Government Can Do More To Enable The Environment For Small Business Enterprises

Adrian Loveridge - Hotel Owner

Our precious four acres of Inch Marlow has felt more like the United Nations over the last week with guests from Lithuania, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Brazil, United States, Canada, United Kingdom and for the first time, Uruguay.

It’s a far cry from 1988, when we purchased a then derelict Arawak Inn and spent just about everything we had in the world, transforming seventeen separate buildings into a functional hotel. I graphically remember a prominent Barbadian hotelier telling me soon after we moved here, almost with glee, that ‘we were never going to make it with just 22 rooms’. While dejected at the time, I am really glad now that I didn’t take a blind bit of notice of him.

Also the lectures from bank managers telling us that we were undercapitalised or overtrading!

Two decades later, after many financial institutions around the world virtually self imploded, those same bastions of financial prudence are either out of a job or somewhat muted.

What kept us going against the perceived odds?

Largely it was our incredibly loyal guests, who in the initial stages put up with our less than luxurious surroundings. But they came back (and still do) year after year and their support enabled us to improve and enhance with every repeat visit.

Secondly, it was a small group of locals, and in particular, individuals like Sir Fred Gollop, Peter Marshall the late Sir Harold St. John and Peter Morgan. ‘Bree’ if I may respectfully refer to him, was often a daily visitor and gave us words of support and encouragement. There was no political agenda or voting mileage to be gained. He would kick off his shoes, enjoy a cup of tea and we would share our joint passion for tourism.

There have been several milestones along the way that have helped shape where we are today. I recall one period when with an empty hotel, our agreed overdraft limit had been reached and there was no money to purchase supplies. My wife and I spent the night sticking-in trading stamps from a leading supermarket and that gave us the means to fund a bar-b-q we operated on Sundays. 50 people turned up and that was one of the defining moments that enabled us to remain solvent.

What prompted these revelations at this time, was a statement by the Governor of the Central Bank that the ‘unemployment rate has risen to about 11 per cent of our workforce’.

I firmly believe, as many others do, that it will be primarily small businesses that lead us out of the global economic recession. Frankly, we could easily employ another two or three persons, but it is finding the right employees with the attitude to help us grow the business. Government must be the facilitator to ensure this happens with an enabling environment. Small businesses that do succeed should not be slowed down with bureaucratic red tape and I think its time that our policymakers take another close look at some of the so called ‘incentives’.

Let them start with the Barbados Small Business Development Act and ask these two questions: how many organisations have applied and what is the average approval time?

  • Mash Up & Buy Back

    Adrian

    Your full story must be told.It is time you sit down and write it.

    Banks in Barbados especially for working class blacks serve also as a deterrent.

    Include also grudgeful minded civil servants who resent seeing others like themselves being successful and so they try to be as unhelpful as possible.

    These grants that government put in place to help small businesses should not have so many stringent measures to access.

    Only the politician’s friends seem to be successful.

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  • The part about using stamps to redeem is a good one. How many small business persons would ‘stoop’ to do such a thing today? It is not only government but there must be some uncompromising qualities which an entrepreneur must possess to success.

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  • @David
    Exactly! Not everybody can become an entrepreneur. The problem in Barbados seems to be that we throw money at all of them, regardless, in the hope that some will stick and they become successful. Many times, the money will stick but nothing comes of it. We need proper analysis by persons who know about small business and its trials and tribulations before money is granted. Sometimes a little honesty can go a long way – tough love, if you like, so that budding entrepreneurs can be realistic about their prospects. Most successful entrepreneurs, including the richest and most successful, had several failed ventures before they found the idea that took off. Failure should not be denigrated, it should be embraced as part of an entrepreneurial culture.

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  • The man wiv no name!!

    but i taught he wus a ministuh in d govment?!!

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  • The man wiv no name!!

    jes fuh emphasis! submitted twice!

    but i taught he wus a minista in d govmunt! 🙂

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  • Fellow blogger West Coast blog is reporting that Almond Beach Hotel which is part of a group headed by Chairman of the BTA Ralph Taylor maybe closing:

     

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Is Almond Beach Village Closing?

    In yet another sign that all is not well in the tourism business despite the recent upbeat forecasts on Barbados tourism coming from the Central Bank, the Ministry of Tourism and the media which could all be just another smokescreen to cover up the dire reality, rumours circulating in Speightstown are that one of the major players on the west coast is about to close up shop.  There is no question that Almonds Resorts is struggling terribly, particularly its flagship property in Haywood, St. Peter – Almond Beach Village.  At what supposedly is the height of the tourist (winter) season ABV just had a major staff layoff and occupancy is hovering around 300 at a property accustomed to hosting well over a thousand guests at this time of year – even having to walk some customers next door to Port St. Charles and other nearby hotels when business was really booming.

    Full blog

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  • Has anyone passed by Almond Beach in Heywoods recently? I pass there almost every day , the grounds look unkempt. They expect people to come and stay there and play golf with the grounds looking like a jungle. Vines overgrowing the trees, wild tamarisk trees have sprung up every where, the ponds are now completely covered by bush. This has been so for several years. It is in a very poor state. I was wondering why the Ministry of Health don’t do something and condemn the place.

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  • Also anyone passed the beach side of Almond? You will be greeted to the aroma of L’air du crap!

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  • Hate to carp about the fact Taylor is Chairman of the BTA and CEO of the financially floundering Almond. It is all about accountability and performance.

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  • Had relatives staying there recently. They came back from the beach for a “sundowner” – no rum! NO RUM!! IN BARBADOS!!Next day they spent a hot day in Bridgetown shopping. Came back for a drink before lunch – no beer!

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  • The Great ONE once told me that his property ABV was on par to Hemsley’s Place and the shops on property were just as good as the shops on fifth Ave. Remember these are his properties. The higher the monkey climbs……..the more his nuts are exposed. Like a Dictator he is there for life it seems.

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  • small intimate properties will survive;it’s the personal touch !!!!

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  • Always was of the opinion that that Taylor flattered to deceive … I never saw what the media saw in him. Probably just another case of surrounding yourself with the Right people and taking all of the credit.

    Now for the article, I would like to work for you man except Mr. Loveridge I was not designed to serve … It is not in my DNA! But with a name like LOVERidge (man this sound like a deed pole) I could see that you may very well be a natural …

    No sir, I would much rather have you work for me …! I export my product and I could use some proper representation.

    You see speaking about small business and not referring to the importance of being properly represented to your potential buyers, is missing the essential ingredient to success, particularly in the area of service. I have been told that many of the most successful bars in the world ofter fail when the proprietor leaves the scene. People very often support the person behind the venture and not the institution. Even investment analysts are guilty.

    Man you got ah gif’ dat I wish I had … no body likes me man … So what do you say, what I produce is world class, and the some …!

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  • I stayed there with an ex of mine a few years ago had a great time and took some wonderful pictures – still look at them from time to time. The thing is though we were just two locals on a small budget they treated us like we had a million bucks. That is what made my partner an I feel special. It is the little things that count.

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  • Sorry undertaker for the following question but what exactly were you taking pictures of? Mind making them public? ja ja

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