Business support service entities need to constantly re-evaluate their role, and failure to do so will lead to their irrelevance in our economy and in the business sector.

Small Business Development Minister, Donville Inniss, gave this warning today as he addressed the Global Event Planners Expo entitled: Get to know what the Finance and Development Agencies have to offer, at the Tom Adams Financial Centre, Grande Salle.

Mr. Inniss noted that over time, his Ministry had observed some specific challenges dealing with this particular issue.

He cited them as poor customer relations; poor knowledge of clientele; inadequate use of technology to disseminate information and to process applications; inadequate skill set to service clientele; insufficient financial resources; and a highly bureaucratic structure as hindrances.

However, the Minister pointed out that he recognised that in spite of these and other challenges, without business support services, the business community would not be as vibrant as it is today.

???Our business support agencies must be able to take a macro view of the environment within which their clients have to function in order to render best advice. Secondly, we must have a firm grasp of the sectors which we serve. How can we provide business support services if we do not understand the businesses which we are supposed to be supporting???? he reasoned.

Conversely, the Minister stated that from a financing side, there were some issues that needed to be dealt with as well. He identified them as onerous application procedures; a feeling of not being welcomed by lending agencies; a perspective that key decisions were being made in places that were culturally different from ours; lack of individual appeal and appreciation; high fees for banks; and legal issues.

Mr. Inniss also called on finance and development agencies to ensure that they shared, in a consistent manner, the range of services which they offered.?????Our business support organisations must understand the need to promote greater participatory leadership by rising to the occasion of providing a more effective service to their clientele, since in many respects [they] remain the power brokers in determining their success,??? he told his audience.

Mr. Inniss reminded the entrepreneurial sector in Barbados that it had a duty to bring clarity to what it perceived to be its needs and, to be willing to share pertinent information with business support and financing entities.

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