Where are the associations representing small entrepreneurs?
“A small business is an amazing way to serve and make an impact on the world you live in.” – Nicole snow
The contribution of the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) sector to the economy of Saint Lucia, particularly in the areas of employment and vocational training, cannot be overstated. The MSME sector is a major contributor to national employment in Saint Lucia. Small entrepreneurs impact their communities by providing examples of self-employment and entrepreneurship.
This is a great opportunity for all private sector associations to reach out to their members and potential members to ensure continuity after the COVID 19 pandemic. With all that is happening, there is a need for established associations such as the St. Lucia Industrial & Small Business Association (SLISBA), the Southern Business Association, the St. Lucia Manufacturers’ Association and the Realtors Association St. Lucia Inc. aggressively represent the interests of operators in the sector. Despite the pandemic, there are many steps that can be taken to ensure that small businesses can survive now and beyond COVID 19.
Too many of us give up and behave like nothing can be done right now. The world has not stopped. We are fortunate that COVID 19 is not as aggressive on our beautiful island as it is in many parts of the world, even in some other states in our region. There is nothing wrong with doing what needs to be done, and if we adhere to the protocols, we can continue to be productive citizens. Association leaders must be as proactive as possible by bringing all the players together and finding solutions to the problems facing their sector.
The Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture has contacted small businesses with programs to educate and inform them. Their most recent initiative was the Small Members Program. It is commendable. Now is the time for private sector associations to seek out new areas of business activity to recommend to their members and the wider business community, especially in the service sector.
In an effort to help mitigate serious crime, one of the primary goals of all politicians should be to provide incentives to existing and potential entrepreneurs that will facilitate job creation. The government should invest in vocational training and the development of new products. Innovation must be encouraged and funded by government.
This is an opportunity for associations representing small businesses from all sub-sectors of the private sector to be visible and proactive in helping small businesses resolve the many challenges they face due to the COVID 19 pandemic, who has been with us for nearly eighteen years. month. As the pandemic continues, in addition to layoffs, many small businesses may need to consider further downsizing.
In some cases, employees have been asked to accept reduced pay of between twenty-five and thirty-three percent and, in extreme circumstances, many businesses have been forced to close. This heightened unemployment void must be filled. It’s all about employment! Jobs! Jobs!
To date, the government has not offered any real direct financial aid / subsidy to the small business sector. Apart from intervening by banks to offer some concessions, banks are not likely to get involved in direct assistance / subsidy programs. It is up to governments to offer direct aid / subsidy to established operators in the sector. Now is the time to think outside the box. The banks must be accountable to their depositors, but the government must be accountable to the people, and there is no way the people will go against themselves. In the United States, despite varying political positions, 72% of Americans supported the 2021 US bailout.
In the middle of writing this article, a prominent businessman visited my office and told me that he is now buying products offered by the knowledge industry and following industry leaders like Tony. Robbins and Robert Kiyosaki. I was delighted. The question follows, how can we get involved in the personal development space such as online education / e-learning, coaching etc. who is estimated to have a US $ 325 billion industry by 2025?
What about other businesses like launching the Caribbean’s first MLM business with a digital product? It is also possible to increase sales by recruiting affiliates. It’s time for us to get in tune with current trends. Now is not the time to be cautious in promoting new ideas and applying different approaches. I am convinced that with all hands on the deck, we will bounce back better. Let’s be bold. Let’s do it!
Pray for the intervention of our Creator to eliminate the scourge of violence that plagues our island. Keep the faith, help is on the way. Let’s keep dreaming big and expect daily miracles.
Freelance journalist / real estate agent / business consultant
Email: [email protected]