Minister of Small Business, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, Dwight Sutherland, is hoping to see a cooperative formed in every sub-sector of economic production in Barbados within three years.
The Minister expressed optimism about things to come for the sector during the inaugural Annual General Meeting of the Sustainable Energy Cooperative Society Limited at Cooperators General Insurance Building, Collymore Rock, St. Michael, recently.
Mr. Sutherland told the gathering that it is his belief that the micro and small business sectors could only be truly empowered and sustainable if the cooperative movement was also empowered.
“I can assure you that my Ministry is committed to supporting, and, wherever possible, ensuring that the movement is empowered. It is my desire, therefore, to see at least one cooperative formed in every sub-sector of economic production in Barbados by 2023,” he reassured.
The Small Business Minister continued: “As a champion of enfranchisement and empowerment, the co-op movement, as a collective body of small businesses, has the potential to be a developmental partner of Government, and an effective conduit through which the deliveries of Government’s overall strategy can be channelled to develop and grow micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.”
Mr. Sutherland added that through the cooperative movement, Government could have a greater impact on small businesses with respect to the easing of access to finance through programmes of the Trust Loan Fund and FundAccess.
Additionally, the Minister said more benefits will be realised when the Financial Literacy Bureau is rolled out shortly. The programme, Mr. Sutherland said, would help Barbadians manage their money more effectively, and make small businesses more sustainable.
He also anticipates greater sustainability of small businesses when the planned collateral registry and junior stock exchange are established to allow easier access to financing.
Mr. Sutherland challenged the credit union movement to assume a greater role going forward in the effort to empower and enfranchise small businesses.