Focus Group On CSME

Participants of the CSME focus group engaging in discussion at the SBA Secretariat

With the current state of the economy, small business owners and entrepreneurs are truly beginning to recognize the importance of not only providing a necessary service or product to the public but also the exigency of having a market to promote and sell these goods or services.

 

The CARICOM Single Market and Economy opens up a new avenue for local small business owners to manufacture and provide their products to a larger market. This is done through allowing the free movement of skills, goods, services and labour across the Commonwealth Caribbean region. In addition
to this, the key elements or goals of the CSME as stated on their website would be inter alia a common external tariff, the right of establishment and free movement of capital.”

These elements have proven to be highly beneficial as they allow for an increase in better opportunities for the production and sale of goods. Additionally, they also attract investment, create greater economies of scale and increase competitiveness among businesses which is crucial to the growth of any
company. This in turn generates a surge in employment opportunities and a greater variety and quantity of goods that can be traded regionally, hence improving the standard of living for many people within the Caribbean Community.

Bearing this in mind, the SBA hosted an impact assessment focus group headed by the CARICOM CSME Unit with the purpose of assessing the effectiveness of CSME’s public education programmes throughout the region. The focus group, which also had an online questionnaire component sought to identify the level of knowledge of everyday individuals of the CSME, as well as their perception and attitudes towards it. The overall aim of the focus group however was to seek to find improved ways of relaying information about the CSME to the public in the future.

This initiative proved purposeful as those present were able to give insight into the challenges they faced with the opportunities provided by the CSME. These challenges were met with open ears by the organizers, as the CSME strives to continue to show its effectiveness as a platform with which to build
economic growth and resilience.

Picture Caption: Participants of the CSME focus group engaging in discussion at the SBA Secretariat