The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) wants government to create small Pelican Village-like markets, strategically located across the island to expose the products of Bajan crafts people to shoppers.
That call came today from Opposition spokesperson on Small Business, Santia Bradshaw, after a tour of BMEX 2015, where she encountered a number of business operators along with other skilled crafts person, who once operated in Pelican Village but are now working from home.
Bradshaw said the main obstacles to growth for these small business persons were marketing and cost of production, which includes rental of facilities.
“A number of operators here are operating from home because the cost of being able to find a location, pay the rent, the electricity, and all of the overheads, in addition to doing the manufacturing is very prohibitive,” she said after a walk-through of the business expo at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, with Leader of the Opposition, Mia Mottley.
Noting that she had encountered many former Pelican Village operators at the expo, Bradshaw said: “You have about 25 shops down there [at Pelican village] but there are only six or seven open at this time. A number of them [at BMEX] are complaining that because of the lack of marketing, people are not frequenting the business area. So it has resulted in a number of persons defaulting on their rent”.
She spoke of a need to “ensure that there were linkages with the tourism sector, and local persons who could patronise the businesses”.
“For instance…if you are not driving traffic through Pelican Village then obviously it is going to hurt the businesses that are there
“We need to have a number of other areas designated for showcasing local talent and being able to create the necessary environment for a number of these businesses.”