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Entrepreneurs told: Get rid of fear and ignorance

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Director of the Department of Trade and Investment Promotion Karia Christopher said her department will this week try to convince people in the British Virgin Islands to get rid of the ‘fear and ignorance’ that have been stifling their entrepreneurial spirits and even causing their businesses to fail.

According to her, fear is the biggest problem that has been causing businesses to fail; followed by ignorance.

“I think a lot of us fail in business because of ignorance… Most of us are afraid to go into business because the number one reason is fear; number two is ignorance. And so we believe that this week we will at least try to get a big percentage of the population to say there is no need to be fearful; this is a step that you can take.”

“Our job [at the Department of Trade and Investment Promotion] is to make sure that you have the tools to be ready to get your own businesses… Our job is to really stimulate the economy, stimulate the market, get some energy going about businesses, [and] getting your own businesses because at the end of the day we all want to be our own boss – that’s what I firmly believe,” Christopher further said this morning (April 3) during the launch of the territory’s first Trade Entrepreneurial Week from today until April 7.

“I can guarantee you the entire British Virgin Islands will be in for a treat,” Christopher said.

Junior Minister of Trade and Investment Promotion Marlon Penn, in the meantime, used the occasion to underscore the importance of small businesses to the local economy.

“I just want to reinforce the importance of businesses and businesses to the development of our economy, because we all know it’s cliched now that small businesses are the drivers of our economy. And we at the Trade and Investment Department have been working hard to find ways to stimulate the business sector of the territory,” added Penn.

His sentiments are shared by Premier and Minister of Finance Dr D Orlando Smith, who, this morning, reassured the territory that his government is committed to the development of small businesses.

“Small businesses are very dear to my heart, and my government is always interested in the next new and unique business. In fact, my government is committed to supporting entrepreneurship and small business development. We see this as a critical component of our road map in charting the course and positioning the Virgin Islands for the future.”

“I have long championed the notion that small businesses are the backbone of any economy. I firmly believe that, if we want to grow this economy, we must expand it by embracing small businesses — the lifeblood and an important and growing segment of our economy,” the premier emphasized.

He, along with the other speakers, noted a number of initiatives being implemented or strengthened to boost entrepreneurship locally.

Premier Smith, for example, noted the reintroduction of the National Business Bureau programme in 2013.

“My government will continue to support the work of the Bureau to ensure that there is relevant expertise within the Bureau to develop additional programmes to support new entrepreneurs with finance, accounting, customer service, marketing, business development, and operations.”

“More significantly needed is the development of a resource centre that will be housed in the Trade Department. This is where we will be able to facilitate and effectively manage the programmes offered to the local small and medium-sized enterprises,” Premier Smith further said.

Meanwhile, the activities to be held during Trade Entrepreneurial Week include the Business Financial Management Seminar and POWER Move Graduation Ceremony at 9am in UP’s Cineplex on April 4, an Open House at the Sebastian Building on Wickham’s Cay I from 10am to 3pm on April 5, a cocktail reception and award ceremony on April 6, a workshop at Village Café in Virgin Gorda on April 7, and the School Entrepreneurial Spirit Competition at H Lavity Stoutt Community College at 5:30pm on April 20.

The events will be held under the theme: Leveraging businesses through sustainability, innovation and financial accountability.

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