To push business and entrepreneurs beyond the shores of Barbados, there must be attention to standards.
This was underscored recently by Commerce Minister, Dwight Sutherland, as he addressed the official launch of the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries (BCSI) Services Weekend Barbados, an event slated for November 16-17.
He said: “…We believe, in the Ministry of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, that the National Standards regime would also be critical as we move forward. So, having a national quality infrastructural model that seeks to address issues such as standards, metrology, testing, certification and indeed accreditation has now become a necessity and would serve micro, small and medium enterprises well.
“The development and enforcement of domestic and international standards is key to the greater integration of Barbados into the international trading system, whether it is services or with products. Entrepreneurs must now focus on standards to enhance their competitiveness. International standards will provide new market access for entrepreneurs by removing these trade barriers. Standards will also play a pivotal role in supporting emerging technologies by establishing the rules and the values that will underpin the application and use of these technologies.”
Mr. Sutherland, while noting his Ministry had a unit dedicated to small business growth and development called the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC), encouraged the BCSI to continue to strengthen its partnership with the Ministry in championing the operations of this unit that offered services in areas such as technical assistance, market research, business plan development, financing, occupational health and safety and HIV/AIDS awareness.
“All of these services are crucial to creating the requisite economies of scales and growth that the micro, small and medium enterprises will require to ultimately be able to export to regional and international markets. You need not forget the role of standards and building out the national quality infrastructure,” he declared.
The Minister also had some advice for entrepreneurs gathered at the launch. He said succeeding as an entrepreneur was all about identifying a need and finding a way to supply that need.
He added: “Finding a niche within the services industry, even in the face of recent economic challenges and pending job cuts is going to be critical to your survival; diversify your businesses as an entrepreneur and avoid the ‘me too’ product and service mentality and approach; operate and conform to the highest standards, whether it be a product or service and develop a culture of hard work.”
While noting that deferred gratification would help them through the period of pain and austerity, he added: “Hard work will be critical; don’t spend all of what you earn; avoid the consumerist attitude and take the necessary steps to protect your business; protect the “goose that lays the golden egg”. Don’t go and kill the goose to get everything at once. Innovate, Innovate, Innovate. Don’t settle for the ordinary.”
The launch of Services Weekend Barbados coincided with the publication of the Services Weekend Barbados Exporter magazine, which Executive Director of BCSI, Graham Clarke, said is online, and focuses on the cultural, creative and climate change industries.