Constraints facing the region???s Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) are not too far removed from what is being seen globally.

This was highlighted recently as Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo represented Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, at the awards ceremony for the Caribbean Youth Entrepreneurship Summit (C-YES) at Sweet Field Manor, Brittons Hill, St. Michael.

The Acting Business Minister pointed out that these constraints included the need to improve our legal, regulatory and policy frameworks; limited access to financing; the high cost of inputs to production; and inadequate supporting infrastructure.

Others listed were limited human resource and entrepreneurial skills; weak business support organisations; limited trade facilitation services; inadequate marketing support; and lack of ability to conform to regional and international standards.??Referring to research by the Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES), she said it indicated that most small enterprises utilised a labour force which is either low-skilled or semi-skilled.

???The report also showed that there was a lack of sector-specific qualifications of managers which limited the exploitation of market opportunities; the lack of understanding of sector development compounded by the lack of research and development of new products and markets, amounting to an inability to partake in new product design and development.???

According to the Acting Minister, in an effort to address these constraints highlighted in the Barbados scenario, a National MSME Policy is currently being drafted and is to be concluded shortly. This policy initiative is intended to address many of the current deficiencies and ultimately position this current sector to leverage the global opportunities which hitherto would have escaped this group.

???The reality is that competitive and vibrant Micro Small and Medium-sized Enterprises are necessary for our economies to remain prosperous. We must form and strengthen strategic alliances in order to take advantage of economies of scale; increase our production capacity; and reduce duplication, which takes a toll on our scarce resources,??? stated Dr. Byer Suckoo.

Contending that MSMEs were central to the survival of the region, she stressed that a greater effort must be made by both the private and public sector to forge their collective strengths, skills and abilities so that the region???s collective potential could be realised.

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