Inniss advises small businesses to get it right

Minister of Commerce, Industry and Small Business Development Donville Inniss is advising local entrepreneurs seeking to expand beyond Barbados to get it right at home first.

Inniss told the latest batch of entrepreneurs to benefit from the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation’s (BIDC) Export Readiness Programme (ERP) that it takes more than a good product or business idea to succeed.

And he warned that consumers in the outside world would not accept mediocrity.

“Hitherto 2011, the ERP, many entities thought that they reached a level of maturity in the Barbados market and therefore the next step would be to go out into the Caribbean and perhaps further afield. But it takes quite a bit to be done before you can export. I believe that in helping a company to become export ready, it means that first and foremost you must be able to operate within your own comfort zone and your own space at a level that is second to none.

“We sometimes settle too much for mediocrity and I keep saying that if you really want your business to grow and to get involved in export you have to do it well at a very micro level . . . .We cannot compromise on matters such as human resources. It means that you must be able to make best use of all the technology available in developing our processes. It means that the business operation aspects must also be streamlined to be as effective and efficient as possible within your own limitation and your record keeping must be second to none,” Inniss suggested to the 17 graduates of the latest course.

The programme was designed to empower companies with a high potential for export with the knowledge, skills and capabilities that will prepare them to expand into regional and international markets, and was geared towards both manufacturers and service providers.

Meantime, Chief Executive Officer of the BIDC Sonja Trotman said plans were on the cards to expand the programme in an attempt to keep it relevant to the changing export market.

“For the last two years it has expanded and grown and become something of which we can be proud. Our whole aim for doing this programme is to increase our exports. We’re hoping that coming out of this we can build strong companies that can add value to the economy,” Trotman said.

The BIDC executive revealed that graduates of the programme have been successful in many fronts, with some having either signed contracts or are involved in contract negotiations.

“It is not just about exports it is about business development. Each participant that comes into the programme, they are trained to better manage their companies and as a result of being better focused and more organized then you can take on the challenge of export because as I frequently say, exporting should not be by accident. It is not an accidental occurrence. We should plan. We should train for export. So that is the whole idea,” Trotman said.

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