Commerce Minister Emma Hippolyte has stated that the energy emanating from the growth of small business entities on the island is extremely appealing.
Minister Hippolyte and a technical team which included Director (ag) of the Small Business Development Centre Jonathan Allain and Business Development Officer Naila Sule undertook a tour of five small businesses based in Odsan, Bexon and Dennery.
The visit to the business establishments was geared to elicit some feedback from the management personnel.
According to a ministry spokesperson, these continued site visits demonstrate the Ministry of Commerce’s boots-on-the-ground approach to the development of Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) – most of whom had adopted sustainable practices within their operations. Businesses visited were Greening the Caribbean – Recycling Services Center, Fresh Nutz, Mitchel’s Moss Mixes, Farm Foods and BJC.
“Last week, since we are still observing Business Month …we visited some businesses both in the south and in the north and I was extremely excited about some of the things that we saw,” Hippolyte told reporters, at a media briefing, Monday.
The minister explained that some of the business places visited “were beneficiaries from our SME programme”.
She said, the exercise provided the team with an opportunity to see first-hand some of the works being undertaken.
She mentioned Greening the Caribbean as “a company that is very deep, in terms of doing work related to the environment.” The tour also took in other business entities.
“Some were very happy with us and others, not too happy, but we had to sit (with them) and use the moment to guide them and a few other things,” Hippolyte explained.
The minister explained that three of these companies were aligned to the MSMEs, and two were associated with the Youth Economy Agency (YEA).
“So, for me, the energy in terms of the growth of small businesses in Saint Lucia is extremely high …and I want to commend my staff for ensuring that we continue serving the business community,” Hippolyte declared.
Referring to the Business Month agenda, she said, “For us, Business Month has been good, and when I look at what is happening in terms of our relationship with the business bodies (representatives) …I had a chance to interact with small business persons at a SLISBA gathering.”
She said, the permanent secretary in the ministry of commerce also met with representatives from the Chamber of Commerce to discuss issues relating to the “concern over items which were zero rated and items that were exempt from VAT.”
Hippolyte disclosed that with the issue of Cannabis legislation “high up” on the agenda, she would be tabling a Regulatory Substance Authority Bill at a subsequent parliamentary sitting.
The minister explained that the bill is sub-divided into two sections “where we have an authority that is going to be responsible to regulate substances …and we will continue working on the Cannabis Bill…as we have another sitting in December or January, where the final Cannabis Bill will be presented.”