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SMED achieves 85% success

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - Program Manager of the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Program (SMED), Michael Taylor said the USAID-sponsored programme based in Barbados has been making significant strides since its inception three years ago.

The Small and Medium Enterprise Development Program was designed to address the constraints faced by small and medium sized enterprises in the Eastern Caribbean.

Several OECS companies have benefited from the services of the program in a number of areas, some of which include marketing, computer and information technology, financing and training.

Speaking at a two-day forum in St. Lucia organized by the OECS Export Development Unit this week, Mr. Taylor said the program had interfaced with over 100 projects, resulting in some 85% success stories. He said employment, productivity and levels of sales in these projects had increased.

“My question however, at this point, after three years is how ready are these 85 companies for taking a step hopefully in the 11 months into CSME. And not only are they ready, but what is it that they will need to do in order to be competitive and to take their place, to find their way at the other level, as we move from the SME to a CSME, still operating within that program”, Mr. Taylor remarked.

Mr. Taylor said SMED was hoping to use the success stories to assist those companies that have not yet reached the set criteria. But as the program moves from one strategy to another, he said there was need to set goals for the way ahead.

He added that one of the challenges that continued to affect enterprises in the OECS, was small market size: “We need to see that our borders are not just Barbados or St. Lucia, Antigua or Grenada, and try to see how we could establish some synergies, alliances with persons or businesses which may be similar or doing one element of a particular product, in order to get that competitive base for the region to take us to another level.”

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