“It will not be business as usual.”
With those words, newly appointed Minister of Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, has signalled his intent to place greater focus on “business incubators” as a means of engaging the island’s youth to actively participate in well-organised business training regimes.
He said it was necessary to underscore the importance of business incubators in order to “facilitate the development of a more forward-looking small business sector … [and] over the ensuing months, greater emphasis would be paid towards the inculcation of a pre-incubator environment.”
His comments came as he addressed the opening ceremony of a five-day business lab which seeks to focus on Cultural Enterprises or culture-based entrepreneurship at the University of the West Indies Open Campus yesterday. It is being held in partnership with the Pinelands Creative Workshop the Mashav — Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem; the Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Centre; the Young Americas Business Trust — Organisation of American States and the United Nations Development Programme.
He told participants that “the old fragmented approach to business development must be a thing of the past”, and his Ministry would be taking the lead in ensuring that the needs of our entrepreneurs, whether young or old, were appropriately met.
“In the face of a competitive and dynamic business environment, in which we seek to grow and develop our businesses, it is essential that there be the commensurate revisiting and retooling of our operational skill sets.
“Such a targeted strategic response will be needed if our businesses in this region are to achieve the level of efficiency that is required to compete with those coming into our domain and our venturing into the global arena,” the minister added.
While praising the PCW for partnering with other agencies to facilitate the “execution of this important business education initiative”, Inniss told participants that by attending such a workshop, they were not only privileged, but “had become critical stakeholders in Government’s priority effort to revive this nation’s economy”.
The minister also indicated to officials in the Ministry of Social Care and Constituency Empowerment the “urgent need to collaborate in repositioning the island’s constituency councils, and by extension resource centres all around the island to be more relevant repositories of social reform through managed business facilitation at the wider community level”.
He added that the time had come for this country’s resource centres to play a complementary role as part of a wider nationally constituted small business development centre model that would soon be rolled out to “drive a more practical and relevant small business development facilitation in this country”.
Inniss also threw out a challenge to stakeholders and officials “to get out of our air conditioned offices and see what is happening”, while telling participants that “success was seldom built on success, but in many respects, on failure, adversity, frustration, and even catastrophe.
“Government cannot run your business for you… It can create an enabling environment for micro, small and medium enterprises to thrive and be successful. However, it remains your right and your responsibility as entrepreneurs to do whatever it takes to get the next contract, to source the most cost effective and quality inputs, to deliver the type of customer service that is second to none, to stay ahead of your competitor, [and] to ensure repeat business. Put bluntly, your success depends primarily on you,” he charged.