June 24, 2005
Developing local economy one business at a time

The Centre for Enterprise Development prides itself as an agency that provides quality business development services to the business sectors here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Although at present many of its clients are micro small and medium size businesses, CED is of the opinion that with its new name it can become the premier business development service provider for all businesses. CED’s motto “Developing the local economy one business at a time” emphasises our commitment to the development of the local business sector as a significant contributor to national economic development.{{more}}

This year CED has increased its efforts focusing on increasing the competitiveness of local businesses since we are preparing for the implementation of the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) by January 2006. So far this year, CED has conducted several workshops and seminars geared towards ensuring that local businesses can face the challenges of the CSME and are able to capitalise on the opportunities that it would provide.

CED acknowledges that there is much to be done by local businesses as we continue our preparation for CSME. The organisation believes that in order for local businesses to enjoy these benefits they will have to improve their performance and become more efficient, effective and productive. As CSME provides a platform for businesses to raise their level of efficiency, it must be understood that efficiency must come at all levels from the utilization of labour and capital to business processes. Hence it is important that investments are made in training, product development and enhanced technology.

If local businesses do not want to be left behind they must be in a position to handle the competitive challenges that this new trading and economic environment will bring. Recognising, therefore, that competitors in other parts of the regions are not going to wait to take advantage of these opportunities then it is within the best interest of local entrepreneurs to utilise the chances that are provided to them. Unfortunately, not many local businesses are appreciating the efforts made to assist them to gain competitive advantages. It is still an uphill struggle to get businesses to participate in activities that would in the long term improve their profitability. Therefore, the existing reality that many businesses still see training and development as a waste of time is regrettable and must be changed sooner rather than later.

CED stands ready to assist all businesses operating in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We are obligated to make sure that our enterprises are able to benefit from the new opportunities and benefits the CSME will bring. We want to see our local businesses being able to enjoy greater penetration of the regional market and compete more efficiently in the provision of goods and services. We also want to see Vincentian businesses in a position to benefit from the wider capital market that will be created from the free movement of capital. We wish to reiterate these advantages will not be realised without proper preparation. It is up to local businesses to seize the opportunities that are provided to help them move forward.

• Submitted by the Centre for Enterprise Development. First Floor Methodist Building Granby Street, P.O. Box 2343. Kingstown, St. Vincent.