MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica, Friday July 14, 2017 – Small-business financing, policy framework to facilitate growth locally and regionally, and matters related to trade within the region are high on the agenda of the inaugural Caribbean MSME Conference slated for July 19 to 21 in Montego Bay.
Dubbed ‘Collaboration for Caribbean Sustainability’, the conference will present opportunities for small-business associations to better serve and support economic growth, while creating a space to address areas critical to the sustainability and livelihood of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) within the region.
Elaborating on the focus areas, President of the Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ), Hugh Johnson, said people attending the conference will benefit from information on policy, trade and finance, which will be dealt with simultaneously in breakout sessions.
“Without the correct policy in place, we will not be able to do better business, so that is why we have called in the Ministers of Industry and Commerce from across the region and other key stakeholders to sit with us for three days to discuss at length, and at the end of it, to conclude on the way forward as it relates to the policy issues that will help to drive the MSME sector in the region,” Johnson said.
Trade-related topics will include the removal of impediments to trade among member states, managing the business risk for survival and sustainability, formalizing businesses for increased market access and developing the human capital to increase global competitiveness.
In terms of financing, discussions will feature creating a regional venture capital fund for MSMEs, equity financing options for small businesses, attracting angel investors for start-ups, and financial implications for new businesses.
Johnson pointed out that the small-business sector, key stakeholders, policymakers and technocrats will discuss best practices and initiatives that will allow for greater collaboration with businesses in the Caribbean and regional competitiveness to increase economies of scale.
“We think it’s high time for the small players within the region to get to know each other, to come together and to forge a path for themselves, along with the regional governments, (and) to get businesses among themselves moving,” he argued.
The SBAJ, in conjunction with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, will be hosting the conference.