Entepreneurs not taking up tenders

shadiasimpson, shadiasimpson@nationnews.com

Added 05 November 2012

smallbusiness0087

A NUMBER OF ENTREPRENEURSc are still not taking advantage of Government tenders, says Ruth Blackman, Permanent Secretary  in the Ministry of Industry, Small Business and Rural development. She said too many entrepreneurs  found bidding “a bit burdensome and  as a result they were not benefiting  from the opportunities that came their way “when things are opened up for small businesses to bid.” This came out recently when the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)  in association with Fund Access, one of the ministry’s agencies set up to assist entrepreneurs, sought to expose entrepreneurs to methods of bidding  and how to do costing, she said.   “Government has, as part of their policy, set aside 40 per cent of Government procurement for small business but often that opportunity goes by the wayside because a lot of our small businesses do not understand how to go about bidding and sending in notes of interest to be a part of such an exercise,” said Blackman. “We want to stop that – we want to create as level a playing field as we can for all sectors of the business community, including small businesses, and moreso our female entrepreneurs. And we value the contribution that our female entrepreneurs have made over time,”  she added. The outspoken permanent secretary was delivering welcome remarks last Monday during the opening of a five-day female entrepreneurship workshop held at the Accra Beach Hotel under the theme Applied Management Techniques And Business Modelling For Female Entrepreneurs And MSME Operators. Blackman said it was therefore important to forge more partnerships between the ministry and all its stakeholders “because it is only with this approach that we will understand the challenges that our business community faces and also find solutions that will solve the problems and meet the challenges head-on.” Noting that a lot of opportunities existed, she further urged small  business operators to start looking regionwide for tenders. “Through CARICOM, efforts are on their way [so] that we can have cross-border bidding and you are part of that group who can indulge in that cross-border bidding. So we want you to be as equipped as possible,” she said, adding that the workshop was just one  of the exercises which should better equip them to take advantage  of such opportunities. The workshop was design to, among other things, equip female entrepreneurs with the skills to promote more efficient business practices, facilitate sustainable business enterprises, and enhance  their capacity to compete more favourably at the local, regional  and international levels. (MM)

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