Categorized | National News

SMEs Still Struggling

Small and medium-sized business are still struggling due to the ailing economy, but officials from the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) said it will continue to do whatever it can to minimise the impact of the many problems that exist.

BCCEC CEO Winston Rolle told the Bahama Journal yesterday that the business community is still challenged in a number of ways especially with the economy not doing so well.

“From the chamber’s perspective, we are continuing to focus our efforts on how to assist these businesses,” he said.

“Our new chairman, Chester Cooper, is actually the chair of our SME enterprise division, so obviously the commitment to the further development of SMEs is at the top of his agenda and we have had a collaborative effort taking place in recent weeks between our SME division and the chamber institute as well as our organisation of young professionals and pretty soon we will be launching our mentorship programme.”

Mr. Rolle said the programme would be geared towards the younger entrepreneurs being mentored by those more experienced in the field.

“Our aim is to try and help them to develop more sustainable businesses as well by having those more experienced assisting them,” he said.

“Funding is always a challenge for SMEs. Prior to the election we had signed an agreement with the government to assist us with development, but it never got going because of the election and so we are hoping that the new government will try to move some legislation along so we can have some legal framework to promote small business development.”

The chamber CEO also explained that now that former chamber chairman, Khaalis Rolle, sits at the Cabinet level it may work to the advantage of the chamber and the small business industry.

Mr. Rolle is the new minister of state for investments in the Office of the Prime Minister.

“It’s a good thing for us to have a former chamber executive sitting in the government,” the chamber CEO said.

“We have been collaborating with Mr. Rolle. Our perspective is from an investment portfolio through different agencies such as financial services and tourism. It’s the other areas of business that tend to not get the focus that we are concerned about. We see the chamber playing a role in that in terms of partnering with other foreign investors.”

Mr. Rolle added that the opportunity to work with the new minister will also hopefully provide opportunities for Bahamian businesses that have the money to invest outside of The Bahamas so that they can provide revenue for the local economy.

The chamber currently has just over 600 member companies, with the majority of them being Bahamian-owned.

The chamber also announced yesterday that it will be hosting an International Trade and Financing Seminar on May 22.

The seminar will be held in New Providence at the Sheraton Cable Beach Resort while a similar seminar will be held in Grand Bahama at the Pelican Bay Resort on May 24.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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