A partnership has been forged between Export Barbados and the government of India that will lead to the expansion of the small business sector, says Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Business Development Sandra Husbands.
“Through a partnership between Export Barbados and the government of India, a special grant has been offered to generate employment and will see a greater expansion of the small business sector. The project will be sustained by the government of India for at least five years to transfer knowledge and skills in packaging and design, among other things,” she said.
Husbands was speaking Sunday at the Church of the Nazarene, Collymore Rock, as the Small Business Association (SBA) marked the start of Small Business Week.
She said that it was paramount that the island was not left behind regarding global technological changes that were transforming the digital trading landscape and leading to the rise of industry 4.0, which both threatened to accelerate progress for advanced economies, and deepened inequities between those and the lesser developed ones.
“The pursuit of programmes to address those inequities and narrow the digital divide while bolstering the capacity, competitiveness and export performance of our MSMEs is paramount. I remind you that to attain progress, we must stand together,” Husbands said.
“Establishing an enabling environment requires a multifaceted strategic implementation plan and participation at all levels in order to foster innovation and present opportunities to business. To accomplish the transformation intended, my government continues to identify and prioritize the policy reforms that will have the biggest impact on the private sector and manage this year’s resources needed to pay for the implementation of reforms. In my estimation, to effect positive change and derive the benefits of any initiative, we must start by changing our mindsets and take a holistic approach to the success we wish to achieve,” she said.
To this end, Husbands pointed to several of the government’s initiatives including the National Training Initiative and Give Back programme, the establishment of an International Food Science Centre, the planned creation of a Life Sciences Park and the Barbados National Standards Institute’s implementation of a front of package label warning to name a few.
Earlier in her presentation to the congregation, the minister said that the island had shown resilience to unfavorable global developments including rising inflation rates worldwide and the ongoing Ukraine/Russia war with the last Central Bank Report showing a 3.9 per cent growth in economic activity for the first six months of the year, the island’s ninth consecutive quarter of economic expansion.
She attributed this not only to government intervention, but the contributions of households and businesses in pressing “against the headwinds”.
“This is a testimony to the efforts of our business sector, especially the small business community, our micro small and medium enterprises, with the support of entities such as the SBA to reimagine and rethink the way businesses operate in the face of the vulnerabilities they bear by daunting geopolitical circumstances… Now this augurs well for the systematic steps being taken by various levels of the society to maintain and enhance productivity and generate growth,” she stated.
Outlining that her administration is focused on enabling the long term recovery and stability of the economy through the promotion of economic diversification, the enhancement of competitiveness, the boosting of growth and development systems that reduce unnecessary bottlenecks and bureaucracy, she admitted that “while we have not reached the epitome of those goals, we have made some progress and with continued cooperation and working together we will continue to make the environment better for business.”