Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Stephen Lashley has urged local investors to support the island’s emerging businesses, as aspiring entrepreneurs compete in the third season of reality show Bank on Me.
“I find that often times, local businesses, local investors are slow to invest in good ideas,” Lashley told a Bank on Me expo at Sky Mall today.
He also warned that if local investors passed on the home talent, international competitors would seize the opportunity.
“It is either that the local businesses and investors come forward to invest in these ideas or indeed they will see regional or international investors do it for them.
“Nobody is waiting around, the sky is the limit, investment climate is one that is borderless and I believe that where businesses could invest in entrepreneurs, it could help to boost their business. It can also be a determinant of whether or not they survive,” Lashley said.
He added that “strong indigenous businesses” are needed to boost economic growth as government continues to grapple with economic challenges.
“The immediate future will be more about Governments balancing their budgets to significantly reducing or removing fiscal deficits while creating the enabling environment for businesses like yours to drive economic activity to create vital foreign direct inflows,” he advised.
Lashley also called for an improvement in the way business is done here, on the heels of the World Bank’s recent assessment of the ease of doing business globally in which Barbados placed 119th.
He revealed that according to the survey Barbados ranked 100th in Starting a Business; 158th in dealing with construction permits; 126th in getting credit and 117th in trading across borders.
“We cannot expect to build a strong economy if we don’t improve in these vital areas,” the minister said.
Addressing the 12 contestants whom will be advancing to the next stage of the competition, Lashley suggested that businesses do not limit themselves to a local or regional sphere but to think internationally.
“Your aim should be to revolutionize how business is done in Barbados and you should also position to not only be regional and local players but you should yourselves to be global players,” Lashley said. (KK)