The Ministry of Tourism Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunication (TEATT) will be looking at the development of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) model to fill the void of currently not having such a structure to stimulate the MSME (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) sector.
As a prelude, the Department of Economy, Transport and Telecommunication (ETT) in collaboration with the COSME program hosted a two-day Small Business Development Center stakeholder (SBDC) workshop this week.
The objective of this workshop is to provide an outlook on the role of business development in enhancing entrepreneurship and economic development. To achieve this, it is envisioned that an efficient structure or vehicle needs to be created.
Therefore, on day one of this workshop stakeholders had the opportunity to look fundamentally at the SBDC best practice model and how it has been utilized in enhancing the quality of the delivery of business development services in the region. During day two, stakeholders had an opportunity to discuss an SBDC model for St. Maarten, thus determining its structure, formation, budget and other requirements for it full operation on St. Maarten.
It is envisioned that at the end of this workshop, the Ministry of TEATT as the main stakeholder given its mandate, will take the lead in the development of the Small Business Development Center. (SBDC) model to fill the void of currently not having such a structure to stimulate the MSME sector.
Additionally, given the establishment of a SBDC model, SMEs can now expect to be provided with the tool and knowledge to aid their developmental process. This will also facilitate SMEs to be in a better position to access needed finance to grow their business. This initiative of enabling access to finance by SMEs is work-in-progress by ETT and should be coming to fruition within the coming months.
The key sectors that attended this workshop were top executives of the Private sector e.g. Chamber of Commerce, Hotel Association, Small Business Association, Financial Institutions that work with Micro Financing; senior Government Policy Advisors of the economy, labor and education department and the University of Sint Martin.