Councils could help with small businesses
GOVERNMENT IS BEING ADVISED to use constituency councils and its overall local governance infrastructure to develop community entrepreneurship.
Dr Paul Pounder, a lecturer in the Department of Management Studies, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, made the recommendation in a new paper Expanding Entrepreneurship Opportunities Through Local Governance: The Case Of Barbados.
“The Government of Barbados needs to develop and enact legislation which will encourage community entrepreneurship by making provision for research, legal and financial support to potential entrepreneurs,” he suggested.
Pounder said this should include “new venture development within a review of the Small Business Development Act” and “local incubation units and clusters should be set up near constituency councils across the island”.
“An incubation unit can be described as a system or facility which supports new businesses at the outset, and helps them to survive and advance during what is a precarious stage in the business development process,” he said.
“The establishment of incubation units and clusters would encourage networking and provide adequate infrastructure for taking enterprises to the next level.
“Each incubatee/cluster member would be linked to a business development officer (BDO) with the Entrepreneurial Development Division of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation.
“The BDO would help potential entrepreneurs not only by providing information, advice and suggestions, but also by linking them with the local and global funding agencies which support new ventures – mainly the Fund Access and Enterprise Growth Fund Limited which is a company set up by the Barbados Government.
Further assistance might be required with writing funding proposals,” he added.
Elaborating on his proposal, Pounder said the Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development “would oversee, coordinate, monitor and facilitate all activities of the local incubation units and clusters, with the overarching aim of providing all necessary support for their development”.
“These businesses should thus grow and rise to the point of graduating out of the incubator/cluster so that new potential entrepreneurs can join the programme. Rewards and incentives should be provided to entrepreneurs who outperform others and show good performance metrics when assessed on employment, net foreign exchange earnings and greening initiatives,” he said.
Pounder said Barbados’ local Governance framework, specifically constituency councils, were “still very much in its infancy and far from clear cut, hence “this means the relationship between constituency councils and those government institutions designed to facilitate entrepreneurship are underdeveloped”.
“This paper’s proposed framework for community entrepreneurship seeks to address this issue by creating transparent lines of communication and control areas, and it is therefore recommended that the Government support this structure. The proposed framework is a first step in developing a way forward for community entrepreneurship,” he said.