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GoB launches National Roadshow to support micro, small, & medium enterprises

GeneralGoB launches National Roadshow to support micro, small, & medium enterprises

by Khaila Gentle

BELIZE CITY, Fri. Aug. 5, 2022

This past Friday, the Government of Belize held the launch of its first ever MSME roadshow, which is aimed at supporting the growth of small businesses in the country, and is a part of the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (MSME) Policy and Strategy 2022-2025, recently approved by Cabinet.

The MSME Roadshow comes as part of the Government’s recognition of the large role that small and medium enterprises play in the building of the economy. Through it, the Government, in partnership with BELTRAIDE and with the support of the United Nations Development Program, hopes to provide the nation’s small business owners with the necessary resources and capacity-building tools for growth and success.

For the next three months, the roadshow will be making stops countrywide, including on the cayes, to raise public awareness of Belizean goods and services in an effort to promote local buying, which will in turn contribute to economic recovery.

Local MSMEs will also be granted better access to financing and will benefit from linkages with agencies such as the Social Security Board, Belize Tax Services, BELIPO, the Belize Companies and Corporate Affairs Registry, and numerous financial institutions.

According to CEO in the Office of the Prime Minister, Narda Garcia, in addition to featuring pop-up shops that showcase a variety of Belizean businesses and their products, the roadshow will include a number of activities, including an MSME Bootcamp (which will provide business development training) and MSME Town Hall meetings.

The first stop of the Roadshow will be the Corozal District, from August 24- 26. A launch ceremony was held at the Belize Best Western Biltmore Plaza and featured a keynote address by Prime Minister Hon. John Briceño as well as a speech by the Minister of Tourism, Hon. Anthony Mahler. It additionally featured a panel discussion on access to finance and had the participation of representatives from the Development Finance Corporation, Central Bank of Belize, the Belize Credit Union League, and the National Bank of Belize.

Guest speaker at the launch ceremony was business owner Sheena Smith, founder of the skin care enterprise Nari Self Care. Smith shared the story of her journey into entrepreneurship, explaining how she started on her kitchen table, creating skin care products as a form of respite from the stresses of her day job. She also touched on the struggle of operating a small business during a pandemic, something which most, if not all, entrepreneurs in the country have had to contend with.

During his keynote address, the Prime Minister acknowledged the fact that MSMEs continue to face many economic challenges, especially those brought on by COVID-19.

“To combat these challenges, we must work together, to provide the enabling environment so that MSMEs can innovate and so that they can pivot where necessary to meet the needs of an ever transitioning Belize,” he said.

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