Time to examine how MSMEs can join digital frontier

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Minister of Energy and Business, Kerrie Symmonds

By Sharon Austin

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (BGIS) — Minister of energy and business, Kerrie Symmonds, believes the time is now ripe to examine how Barbadian micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) can explore and become an invested part of the digital frontier.

Symmonds expressed this view in a message to observe Small Business Week 2022, which has as its themeExploring the Digital Frontier – the Next Business Revolution. The week is being observed from September 18 to 24.

“The time is also right, I think, for us to place emphasis on how we as business leaders must ensure that we are informed about the latest technologies and that our population’s core skills and competencies are up to date and adequate,” the minister said.

“The time is also ripe for our strategic planning processes to be reimagined. And most importantly, perhaps, the time is now ripe for us to adopt and adapt to the disruptive technologies being created all around us  And even as we do so, let us not become nervous and grow faint-hearted and forget that there was a time when we ourselves were seen as being disruptors.”

Symmonds noted that while technological advancement had been a boon to some businesses, it had also made it clear that ideas, business models and market positions were also vulnerable.

Business leaders, he stressed, must embrace the opportunity created for reinvention, growth and differentiation by rethinking the way they approached and managed information, data, and defined and responded to competition.

“This is critical as the greatest beneficiaries of technological advancement – our consumers – have grown accustomed to new found efficiencies in business processes and now they thirst for even greater access to previously unimaginable products and services,” he contended.

Stating that the accelerated pace of the global economy had implications for consumers and business, the minister pointed out that it also had knock-on-effects for the government, which was forced to keep pace with accelerated innovations.

“Being acutely aware of this, the government of Barbados has implemented ASYCUDA World and is developing the Barbados Electronic Single Window, which is designed to result in greater efficiency for traders by reducing transactional costs, time lags and bureaucratic red-tape.

“Additionally, the government, in an effort to enhance its productive capacity, is in the process of developing Barbados’ National Quality infrastructure. The goal of this will be to enhance the international competitiveness of our goods and services by creating and adopting a culture and a strategy based on excellence,” he explained.

Symmonds said Barbados’ micro, small and medium-sized enterprise sector had, in large part, shown a spirit of resilience and perseverance, particularly during the past two years of uncertainty and difficulty.

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