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Small business ‘taken lightly’


rhondathompson, [email protected]

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The view that Dr David Estwick’s new portfolio of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Industry and Small Business Development represents a demotion indicates that the small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector is not taken seriously.
Celeste Foster, president of the Barbados Small Business Association (BSBA), made this point yesterday during an SME Conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
It was hosted by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in collaboration with the BSBA, with the participation of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados (ICAB).
Foster described the reaction to the former Minister of Economic Affairs’ new responsibilities as “disheartening”.
“It was interesting from our perspective in the SME sector that the minister, who in our view was tasked with the portfolio of four pillars of industry, most Barbadians saw it as a demotion.
“And the message that came to us in the sector is that while we speak of the SME sector as being critical to the growth and development of Barbados and to leading Barbados out of the recession, at this point it is merely words,” she said.
 “I am sure that if each one of us were to pause for a moment we can point to someone in our direct family who is involved in the SME sector, but yet we do not treat it as an important sector,” Foster stated.
She added that building a strong, vibrant, successful SME culture is critical to all Barbadians.
“As accountants, you are able . . . to provide valuable support to the sector, not at exorbitant prices, but understanding clearly that there are small businesses who require assistance so that they are able to progress from micro to small to medium.
“. . . Even if they do not progress, it is important for them to have good records,” Foster noted.  (NB)

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