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Larger firms can help SMEs grow


rhondathompson, [email protected]

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President of the Barbados Small Business Association (SBA), Celeste Foster believes that in order for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to survive, larger companies have to work with them.
She said: “Working together would create a positive local impact through the development of strategic partnerships.
“Such partnerships can effect capacity-building in the SME sector through basic skills training, technology transfer, sharing of knowledge and direct investment in infrastructure . . . . These relationships serve to improve the competitiveness of the SMEs,” Foster advised.
She said while it was key for larger and smaller businesses to work together, the SMEs should also “look beyond the shores” of Barbados if they were to survive, grow and thrive.
“There is limited access to finance for SMEs in Barbados. Financial institutions are reluctant to fund SMEs, perceiving them as high risks and having high transactional cost,” she said.
Framework
Foster said “a favourable regulatory framework” was crucial to the development of the SME sector.
“SMEs must have access to tax incentives and business subsidies similar to those available to bigger companies. It is important to note that the access to such should not be shrouded in bureaucracy.
“The burden of regulatory measures should be relaxed and an enabling environment created . . . SME registration and monitoring needs to be less expensive, faster and more transparent,” the SBA president said.
Delivering the opening remarks at the Third Annual Leo Leacock Memorial Lecture at the Errol Barrow Centre For Creative Imagination on Tuesday, Foster said that the SBA had launched a number of enterprises in conjunction with its strategic partners to ensure the sustainability of the SME sector in Barbados.
Included in the plans was the introduction of the Enterprise in Action youth programme which started last year with six schools. She said that number had been doubled this year. (MM)

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