Chief Executive Officer of the Small Business Association of (SBA) Barbados, Lynette Holder, wants to see more Government business going to small and micro-enterprises as a means of making them viable.
Speaking at the monthly Independence Of University Square meeting last night, Holder bemoaned what she sees as the absence of a supporting environment of the business sector that collectively employs most Barbadians. Towards this end, she called on the current Government to honour a promise of direct support of small business by channelling much of its trade to it.
“If it is that Government is serious about helping small and medium enterprises, then it needs to honour the commitment that 40 per cent of its [purchases of] goods and services will be set aside for small businesses,” she said. “It is just an opportunity to help strengthen the sector.”
Holder said such trade linkages to developing enterprises “is the kind of mechanism that is needed to help those that are vulnerable to find markets to strengthen their businesses to take them from micro to small and to influence growth”.
Further attacking the lack of enabling environment for business development in Barbados, Holder said that the requirements small businesses had to meet before qualifying for state assistance under current laws posed a challenge.
“I was doing some research and found out that within CARICOM, Barbados is the only country that in its legislation for the small business sector has as a requirement to benefit from the provisions of the act, the business must be incorporated.”
She said this did not apply elsewhere in the region.
“In several other countries they do have the legislation, but you just have to have a registered business. We’re the only one [stipulating within our law] that you must
Holder said it was even more burdensome on Bajan businesses because of the high cost of incorporation.
“We all know that incorporation fees can be excessive in this country. So the question therefore: is that an incentive or do we need to review that as well?”
The SBA head spoke also of hassles and the frequent denial of financing for small businesses at commercial banks.
“Our problem is not the availability of financing. It is access to financing. And I am suggesting that we have the wrong kinds of people who are administrating funds in this country.
“I am vindicated in the fact that even recently the OECD came out and supported the fact that we are battling with the number one impediment of access to finance in Barbados development.”