It should now be easier for Barbadians seeking to start a business to access financing and other assistance.
The Small Business Association (SBA) yesterday officially launched a comprehensive Small Business Start-Up E-Toolkit that will help to provide guidance to potential business owners seeking to turn their ideas into viable businesses.
The new toolkit provides information on financing options and local, regional and international development agencies, as well as tips and a template for writing business proposals.
Chief Executive Officer Lynette Holder said the SBA had been receiving weekly inquiries from people who wanted to know the process involved in transforming their ideas into viable businesses.
“For a while people who wanted to start a business in Barbados were unsure of the process to follow. They were unsure of the agencies to go,” Holder told the official launch of the SBA’s 13th annual Small Business Week at the organization’s Harbour Road, St Michael office today.
“So it was felt that there needed to have been a product, a mechanism that will allow us to provide information to anyone who wanted to start a business, that would help them to navigate the process. In a very simple way, give them all of the key information that they will need to start that business,” she added.
The toolkit, which is available on the association’s website, includes nine steps necessary to start a new business, and answers to questions potential business owners might have about the process.
The SBA boss said the association had worked on the guide for the past 18 months, with funding from the European Union and facilitated by the Human Resource Development Strategy of Barbados and the Ministry of Labour.
Holder also disclosed that the findings of a recent study on the sector would be revealed at a forum for small and medium-sized enterprises during small business week.
The study found there were about 9,650 formal businesses in Barbados up to July this year, 96 per cent of which represented micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
“I will also share that of the private sector jobs available in the sector, the small business community is making a viable contribution. We are approximately 60 per cent of the private sector jobs, and some 45 per cent of overall job creation, which includes government,” Holder said.
She did not divulge details of the survey, conducted over an eight-month period by the University of the West Indies and other stakeholders. However, she said it was the first step in researching and documenting the sector’s size, contribution to the island’s gross domestic product and employment, among other areas.