The Small Business Association (SBA) of Barbados is excited by the move by Unicomer (Barbados) Limited to expand the financial options available to its members.
SBA president Neil Corbin and chief executive officer Senator Lynette Holder are elated that micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) will be able to benefit from the microloans by Courts Ready Cash initiative being provided by Courts Barbados Limited.
The microloans will allow MSMEs to borrow up to a maximum of $20,000.
With the Christmas season just weeks away, Corbin said the offer had come at the perfect time.
“Courts has really stepped up to the mark. They have really come forward at just the right time to offer what is so very much needed in the MSME sector these days, where persons have kind of pulled out all of the stops during COVID, they have supplied the island with many products through innovation. They have set up a whole delivery programme among themselves and really pulled together as true Barbadians always will. They have really stepped up to the plate,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Holder explained that while the COVID-19 pandemic had led to difficult economic times, local businesses had been able to pull through by being innovative.
However, she said innovation was not cheap and the financing being given by Courts would help in that regard.
“To say that it has been challenging is an understatement. The fact is that we have seen some business closures. We anticipated that as a result of the lockdown and there not being any economic activity for some time. However, what we have seen is a level of innovation that is commendable because it is needed in order for businesses to survive.
“The COVID-19 and what has happened has demonstrated the importance of innovating your business, your processes, your products and so on, and we are seeing some of that which augurs well.
What we now need to ensure is that those businesses which have been able to innovate, that they can access resources for sustainability and competitiveness and that is always our concern, lobbying for those resources to be available and those resources to be accessible,” Holder said.
She explained that financing was also needed by businesses to allow them to test their products and have the labelling done to meet international standards.
The SBA president also called on Barbadians to support local MSMEs.
Corbin said those businesses had supported the island during the lockdown period and now was the time for the favour to be returned.
“We also need to understand that while the support is there from the financial side of things, Barbadians also need to support the local businesses. We have Independence, we have Christmas coming up where gift-giving is the norm. Local businesses should be supported,” he maintained.
“Where normally a lot of importation would go on, now Barbadians need to look after their own. These small businesses survive a lot on the local sales. We don’t have a great export market although I would love for the market to be much more geared towards export. The fact is we don’t have a great export market so, therefore, it is incumbent on Barbadians in recognition of how well they were served during the lockdown.
“Lets’ face it, the MSMEs stepped up to the plate and really, really provided Barbadians with a great provision of services so now is the time not to discount that but rather to now use that and support them by spending money with those businesses,” Corbin said.