Small businesses employ the largest share of workers in several Caribbean countries
BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS — Increased support of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in several Caribbean countries is expected to boost employment and economic growth in the near future, creating dozens more jobs in the Caribbean.
This comes as the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has recently approved projects in Antigua & Barbuda and Belize, both of which are aimed to support MSME growth and foster more entrepreneurial developments.
According to the CDB’s own data, MSMEs account for around 50 percent of Caribbean jobs and contribute 60 to 70 percent of GDP.
As such, greater support of MSMEs can have a major, positive impact on employment across the region.
With more support for MSMEs to launch, expand and flourish, they can garner better economic growth that would allow them to hire more employees and provide more job stability to their existing staff complement.
This is why Caribbean Employment Services Inc., along with economic leaders in the region, continue to encourage support of MSMEs through initiatives such as the CDB’s.
Antigua MSMEs to tap into EU markets
In one of its recent projects that’s expected to create more jobs in the Caribbean, the CDB is working with the CARIFORUM European Union Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) to help small businesses in Antigua tap into European markets.
The two-year project will focus on “greater market penetration” for MSMEs by helping to build “sustainable export capacity.”
It’s not the first time that regional experts have called for Caribbean businesses to leverage this digital age to tap into foreign markets.
Several others have made similar calls, noting that embracing digitalization is the key to unlocking unprecedented growth, which in turn can create jobs and maximize GDP growth.
EPA Project Manager Cyril Gill added his voice to those calls, emphasizing: “It is critical, in the post-pandemic period, that MSMEs adapt to the global digital trends in order to remain relevant and competitive.”
Investment aims to create more MSMEs in Belize
MSMEs are even more crucial in Belize, where they account for an estimated 90 percent of jobs.
Thanks to a USD$12.5 million line of credit through the CDB, Belize can look forward to the development of even more MSMEs and a consequent increase in jobs as a result.
The CDB’s Head of Private Sector Division Lisa Harding directly spoke to this, noting: “We anticipate an increased number of viable MSMEs contributing to and sustaining employment opportunities.”