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Small Business sector to receive a boost

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Providing approximately 60 per cent of employment within the local workforce, the small business sector looks likely to receive a well-deserved boost, courtesy of a Commonwealth Secretariat-funded consultation on an integrated Micro Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Policy and Strategy.{{more}}

The consultation, which was declared open by Minister of Telecommunications, Science, Technology and Industry Dr Jerrol Thompson, took place on Tuesday, April 7th, at the Fisheries Conference Room.

Lead Consultant Melvin Edwards explained that, along with Steve Van Houten, he has been drafted to lead the development of an integrated policy and strategy to set a new framework for the “growth and expansion” of the private sector in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, focusing on micro, small and medium businesses.

Edwards further related that through this consultation, a number of measures should be identified that the government can practically implement to improve the sector, and make it more attractive – particularly to the youth. He added that the main aim is: “To identify a number of the key sectors for the future that could give SVG a broader basket of economic pursuits, rather than a heavy concentration of one or two sectors. We believe economic growth is going to come out of a more diverse basket of opportunities.”

According to the most recent ‘Doing Business’ report, SVG is rated number one in terms of competitiveness and facilitation for the construction sector. Edwards cited this as a great advantage in ensuring that the resultant policy has real impact, and not end up like others that have been shelved over time.

In his remarks, Minister Thompson noted that throughout the world, SVG included, we are seeing a growth in micro, small and medium enterprises in the face of the ripple effect of the global economic crisis.

Thompson ensured that the consultation would focus on several sectors with “added attention” given to those considered to be the best bets. “We want SVG to be known for its excellence… it has to be inculcated in the culture of our society.” He further added: “We want to see you (small business owners) go regional and global in your approach… This approach must craft something unique for SVG.”

Chairman Ellison Clarke, Economist in the Ministry of Telecommunications, Science, Technology and Industry, expressed his delight at the attendance of several key persons and organizations within the small business sector – something which no doubt indicated that the Ministry is moving along the right path. “It is imperative that a forward-looking and proactive Ministry focuses concerted attention on the development of this vital sector, which will ensure the sustainability of our development model,” Clarke declared.

Derrick Akintade, Enterprise Development Adviser in the Commonwealth Secretariat, also gave brief remarks.(JSV)

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