Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland. (FP)

An innovative mindset is a requirement for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

This was underscored today by Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, as he addressed the start of the Small Business Association’s (SBA) State of the Sector Conference, as part of Small Business Week 2019, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael.

The week is being held under the theme: Small Size, Big Thinking – Changing the Mindset for Global Engagement

In acknowledging the significance of the theme, Minister Sutherland said: “It reflected the sober reality that the immense talent we possess as a nation allows us to be strategically poised to birth a new vision for an MSME sector that must be bold, relevant and globally focused.”

He told owners of MSMEs that leveraging opportunities called for a paradigm shift in thinking that would position the country to both explore and exploit gains within the global market place that are now so jealously guarded by our international counterparts.

The minister dismissed the view that small business was at the crossroads of global enterprise, noting however that he shared the unpopular view of a global few, resolute in their thinking that “small business will in short order become the new big”.

“In other words, it is anticipated that not only will small business no longer be stigmatized as being associated with small mindedness, but its contribution to socio-economic development will in short order be heralded as the saviour of the post-modern economy. The Barbados scenario absolutely bares no exception to this global reality,” Mr. Sutherland said.

This theme, he added, also emphasized the dire need for the emergence of a technologically disruptive intervention.  He said this was particularly so, given the current global agenda where state and non-state actors continue to pay only peripheral attention to the development of our regional economies.

“This in large measure has stymied the growth of regional enterprises, and in a way that can only be adjudged as unimaginable,” he stressed.

(Stock Photo)

While pointing out that it makes an urgently strong case for deeper regional collaboration and cooperation, he said ironically, however, this remains so even though our present circumstances give reasonable cause for prioritized recognition to be meted out to our most vulnerable Caribbean neighbours.  

The minister noted that the need for a paradigm shift, within the context of MSME development, must be pursued to give greater inclusion to the innovative mindset of a new cadre of young entrepreneurs, who are unwilling to be constrained by space, size and an aging business framework.

As he commended the SBA’s contribution to national development, the Small Business Minister urged that they continue to re-think, re-evaluate and re-invent themselves to further deliver on the paradigm shift in MSME development.

Stressing that Government had leadership responsibility to clearly articulate this new vision and would not abdicate it, Mr. Sutherland noted they had established both the Barbados Trust Loan Fund, and there would soon be the Financial Literacy Bureau to address the perennial need for access to funding and to provide a targeted national approach to financial literacy training at the community and national levels.

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