Small Business Centre set to open in October

PHILIPSBURG–A Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) is set open in the newly constructed Ms. Lalie Complex on Bush Road come October. An awareness and information campaign will be launched about the government-supported centre to make the public and potential entrepreneurs more aware of the mission and how it can benefit them.

The centre will provide help to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in the areas of technical assistance to improve the efficacy of the company’s systematic infrastructure, group training to improve the efficiency of the company’s human resources and market research tailored to the client’s needs.

The centre’s development falls under the purview of Economic Affairs Minister Mellissa Arrndell-Doncher and will be put together by the Department of Economy, Transportation and Telecommunication (ETT), headed by Lucy Gibbs.

The centre will allow counsellors “to work with hundreds of clients per year, broadening the client base and maximizing the efficiency of the services offered and the impact generated,” the Minister said in a press statement on Sunday.

The mission of the centre will be to help clients generate long-term economic impact that establishes new businesses, creates jobs and increases sales and access to capital, according to the minister.

Arrindell-Doncher, who comes from the realm of small business, said she can attest that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are particularly important in any economy including that of St. Maarten. “Even though the economy is dominated by a robust tourism sector carrying with it large resorts, MSMEs are the backbone of the country’s economy,” she said.

MSMEs account for some 85 per cent of enterprises established on St. Maarten, as well as approximately 20 per cent of Turnover Tax revenue. Despite these contributions, the Minister said MSMEs on St. Maarten have presented a number of inefficiencies and areas for their existence, growth and development.

“While government does play a facilitating role to MSMEs, it is rather imperative and incumbent on any administration to have a proper function business support organization to further facilitate the needs and create linkages for MSMEs in a more efficient and accountable manner,” she said, explaining the rationale behind the planned centre.

Source: The Daily Herald