As Barbados gears up to host several major events next year for the highly touted We Gatherin’ 2020 celebrations, micro and small business operators are being encouraged to position themselves to take full advantage of opportunities that will be presented.
With the island expecting an increase of more than 200,000 arrivals for the celebrations scheduled for each month next year, Project Coordinator of the We Gatherin 2020 Selma Green insisted that the year of activities will be “a catalyst for economic activities”, and she has called on the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to ensure that economic activities were increased across the island.
“There are going to be lots of opportunities for you . . . You will have the opportunity to connect with new markets through the diaspora. A lot of people are coming home from all over the globe and they are not just coming here to have a good time. They too, are business people, so make sure you connect with them,” she encouraged.
“We expect to increase our visitor arrivals by six per cent,” she said, adding that it was expected that at least 70,000 of those additional arrivals will be Barbadians.
We Gatherin’ is a 12-month celebration of Barbadian excellence, and a recommitment to the country’s future and core values.
The year 2020 has been designated as one for Barbadians and those who love the country to come home, reconnect with family and friends, and invest in the rebuilding and development of Barbados.
The initiative will begin in the north of the island in January 2020, and move southward each month, allowing each parish to showcase its icons, social life and the food for which it is renowned. The parish celebrations will culminate in St Michael in November, and We Gatherin’ will climax in December.
Green said the celebrations in each parish each month would provide a chance for small business operators here to build out their e-commerce platform as they form partnerships with other Barbadians from the diaspora.
“Of course, there are going to be huge opportunities for merchandising . . . when those Barbadians come home they are going to be looking for something to go back home with, that reminds them of Barbados,” she said.
Green said with the expected influx of people next year, food vendors and those offering transportation services should also benefit greatly.
“Participate in the We Gatherin’ activities and participate not only from a social perspective but from an economic perspective. Make sure you get in there whenever there is a show or community event to showcase your product and services,” advised Green.
She was addressing Small Business Association (SBA) members during the annual SBA Small Business Week awards ceremony at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on Friday.
Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce Dwight Sutherland also encouraged the SBA members to foster relationships and linkages with business owners from the diaspora when they return home next year for the celebrations.
Lauding the SBA for its role in helping to grow the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises sector, Sutherland said it was his intention to get more local businesses exporting their goods and services.
“We will do it as a team by focusing on advocacy, business development and training, which is critical, and seeking venture capital for these businesses,” he said.
During the award ceremony a total of ten businesses were awarded, with the operators each walking away with a trophy, vouchers for SBA training and a video feature of their business.
There were six sectoral awards and four special awards.
The most prestigious award on the night – the President’s Award, went to the project management firm Impact Training and Development Services, while the Small Business of the Year Award went to Sentry Insurance Brokers Ltd.
The Minister’s Award for Innovation went to the Caribbean Weight Loss Clinic and Spa, while the Spirit of Excellence Award was copped by the over 50-year-old Courtyard Caters Ltd. (MM)