Government should demonstrate a greater level of commitment to the Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (SMEs) sector and one way of doing so is to award more contracts to Barbadian owned SMEs.

Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, said that he was very much aware that this observation had been made ???over and over again.???

His comments were made last Saturday night as he addressed the Small Business Association???s (SBA) Awards and Ceremony Dinner at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Mr. Inniss pointed out that some persons had even gone so far as to suggest that up to 40 per cent of government contracts should be awarded to Barbadian businesses, particularly SMEs. With respect to this, he noted that ???we on the government???s end must start accepting that contracts to be issued by the Government of Barbados, whether for goods or services or consultancies should first and foremost go to Barbadian enterprises.???

He told his audience, which included President of the SBA, Dalton Medford; Chief Executive Officer of the SBA, Ms. Lynette Holder, small business owners and other key personnel, that ???we do have an abundance of talent and resources in this country that must be fully utilised???.

???I do not pretend that we should ever fix a specific amount of government???s work to go to Small and Medium-Sized enterprises, but simply to say that if you do qualify you ought to be given a fair chance to provide that use of service to the State. I also wish for you to recognise that we on government???s end continue to believe firmly in your sector.

???We, certainly, recognise that we cannot do it alone however, and, therefore, I wish to make a call for the media to play their part in highlighting the outstanding contribution of Small and Medium-Sized enterprises in Barbados,??? the Minister urged. He added: ???If we spent all of our time speaking in negative tones, if our media continues to highlight all the negative things in this society, I ask you: ???Where does all the positive energy come from in Barbados????

In addition, President of the SBA, Dalton Medford, asserted that ???one lesson that must be learnt by SMEs from this prolonged global and domestic economic crisis is that business cannot continue to be practised using theories and management models of our colonial past.???

He suggested that ???instead we have to be more responsive to a changing and dynamic global business environment, to equip and engage our human resources and employ technology as a staple of our business operations.???

Mr. Medford told attendees that the SBA would continually posit the view that small businesses represent the engine of growth within an economy and that one of their aspects of strategic visioning was their focus on the youth.

The SBA President outlined that since 2009, that organisation SBA had implemented a programme called the Enterprise in Action Youth Programme, which had grown from nine schools to 15.

??????Our focus on sensitising the youth to business is a part of our vision to be the agency for business and entrepreneurial development. We know that a culture of entrepreneurship is needed as we explore ways to emerge from the current economic crisis. Innovation, risk taking, seizing opportunities and creativity are all characteristics to be inculcated in this culture,??? he maintained, while stressing that the youth represented the ???catalyst to influence such a culture???.

Small Business Week ran from September 22 to 28 under the theme Reenergising SMEs, Repositioning for Growth.

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