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Speaking to the various stakeholders, Minister of Trade, Industry and Commerce, Honourable Lindsay Grant, said that their presence at the consultation is testimony to the fact that they all are of the view that “this sector is vitally important to our overall economic development and as such we are all united in ensuring that we position ourselves to provide the support services, which are of the highest possible standards and value.”
Minister Grant stated that he is also delighted that engagement with stakeholders “comes at the beginning and not at the end as too often is the case.”
“We very often hear persons repeat the phrase that small business is the engine of economic growth and it passes almost as a fashion statement,” said the minister. “I believe that in St. Kitts and Nevis, this is the reality that will live, especially given the fact that if we have to strictly adhere to the global standards and definitions, it would render almost 99 percent of our business enterprises as small.”
Minister Grant explained that concept of the development of the Small Business Development Centres (SBDCs) is therefore another critical step in achieving the optimal possible success as far as the growth and development of the economy is concerned.
“Indeed, when we consider the yardstick by which success is measured, inclusive of the component of employment opportunities, there is no doubt whatsoever that the MSME Sector positively impacts on the lives and standards of living for the vast majority of the people of our Federation,” said the minister.
He further said that given this fact, it must be agreed that measured, structured and focused support to the sector is one of the major cornerstones in which the socioeconomic existence is based.
The minister informed that the model, which will be introduced to the Federation, has been tried, tested and proven not only in the United States of America, but also in five CARICOM member states.
“In fact, I am advised that our own business support organization, National Entrepreneurial Development Division (NEDD), has been fortunate to have benefited from not only training activities conducted and the annual Americas SBDC conferences, but also the sharing of information done amongst the networks of the SBDCs,” said Minister Grant. “Needless to say therefore that it is with great anticipation that we look forward to the camaraderie and the networking opportunities that will again be presented in the 36th annual conference where there will be some 140 workshops conducted and aimed at the growth and development of the SBDCs along with the staging of an expansive trade show.”
The minister added that consequently, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is very eager to embrace this new approach to the delivery of the Business Support Sector.
“Such support can only further advance the success of over 500 entrepreneurs and their enterprises that would have benefited from the services of NEDD over the past seven years of its existence,” said Minister Grant.