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A tech future

by Kimberley Cummins

Dalton Medford

Dalton Medford

New President of the Small Business Association, Dalton Medford, believes that the incorporation of technology into businesses will help them to generate more trade.

Medford, who was appointed to the role in November 2012, told Barbados TODAY in an interview earlier this week that this would be one of his main focuses for this year. He said the SBA wanted to get members more aware of the benefits of the use of technology and would encourage them to utilise it.

The former president of the Barbados Workers’ Union Cooperative Credit Union, further revealed that the association had an ongoing project where 50 websites were being set up for 50 members. These websites will be, to a lesser extent, managed by the SBA but the objective was for members to use each as a tool for marketing, being known and acquire commerce.

“Technology is a tool to promote their businesses. We want them to recognise that Barbados is only 300,000 plus people. We have to go beyond these shores and there are actually small businesses that if they get their services out there to the world they would get additional business.

“So the whole idea is to get promoted regionally and internationally. They have to incorporate the technology because they don’t have the resources that they could send somebody next door to Trinidad to market their product because that is a cost, but if you use the technology it can reduce the cost significantly,” he said.

Maintaining that members did not have difficulty with the incorporation of technology into their businesses, he said many just needed assistance. Explaining that many of the small or medium size businesses employed small numbers of people who spent their time producing products so there was insufficient man power for these companies to deal with placing the product on the website, monitoring it and responding to interested persons hence the SBA was willing to assist, if needed.

Medford, who worked at a printing company for more than 30 years before starting his own business, SM Printing Services in Mount Pleasant in St. Philip more than a year ago, said that so far, while there were some challenges, he was settling very well into his new position.

Describing himself as “very rounded when it came to business, having been a worker, a manager and now an entrepreneur”, he stated that re-educating members on good record keeping would also be an emphasis in his two year tenure.

“It has been very interesting up to this point. A small business is something that people get into for differing reasons so you are catering to varied constituents. There are people who get into small businesses because they can’t find a job, so they decide to use their skills and they come up with a business but then they don’t do all the things that they are supposed, in terms of paperwork, to do to develop the business because at the point in time their interest is paying their bills.

“The Small Business Association is trying to cater to all these different public and what we have is different training so that people can develop their businesses. Though people who you expect would come for the training … don’t turn up.

“Then you get another set who join because they expect you to lobby on their behalf, which the institution is set up to do, but when you are looking for information that would allow you to do that lobbying for them, the information is not forthcoming as you would like.

He continued: “Small businesses depend heavily on other business’ spill off and if we can get — going back to 2008 there was a plan where Government was looking to do 40 per cent procurement with small businesses — that system working and working well it can help a lot. I know at the end of the day everybody cannot depend on Government but we need to have a situation where we can get some of the procurement for small businesses on a more sustained basis.”

The board will be a continuation, we recognise that there would have been a strategic plan guiding the organisation and so we are basically following on but there is still a lot of work to be done for an organisation like the Small Business Association,” said Medford.

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