Entrepreneurs need to raise quality standards if they want to export, Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce Dwight Sutherland has suggested.
The minister has called for stricter national standards to push for the development and marketability of small business products and services.
He said having a national quality infrastructure model of standards, metrology, testing and certification and accreditation has now become a necessity that will serve micro, small and medium enterprises well.
“Entrepreneurs must now focus on standards to enhance their competitiveness. International standards will provide new market access to entrepreneurs by removing these trade barriers,” he added.
The Commerce Minister suggested the development and enforcement of domestic and international standards in both services and products were key to integrating the country into the world trade system.
Sutherland was attending a press launch of Services Weekend Barbados 2018, hosted by the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries (BCSI).
He announced that Government was forming a Financial Literacy Bureau to support rising businesses and entrepreneurs. He stated that the Bureau will offer training to entrepreneurs and mentorship and also seek to create a competitive advantage for those businesses.
Sutherland urged key stakeholders to not offer their support to entrepreneurs by providing them with capital but also impart them with “financial literacy, mentorship and market intelligence”.
“Succeeding as an entrepreneur is all about identifying a need and finding a way to supply that need. Finding a niche in the service industry even in the face of recent economic challenges and pending job cuts is going to be critical to your survival,” said the minister for entrepreneurship.
Executive director of the BCSI, Graham Clarke, stressed on the need for further interest and exploration of the information communication and technology (ICT) sector. He suggested the entrepreneurs capitalize on the era of digital technology for export.
“We need to be pushing our entrepreneurs to create, to produce and not just to consume,” Clarke emphasized.
“When it comes to digital technology, I feel as though we are in the category of late adopters or sometimes we are lagging behind. In terms of cellphone use . . . we are up in the ranks in the Caribbean and Latin America.
“We have the hardware but we need to do more in terms of using the software to drive that hardware technology to help transform in the way we do business. E-commerce needs to be pushed and we need those platforms to help us to do business more efficiently,” Clarke declared.
While unveiling the October issue of the services firm coalition’s magazine, The Exporter, which focuses on culture, creativity and climate change, as he launched the Services Weekend.
From Friday November 16 and Saturday November 17, it will include the technology forum, dubbed #BIMTECH, a health and wellness expo and a concert, Firefly: From Obscurity to the Limelight.