Chief executive officer of the Small Business Association (SBA) says some small business operators have shut down their businesses because of the very difficult economic environment.
However, Dr Lynette Holder, the SBA’s chief executive, has praised those that have withstood the COVID-19 storm, and continued to push ahead in a highly unstable environment.
In the latest edition of the SBA Outlook publication, Holder, who is also a Government Senator, acknowledged that last year was “challenging” especially those unable to trade due to lockdown restrictions and “those who were inevitably forced to close their doors after suffering from significantly reduced income”.
“Exacerbating this already difficult situation was the aftermath of the ongoing volcanic eruption in St Vincent and the Grenadines which recently left the island blanketed in ash and dust, causing further setbacks, and putting a damper on the sector’s reopening plans.
“However, in spite of these challenges, small business owners have remained compliant with the health and safety protocols,” she noted. Senator Holder said some small businesses, which employed between three and ten people in their operations, had “not made a profit in years”.
She added: “We are aware that some businesses have not been able to cope, resulting in closures in some sectors.”
At the same time, she praised the level of “adaptability and resilience” demonstrated in some sectors, and noted it was these characteristics “which must be harnessed
The SBA boss added: “It is for this reason that I think it absolutely necessary to commend those small businesses that have shown a high level of dedication and focus, not only to their businesses but to the health and safety of our local communities during the pandemic.”
Holder commended the “unflinching determination” of small and micro business owners to “persevere despite facing relentless adversity”.
Despite the challenging economic conditions, the SBA recently welcomed 60 new members from a range of economic sectors to its membership.
As she outlined the strategic focus of the SBA for the rest of 2021, Holder said the SBA was “cognisant of the challenges that the small business sector currently faced and was determined to continuously evolve to meet the needs of its members”.
She said there would be greater emphasis on member support, increased lobbying, skills development and marketing support. (IMC1)