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Time to get ‘tech savvy’

Article taken from the Daily Nation – September 19, 2022

That’s minister’s advice to small business owners

SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS have been advised to get comfortable with the terms “cryptocurrency”, “metaverse” and “block chain”.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Business Development Sandra Husbands said following the COVID-19 pandemic, technology had become the heartbeat of businesses.

“There is no denying that the pandemic exposed companies and entire industries that really weren’t resilient or agile enough to adapt to the rapid changes in the market. As a result, a post-pandemic world saw technology and access to data becoming not only the backbone of a business, but it became its heartbeat,” she said.

Husbands was addressing the church service at People’s Cathedral yesterday to mark the start of Small Business Week, organised by the Small Business Association of Barbados (SBA).

“The digital frontier is here. It has propelled transformations and disrupted the human condition. We cannot deny that the world is now caught up in a wave of digital transformation which undeniably remains the best chance for businesses to compete, deliver a great customer experience and unlock future success. It offers organisations a unique platform to accelerate their growth and take advantage of unique market opportunities,” she told the congregation.

The digital field opened new frontiers for small enterprises and small economies attempting to overcome limitations of size and distance, she explained, adding that with the best will in the world 10 000 businesses in Barbados could not sustain or build increasing wealth for its 300 000 citizens.

“Businesses in small island developing states must export, must build trade and using the digital platform is an important step to building a strong competitive and profitable company. We must trade, we must export, we must go digital,” she said.

Husbands said the Ministry of Energy and Business was working on five initiatives to support that effort. These include the forming of a small business development centre, the finalising of the national quality policy and helping to create demand for the enterprises.

“Citizens need to support local businesses more than ever because in doing so they protect their own jobs and opportunities for their children and the social services paid for by taxes paid by domestic enterprises,” she said.

The minister added that the formation of a collateral registry was vital to small businesses so they could access working capital in order to grow.

Chief executive officer Lynette Holder said the focus of the SBA will be helping members monetise the benefits from digital disruption.

She credited God with helping to keep the micro, small and medium-size businesses open and they in turn help to keep the economy afloat. (AC)

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