The Barbadian cooperative movement continues to grow, according to Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland.
He was speaking on Saturday at the celebrations for International Day of Cooperatives at Church Village Green, Central Bank of Barbados when he disclosed that there were 59 cooperatives in Barbados, which span a plethora of industries such as transportation, agriculture, investment, financial and saving groups.
Of the 59 cooperatives, 24 are non-financial cooperative entities.
Sutherland said financial cooperatives in Barbados provide employment for more than 500 people and facilitate business for more than 200, 000 members, while non-financial cooperatives employed 70 people and their membership stands at 822.
The Minister of Small Business reported that from June 2018 to June 2019, four new cooperatives have joined the fray – Emerging Brands Cooperative Society Limited, the Barbados Association of Coach Owners Cooperative Society Limited, The Cooperative Society Investment Fund Limited, and Farm Connect Cooperative Society Limited.
While making reference to the theme COOPS 4 Decent Work, which refers to cooperatives prioritizing human development and social justice within the workplace, Sutherland spoke about the great contributions the co-op movement has made to the stabilization of the Barbadian economy.
“From a macro perspective, they have assisted in stabilizing the Barbadian economy since they have originated as and still remain community-based business anchors; and distribute, recycle, and multiply local expertise and capital within a community and by extension a country,” said the Minister.
“One of their strengths is that they pool limited resources to achieve a critical mass and create economies of scale. They enable their owners to operate at lower costs, generate income, jobs and accumulate assets; provide affordable, quality goods and services; and develop human and social capital, as well as economic independence.” (KK)