February 25, 2008
The first ever Small Business Week was officially launched today Monday February 25, 2008, by Minister of Social Development, the Hon. Hensley Daniel at the Nevis Cultural Center.
The week which runs until Friday February 29 under the theme, “Bridges to Better Business” is organised by the Small Enterprise Development Unit (SEDU) in the Ministry of Social Development, Trade and Industry in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA).
While delivering remarks at Monday’s opening ceremony Junior Minister in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Hon Dwight Cozier said that the Nevis Reformation Party led-Administration continued to work with small business persons on Nevis, since it believed that it was through strengthening the small business sector that the economy would flourish.
He said the NIA had moved quickly to stimulate innovation and expansion of small and micro businesses through legislation called the Micro and Small Scale Business Enterprise Ordinance 2007.
Minister Cozier encouraged small business owners by telling them that their small businesses need not remain small and to see that stage as a starting point from which they could grow to medium size, then large and even to public corporations. The Minister of Trade and Industry took the opportunity to outline a section of the Ordinance which dealt with incorporation.
“Small business owners I see this clause as a direct challenge to enterprise owning in Nevis, to look beyond the scope of a small enterprise and look towards the horizon and to look towards the promise of one day being the CEO of a public corporation which spans the horizon and the limits of our Federation.
“The micro and small business enterprise ordinance in support of you as small business enterprise owners has provided a list of relief provisions which under Section 11 of the Ordinance speaks directly to what can be expected once qualification is given,” he said
Mr. Cozier said small business enterprises must exhibit serious efforts to become more efficient which is measured by its financial ratio indicators and highlighted certain components necessary to grow into medium size businesses.
The recently appointed Junior Minister of Trade and Industry said one of his first challenges was to encourage small business to pay attention to the importance of incorporation, create business history and to keep proper accounts. These key essentials he said would enable small businesses to advance and qualify for loan assistance and other growth performance indicators which were relevant to small businesses qualification for relief.
“Once you would have fulfilled these qualifications the Nevis Reformation Party Administration is saying to you that you will become eligible to receive incentive packages, you will become eligible to receive duty free concessions you will become eligible under the auspices of Mr. Patrice Wilkins Small Enterprise Development Unit [SEDU] to receive further funding and assistance in terms of loans, you will become eligible to receive further technical assistance.
“We do have regional technical assistance programmes that the SEDU is hooked into and so ladies and gentlemen, the entire endeavor here I think the whole purpose of this Act is to provide a mechanism whereby you have obligations on one hand that is the qualification and you have a relief on the other hand that is what your small business receives once it has fulfilled the necessary qualifications. Therefore your small business as I have said, and the small business development officer has said need not remain a small business but in respect of the assistance by the NRP in government you can go on to become a medium size enterprise grown from your small business and go on to be a large business,” he said.
Mr. Cozier applauded the initiative of the SEDU organising committee for coordinating the week of celebrations of local entrepreneurs and assured them that the NRP in government was 100 percent behind them.
The opening ceremony was chaired by Mr. Sydney Newton, and attended by top Government officials and a cross section of the local small business representatives.
Other activities for the week include a Youth Enterprise Symposium on Tuesday. The launching of a Youth Enterprise Scheme, (YES) a programme which is expected to infuse an entrepreneurial spirit in Nevisian youth at an early age and to provide them with the requisite skills to becoming prudent business men and women will take place on Wednesday when YES Barbados based manager, Mrs. Selma Green will be the featured speaker.
“The East Caribbean Enterprise Fund” will be the topic of a keynote address to be delivered by an Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) representative at a luncheon on Thursday. The week concludes on Friday with a Business Trade Show at the lawn of the Nevis Craft House at the Pinney’s Industrial Site.