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New Centre to assist Small Businesses

For Release Upon Receipt - Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The Sagicor Cave Hill School of Business and Management (SCHSBM) is positioning the Caribbean’s small business sector to lead the region’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, with the launch of the Caribbean Micro Small Medium Enterprise Centre.

It will serve as the umbrella body for a number of small business entities, and will also offer advisory services to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) seeking to expand beyond their current operation. Among its offerings will be four management clinics to be held annually to assist entrepreneurs.

Addressing the centre’s virtual launch on Tuesday, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the SCHSBM, Professor Justin Robinson said it will provide a consistently high level of service to entrepreneurs in Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, Guyana, and Belize.

“Those services are focused on areas where we have developed a unique competence combining the best-in-class international solutions with our unique knowledge of the Caribbean environment built from our years of research focusing on mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, data analysis for guiding your decision-making, strategic planning and management, and mapping and managing your organisational culture for success.”

Professor Robinson said although Caribbean governments have helped create an enabling environment for entrepreneurship, the missing link remains the development of a dynamic private sector.

He added that entrepreneurship is key to job creation and these employment opportunities will be critical to ensuring the social stability of states that are struggling to cope with economic shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent eruption of the La Soufrière volcano in St. Vincent.

“If our economies cannot deliver jobs, cannot deliver opportunities, if they cannot deliver purpose for those on the blocks and in the field then something more elemental than GDP, debt and deficits is at risk. Our social stability will be at risk if our economies cannot deliver opportunities to Caribbean people,” the CEO said.

Principal of the Cave Hill campus, Professor the Most Honourable Eudine Barriteau, stated that the centre was launched at a critical time for Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean, given the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is generally accepted that micro, small and medium enterprises drive economic acceleration in both developed and developing countries. However, as we were painfully reminded by business reports, millions of small businesses in the US alone have closed their doors permanently and countless others are struggling to survive because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The longer this pandemic continues, the longer the Caribbean confronts a similar danger. Indeed, where companies in this region are not already shuttered, owners might be living with the anxiety that their enterprises are on life support,” Barriteau noted.

However she is confident that this new centre will deliver assistance to a sector that can help regional economies to rebound, as well as help to advance the university’s mission of revitalising Caribbean development.

“Even prior to the onset of COVID-19 many Caribbean economies were experiencing severe economic stress with several companies, institutions and other internal entities enduring persistent financial pressure on their own operations. Anaemic economies were managing at best only sluggish recovery from the 2008 recession. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic, triggering a global economic meltdown in 2020 which set our region back several years on its economic growth path.

“But we are not daunted because it is at times like these that the region knows that it can turn to the University of the West Indies and our proven talent of our homegrown experts to demonstrate the university’s true worth,” Professor Barriteau stated.

The Caribbean Micro Small Medium Enterprise Centre will have oversight of two Cave Hill-based units: the Student Entrepreneurial Empowerment Development (SEED) programme and the Lean LaunchPad Programme.

The SEED programme supports budding entrepreneurs at the Cave Hill Campus and across Barbados, while the Lean LaunchPad Programme provides hands-on training for members of the public seeking to start their own business. The latter is offered in partnership with Barbados’ Ministry of Labour.


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