SME Stakeholders' Forum

Dr Keith Nurse, Senior Fellow, Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies, UWI, headlined the recent SME Stakeholders’ Forum during Small Business Week.

Dr Nurse challenged small business owners, policymakers and students who were in attendance, to understand Small Business Development within the Age of Creative Destruction.  The economist opined that gone were the days when regional economies could look forward to the resurgence of sugar or traditional tourism and proffered that today’s leaders needed to redirect their attention to emerging markets instead of traditional trading partners. Dr Nurse suggested that, among new sectors of focus were the food, Diasporic and digital economies, along with niche tourism. The Senior Fellow stressed that this would require a shift in thought, a paradigm shift that moved our thinking away from targeting the local, regional and domestic markets to one that strategically focused on non-traditional and emerging economies.

The Forum also included a presentation from Mr Orville Lynch, Human Resource Development Specialist of the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development. Mr Lynch stressed that although all five pillars of the Human Resource Development Strategy (HRDS) were important, the 5th pillar – Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Capacity – was of particular significance to the private sector. He suggested that there could be no innovation without evidence-based research since the two were inextricably linked. Accordingly, the work of the SBA in commissioning the first ever-national survey of the MSME sector was lauded. The Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) of the Cave Hill Campus, UWI, conducted the research project, which was funded by the HRDS.


Above, Dr Keith Nurse, being presented a momento by SBA CEO, Ms Lynette Holder. The piece was compliments Medford Mahogany Creations.

The research report captioned "The State of Small Business in Barbadosis available in downloadable format on the SBA’s website

Highlights of the survey include: 

1.    Non-agriculture MSMEs generate $3.5 billion in revenue, which accounts for 47.5% of private sector earnings.
2.    2.7% of the revenue stated above came from micro enterprises; 23.2% from small businesses and 21.5% from medium enterprises.
3.    The greatest contributors are businesses in the services sector, which are responsible for 75% of MSME non-agriculture earnings and 39.4% of total revenue.
4.    The micro and small enterprises contributed 51.4% of gross domestic product (GDP) and non-agriculture medium-sized businesses were responsible for 12.7%, for a total contribution from non-agriculture MSMEs of 64.1% of national value-added.
5.    MSMEs were found to account for 60.7% of private sector employment and 47.6% of total jobs across Barbados in 2015.
6.   The bulk of this employment is in small service companies, which accounted for 33.8% of private sector employment and 26.5% of total employment in the country.
7.   There was an estimated 9,651 formal businesses operating in Barbados, of which 96% were MSMEs.

The research provided statistics showing the significant impact of MSMEs on the economy, the evidence of which confirms that this sector should not be taken lightly.

Below, minister with responsibility for Small Business Development, Mr Donville Inniss, adressing the audience at the Forum.

Donville Inniss