SBA Continues to 'Broaden Horizons'

The Small Business Association (SBA) of Barbados recently hosted its graduation ceremony for the 2018/2019 Entrepreneurial and National Vocational Qualification Training Programme, under the theme – “Broadening Horizons through Educational Empowerment”.

During the aforementioned training period, 212 persons were enrolled in the programme, undertaking courses in various management and computer related disciplines, including QuickBooks Basic and Intermediate, How to Develop and Market a Small Business, Managing your Small Business and Business Start-Up.  Of this number, over 190 students were awarded for their completion of these courses, representing a completion of 90% for the association. Additionally, the SBA awarded those who completed the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in Accounting for Small Business level 3, offered by the association and currently administered by the Technical Vocational & Educational Training Council.

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(Governor of the Central Bank, Mr. Cleviston Haynes giving the featured address at the graduation ceremony.)

At the ceremony, the featured speaker, governor of the Central Bank, Mr. Cleviston Haynes, commended the SBA for continuing to offer these developmental programmes which “served as a valuable resource for budding and experienced business persons alike.” While addressing the graduates, Mr. Haynes stated that he recognised the importance of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to the economy and highlighted that the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates that MSMEs account for more than 45% of jobs in developing economies. The governor went on to express that he was therefore encouraged by the level of interest generated by the SBA’s programmes as it signalled that more Barbadians were keen on becoming business owners.

Mr. Haynes warned graduates that although it may appear rewarding to become a business owner, there would be many challenges to be faced, namely, “the economic climate, red tape, financing and competition from larger local and international companies.”

Regarding competition, Mr. Haynes made it clear that this particular challenge was inevitable. He however offered three suggestions to help graduates in their quest to successfully compete in their various markets. Firstly, the governor stressed the importance of life-long learning to success and implored graduates to never stop educating themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour.

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(Graduates paying close attention to the various presentations during the ceremony)

Secondly, graduates were advised to learn how to leverage technology and social media effectively to enhance their competitiveness.  For example, using technology to create an e-commerce platform to sell their products or utilising social media to effectively market their products online can prove highly beneficial to the growth and success of the business.

The final suggestion given to graduates involved the necessity for flexibility and an overall willingness to change or adapt to the ever-evolving climate of the business world. Using examples such as Blockbuster and Netflix to aid his point, Mr. Haynes emphasised the need for all businesses to do adequate market research, manage their risks and be open to the changes necessary for the firm to stay relevant and profitable.