Participants prepare to go through the steps of the National Sector Management Database.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs is advocating the concept of business networks and clusters as a viable option for entrepreneurs to develop their small enterprises.

According to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Carson Browne, who delivered the feature address on behalf of Minister, Dr. David Estwick, this concept had been crucial to the cooperative element between small and medium-sized businesses.

He made these suggestions yesterday, while addressing the official launch of the National Sector Management Database for the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. The event took place in the Small Business Development Centre’s Training Room, Fontabelle, St. Michael. 

The database, which is part of a wider Pan-Caribbean Small Medium Enterprise and phase two of the Information Communication Technology Competitiveness Programme, is sponsored by the Commonwealth Secretariat on behalf of seven Caribbean member countries.

In underlining the importance of the database to the effective management of the small business sector in its totality, Mr. Browne said it would allow for the generation of statistical information to effect better economic planning for these types of businesses. Another feature of the facility, he said was the identification of potential networks, clusters and joint ventures to spur on the competitiveness of small enterprises.

The official further stated that the system would also facilitate the management of the supply chain that would not only promote economies of scale, but, also, lead to a reduction in the cost of doing business across the region. Of equal importance, the Government official said was the management of a loan and grant facilities component to implement loan default mechanisms to bring the defaulters’ accounts up-to-date.

Noting that the initiative was critical to achieving Government’s objectives for the sector, Mr. Browne made an appeal for greater transparency in the information gathering process. “The time is right for the relaxing of some of those impediments which have precluded access to critical business information located within our agencies.

He further stated that: “While we laud its possibilities, the database will not survive past any policy initiatives informed by the hoarding of basic information.”  The senior Government official warned that any organisation which chose not to share would “eventually loose its relevance and limit its success.”

In reaffirming Government’s commitment to the entrepreneurial sector, Mr. Browne stated: “Let me affirm Government’s recognition of the sector’s contribution towards national development by ensuring that it is well placed to be among the leading sectors of this economy.”

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