A new voice for small business is emerging

A new group representing the interests of micro and small businesses in Barbados has challenged the government to make it easier for businesses in this sector to survive.

Bajan Alliance of Businesses (BAB) President Nicole Johnson complained that the lack of accessible financial assistance has worsened with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, leaving some micro and small businesses to die of a “painful and silent death”, even as big business continues to raise their hands.

Johnson, who was speaking at the alliance’s virtual groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, also suggested that those in positions of authority were using their power to keep some businesses “down.”

“If Barbados’ economy is to rebound effectively, it needs entrepreneurs to emerge, people bold enough to dive into the deep waters and prepare to swim for their lives, and the Bajan Alliance of Businesses is hoping to have this branch. to help every business. survive, ”she said.

“Unfortunately, we are aware that our social and economic structures and systems have made it difficult for businesses in general to survive. Large businesses seem to have all the support they need to keep them going, but even a typical small loan is hard to come by as a small business. Also, it should be noted that some of our members who are entrusted with a certain degree of power and authority use that power and authority to reduce each other.

“As a result, small businesses often fail on multiple levels. We hope to gain the full support of the Government of Barbados as we seek assistance for our members in building strong businesses that would bounce back into a strong economy, ”Johnson said.

She said financial aid was the number one need in the industry right now, admitting that while financial institutions were often quick to deny micro and small businesses a loan, some businesses were guilty of not have the appropriate structures in place. .

In her remarks, Small Business Minister Kerrie Symmonds pledged government support while indicating that the survival of micro and small businesses will also depend heavily on their “willingness to evolve and adapt”.

He said the government was willing and ready to help all levels of businesses survive and ensure their future viability. Adding that the pandemic has been a major ‘game changer’ for everyone, Symmonds suggested it was forcing companies to make changes they didn’t think were possible or viable.

“I want to suggest to you that it is your entrepreneurial willingness to evolve and adapt that is at the heart of your success. . . Likewise, any future success you will have will be your ability and willingness to continue whatever policy prescription I might propose as a minister, whatever legislative or institutional reform the government may implement, everything will fail. if you, as an entrepreneur are unwilling to constantly reassess and re-evaluate your position and the way you do these things in order to ensure that you continue to evolve and adapt and stay relevant in the market ”, a- he declared.

Nonetheless, Symmonds said he believes it is his duty as minister responsible for the small business sector and government to partner with those responsible for the sector to ensure they continue to grow. .

“For example, with regard to micro-businesses, we want them to become small businesses. We want small businesses to grow into midsize businesses and eventually achieve a platform at the export level. This is ideally the target that we want to promote, ”said Symmonds.

He admitted that the government, despite having the best of intentions, “may not live up to expectations.”

However, he said, “I want to know when you feel this is happening. . . feel free to let me hear so that I can sit down with my parents and let them hear and then let’s see what we can do to make it better because at the end of the day no one feels it except the person who feels this. “

Symmonds pointed to a range of technical assistance provided by the government to the sector as it urged companies to take advantage of it.

The New Small Business Alliance is described by Johnson as a melting pot of dynamic and resilient professionals from multiple industries who aim to “work together to help build each other through professional fellowship and referral opportunities.”

“We aim to be an organization of business people who look out for one another, operating with the highest degree of professionalism, integrity and sound business standards and practices,” Johnson said.

“The time has come for us to stop tearing ourselves apart and take jealousy into the background,” she said. (MM)

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