Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss. (FP)

Cognisant of the tremendous role the small business sector can play in leading this island’s economic revolution, Minister of Commerce, Donville Inniss, is challenging the sector to do more than just survive.

Speaking during the Small Business Association’s (SBA’s) awards and reception at Radisson Aquatica Resort last weekend, Mr. Inniss reminded members of the sector that they were the agents for change.

He added: “You are able to transform our society economically, politically, socially and culturally, and therefore I challenge you to more than just survive. Let us work together to ensure that this sector continues to play a meaningful role in the economic development of Barbados.”

Acknowledging the challenges the sector faced, Mr. Inniss intimated that many of the existing trials business people encountered daily were the same that other entrepreneurs had faced for more than two decades.

Given this scenario, the Commerce Minister mentioned access to finance, the lack of a good business plan; the absence of sound legal advice; the failure to seek accounting advice, and limited networking, as some of the pitfalls that can befall entrepreneurs.

On the point of financing, Mr. Inniss reiterated an earlier pronouncement that with immediate effect, officials at Fund Access have been instructed to relax some of the requirements needed for financing.

“Sometimes you do not understand what that individual is going through and then you say them, well you need three, four or five guarantors.  Supposed you want to borrow $20,000, you have to bring $40,000 in security.  That has to come to a screeching halt.  Therefore as Minister, I have directed Fund Access with immediacy to be more flexible in their lending policies towards the micro, small and medium enterprise sector in Barbados,” he emphasised.

He reasoned that there were many Barbadians whose dreams were being “dashed” because some agencies were not flexible and gave the assurance that: “As long as I am part of a Government rest assured, we will break down the barriers that stand between success and other things in the private sector in this country including the small business sector.”

He also urged for greater understanding of the trials small business people face.

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