The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Small Business Development is drafting a new policy aimed at further developing the small business sector in Barbados.
Minister Donville Inniss, who holds responsibility for these portfolios, told the media launch of a Scotiabank small business financing facility earlier this week that he was hoping the new policy could be ready for presentation to Cabinet by August.
“We will, by August of this year, be going forward to the Cabinet with a new policy designed around enhancing the micro and small business sector in Barbados,” Inniss said. “We are at the stage where the final draft document is being prepared and will be circulated to stakeholders in a couple of weeks.”
He added: “I have asked that we get [the final document] ready for Cabinet by August. That will then certainly create the platform from whence we further diversify the small business sector here.”
Inniss explained that the Ministry of Small Business Development was undertaking
“a complete review of the micro and small business sector in Barbados aimed at creating the right kind of policy space from whence we can develop this very important sector”.
“The Government is of the firm view that the small business sector in particular is the one that is really going to continue to drive this economy, diversify it, create the jobs, earn and save the foreign exchange, but above it all be the place from whence our entrepreneurs and young people in particular can achieve their full potential,” he went on.
The minister said his ministry would also be “retooling” in an effort to be able to more effectively measure the number of micro, small and medium enterprises on the island. He also suggested that the definition of what constitutes a small business in Barbados might change.
Under the Small Business Development Act, a small business is currently defined as a company with more than 75 per cent of its shares locally owned, has capitalization of less than $1 million, has less than $2 million in annual sales and has less than 25 employees.
“Working with stakeholders, we are looking to bring contemporary definitions into play,” said Inniss, pointing out that some work has already been done in that regard between the University of the West Indies, economist Dr Clyde Mascoll and his ministry.
Adding that his ministry was seeking “to create more of a research culture in the business community”, Inniss said “right now there are too many people who do things by shooting from the hip or gut feeling and not really relying on the critical evidence and research”.
“Throughout the lifetime of any business, research must remain an integral part of the development process. The other side is . . . to foster a culture of entrepreneurship. Undoubtedly, we have the bright sparks of entrepreneurs that come to the fore but we need this to be a regular occurrence,” Inniss said, adding that the education system also “has to be fully onboard”.