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Small businesses need funding

Published: 
Saturday, June 9, 2018
Dreams to Reality founder:
Entrepreneur and business owner, Keisha Thomas, left, speakis to El Dorado East Secondary School students about her hair growth product ORNOI Regenerating Growth during the launch of the Entrepreneur the Platform for Success at The Hilton Trinidad and Coference Centre in Port-of-Spain yesterday. Looking on is Jonathan Lee, founder of the Dreams to Reality initiative. PICTURE SHIRLEY BAHADUR

An appeal has been made for the corporate sector to assist small and mirco businesses in becoming established as a way of accelerating the country’s efforts at economic diversity.

It came from Jonathan Lee, founder of Dreams to Reality, an initiative which assists young entrepreneurs in getting off the ground.

Lee, who is also the owner of Civon Multi-Services Limited, was made the call when he spoke at the launch of Entrepreneur, the Platform for Success, at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.

Some 25 entities were showcased at the event.

Lee said he reached out to several in corporate bodies for sponsorship of yesterday’s event but didn’t get even one positive response. He said he funded the event himself as his way of giving back, helping to build businesses and the country.

“Young entrepreneurs need to have an avenue for exposure, especially since they are not at the level where they can afford heavy marketing and advertising,” he said.

“This is an opportunity for them to promote their products and services all at one venue.”

Lee said another challenge facing small and micro businesses was access to financial assistance because the process was often mired in bureaucracy.

“Finances is a major issue. This aspect is geared towards small businesses, not acquiring finances. It’s almost impossible for small businesses to get financing from large institutions and even with the support of Nedco the process is very rigorous,” he said.

“Apart from that, there are little opportunities to get work. There are tenders in the newspapers for instance but because you are still small you are not actually given the opportunity to do the work.”

He recommended establishment of an incubator programme to develop small businesses.

Software developer Aggres Marsh who spoke on The Importance of Technology in Small Business, highlighted the importance of automation, noting that one of the first steps must be to acquire the proper tools, such as using social media.

He added that in any business data collection was also important as it is only through information that analysis and policies could be implemented. If data was not properly captured, Marsh warned, many businesses would be stuck doing the same thing over and over.

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