SBA Launches Small Business Week 2017

The Small Business Association (SBA) recently launched Small Business Week (SBW) 2017 under the theme “Exploring a New Paradigm for the Survival of SMEs”.

This year’s week of activities is hosted at a time when greater focus is needed on the necessary strategies and solutions to fuel growth among micro and small businesses, against the backdrop of prolonged economic downturn in the domestic market.

SBW now in its 14th year and funded by First Citizens Bank, is geared towards highlighting the contribution being made by SMEs to social and economic development, and celebrating those who continue to employ creative solutions to ensure their sustainability.

President of the SBA, Mr. Dean Straker commented that the local downturn, compounded by sluggish growth in the international economy after the 2008 global financial crisis, has made it even more difficult for small and medium enterprises to remain competitive. “Recognising that SMEs, unlike big businesses, have the potential to impact not only economic growth but social development, it becomes imperative to consider at this time the kinds of innovative ideas that are needed to fuel the survival of these enterprises”, the president added. Mr. Starker confirmed that the SBA will seek to lead the national attention and dialogue on this critical issue during this year’s week of activities. “It is hoped that strategic and feasible solutions will emerge through the various fora of engagement and discussions planned for Small Business Week”, the president stated.

The SBA also launched its Solar Transport project, an initiative of the association funded in part by the GEF Small Grants Programme of the UNDP. The project is aimed at increasing awareness of sustainable transport in the historic city of Bridgetown.

SBA CEO, Ms. Lynette Holder, remarked that there were a number of problems the project identified and sought to address during its roll out. These include the issue of traffic congestion in the City and the need to encourage support for climate change mitigation through the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Ms Holder indicated that the mitigation of climate change through the reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions by establishing local sustainable transport for inner city transit, was a key goal of the project. “It is further hope that this project will initiate green economic transformation in historic Bridgetown”, the CEO confirmed.

Solar Express, the project’s title, will feature the following:

  • Outfitting of two10-seater solar electric vehicles to work as Solar Inner-city Shuttles that offer tours of Historic Bridgetown to commuters, visitors and locals alike.
  • Educating 100 businesses in Bridgetown on the UN Global Compact Programme, encouraging them to engage in innovations that will make their businesses sustainable.
  • Increasing the awareness of sustainable transport and the history of Bridgetown by providing sustainable city and historic tours to 1000 local citizens and visitors.
  • Outreach to 500 institutions including schools, NGOs, hotels, groups and associations based in Bridgetown.

Two main tours throughout Bridgetown have been planned in the initial phase of the project. The use of this novel solar vehicle which harnesses the power of the sun, will make each tour energy efficient and environmentally safe. Over 25 sites in the city have been listed including Independence Square, National Heroes Square, Chamberlain Bridge, the Jewish Synagogue and Parliament Building.