Labour Minister, Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo, has encouraged local entrepreneurs to grasp opportunities for development, noting that the business community continues to drive the island’s economic growth.
Dr Byer-Suckoo was addressing the Formula A: Accelerate workshop this morning, hosted by Scotiabank, the Human Resource Development Unit and reality television show Bank on Me.
“Through entrepreneurs … Barbados’ economic landscape is now characterised by productive enterprises that have contributed to over $8 billion of annual output within the last five years, $40 billion in exports and a diversified economy,” she said.
The minister noted that the talent and innovation of the sector also contributed to Barbados’ status as one of the most developed countries in the Eastern Caribbean.
“Barbados is rich with entrepreneurial talent, and that talent has driven our economic growth and development for decades, even centuries. The entrepreneurs are the risk takers, the innovators, the change agents, that have led Barbados’ transformation from a low income economy dependent on sugar production into one of the richest and most developed countries in the eastern Caribbean.”
However Dr Byer-Suckoo said locals need to change their perception of self-employment and business ownership.
She pointed to the 2014 global entrepreneurship monitor report, which shows that Barbados held the strongest fear of failure in entrepreneurship throughout the CARICOM countries.
“Only 11.5 % expect to start a business within the next 3 years, 37.6% saw it as a good career choice.
“Folks thought that the Ministry of Labour was just about positioning people in jobs and finding jobs for people to get into…but we’re also realising that it’s not just about putting you in a job, it’s about helping you to create something.
“Not everybody is going to be able to go out there and get employment, you are going to having to create for yourself as well,” Dr Byer-Suckoo said.