Financial literacy clinics are to be introduced in schools come next year, Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Kerrie Symmonds has announced.
And he has called on entrepreneurs to place greater focus on innovation and taking advantage of business opportunities that would allow them to offer their goods and services to a wider audience.
Symmonds was addressing the virtual launch of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) 2020, which is being hosted by the Barbados Youth Business Trust (BYBT) under the theme Rising Above the Challenge.
Symmonds told the launching ceremony that through the recently launched National Financial Literacy Bureau, his ministry will be introducing a series of financial literacy clinics.
“These are being rolled out across multiple districts in every parish across the island and will by January, be in every school at the start of the new term so as to enable all of our people, especially those who are micro and small entrepreneurs,” Symmonds explained.
The National Financial Literacy Bureau was officially launched at the end of last month, following months of promises by Government to provide Barbadians with an avenue through which they could gain knowledge and skills that will assist them in improving their money management skills and by extension, creating wealth.
Pointing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Symmonds said along with financial literacy, businesses should take charge in several areas in an effort to stay relevant and grow their operations.
He said in addition to building out an online presence to serve the Caribbean and rest of the globe, local operators in the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) sector should consider collaboration in several areas including the sourcing of raw materials.
“I want to urge upon you the idea and ideal of thinking outside of the box in an effort to build relationships with those who would otherwise have been competitors, but who like you, share a common thrust in terms of market, in terms of type of business, in terms of type of business practices,” said Symmonds.
“Now, I can’t stress enough the importance of harnessing and embracing disruptive technologies, which we have tended traditionally to look either at scant or to view with a measure of suspicion. I think there is a serious need to make adequate use of enabling technologies, not just disruptive ones, but enabling technologies such as QR (Quick response) codes in the marketing and labelling of our products,” he added.
He also called on the MSME sector to review their operational model, including embracing flexitime, in order to derive the best from your employees.
“In today’s environment . . . it is now necessary to embrace concepts such as job flexibility as oppose to the older thinking about rigidities of 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. It is also necessary to pay heed to employee training and training opportunities which lend to the added value of your company so that there is a win-win in terms of the relationship,” he explained.
“Wherever it is possible, I genuinely think the approach of profit-sharing is a very useful one. The employee who thinks you have his or her interest at heart, is the employee who will go out of his way to help secure your success,” added Symmonds.
This year’s GEW will take the form of face-to-face events and online sessions, focusing on motivation.
The November 16 to 22 celebration kicks off with a networking session this evening, a virtual breakfast meeting on Tuesday and a virtual business clinic on Wednesday where entrepreneurs will get advice in areas they have identified.
Entrepreneurs will also have the opportunity to share in a tax compliance session with the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) on Thursday, and on Friday there will be the Start-up Huddle, a platform designed to help entrepreneurs in the form of support meetings.
On Saturday, the BYBT will host the final event, which is the enterprise challenge, where individuals between the ages of 11 and 16 will have the opportunity to pitch their community business ideas and receive funding to turn them into reality. (MM)