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Campaign launched to protect jobs

A permanent campaign has been launched in Barbados aimed at protecting the 40,000 jobs across the small and medium-sized business sector, in the face of a serious threat to their survival.

Titled BE SME SMART, the campaign, spearheaded by the Small Business Association, was rolled out this morning with a motorcade from Pelican Village, climaxing at Heroes Square with a ceremony that was addressed by Minister of Small Business, Denis Kellman, Chief Executive Officer of the association, Lynette Holder and director, Harold Oxley.

Holder said the association decided that instead of “throwing in the towel” in the light of the major challenges brought on by the recession, it agreed to dedicate every Friday from this day on, to focus marketing and branding activities on the small and medium size businesses sector.

“We are going to look at how we can improve the marketing of the sector, and how can we innovate the sector to ensure that persons at this point in time, have a greater sense of understanding and appreciation for the value of this sector to the economy,” she explained.

By so doing, she added, members would be able to galvanise their efforts and the purchasing power every week to consciously patronise the sector. She said a jingle, which was also played this morning, would help drive the campaign, using two key objectives — harnessing the support of consumers and citizens to buy their goods and services micro, small and medium sized businesses.

“We are suggesting that you do so throughout the week, yes; every month, yes; but specifically as you do so on Fridays. We are asking you to make a very conscious choice specifically on Fridays, to ensure that you support the micro, small and medium-sized enterprise. We have dubbed Fridays from here on end, Small Business Fridays,” announced Holder.

The SMEs spokesperson said the second objective was to ensure the association captured feedback from the public.

“We want feedback on the positives and we want feedback on the not so positives,” Holder insisted.

The head of the association disclosed that a myriad of community events would be organised every Friday, which included various activities at small shops, small vendors and medium service providers.

“We know there have been some challenges, and we want to address those challenges. I paid attention to the Global Competitiveness Index, and the last report suggested that Barbados is approximately 42, I think in a 132 countries, relative to its competitiveness. I think that is significant, that is a significant achievement for us as a small nation,” asserted Holder.

However, she pointed out that the same report suggested the country had some work to do with regards to its innovation and business sophistication pillars.

“So, we recognise that within the SME sector, there is a need for us to innovate and there is a need for us to be a lot more sophisticated in our business processes,” admitted Holder.

The business executive said the second tier of the campaign was to collect information from the buying public, the SME sector every week, to help the association with its training, business development strategies and its lobbying. This, she conceded, would put the microscope on the sector, and challenge businesses and the Barbadian people to improve productivity, efficiency and to become a lot more competitive. (EJ)

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