a system of education, lifelong learning, professional development and training and enhancing the functions of several associated agencies," she said.

Noting that innovation was the driving force for entrepreneurship, the Senator observed that with harsh economic times expected to result in an increase in self-employment and entrepreneurial endeavours, "new entrepreneurs must be provided with the technical and customer service skills as well as business and entrepreneurial skills to provide their products or services and grow their businesses".

The Labour Minister pointed out that as such, entrepreneurial bodies had an integral role to play in ensuring that innovation thrived.

"We must, for example, explore the expansion of the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES) in schools to support the development of a culture of entrepreneurship. This complements the efforts to revitalise the Junior Achievement Programme which was once coordinated by the Barbados Chamber of Commerce [and Industry], and other programmes, and there have been calls for the promotion of mentorship programmes for young people, small businesses and entrepreneurs.??

"Government will also support a programme of research into factors that influence the failure of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs,’, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); we will also lead in the development of a framework to assist enterprises during their early phases of development while promoting sustainable growth. We will also highlight successful SMEs, hopefully motivating others to view entrepreneurship as a viable employment alternative," she noted.

The Barbados HRDS, which is supported by a BDS $120 million grant from the European Union over the next five years, features five pillars which speak to the creation of human resource development, a national qualifications framework and demand-driven professional development and training services.

nekaelia.hutchinson@barbados.gov.bb

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