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Magate Wildhorse Consulting and The Community of Practice for Caribbean Immigrant Entrepreneurs join the global community in celebrating MSME Day 2020.
On April 6, 2017 the UN General Assembly, designated June 27 as Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day (UN Resolution A/RES/71/279). The declaration and observation are intended to :
- recognize the role of MSMEs in driving the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030);
- create public awareness regarding the contribution of SMEs to the global economy;
- rally support for small businesses; and
- to encourage research, capacity building and other needed support for small businesses.
It is known that small businesses, both formal and informal make up over 90% of all firms and account, on average, for 70% of total employment and 50% of GDP globally (International Council for Small Business (ICSB).
However, there is an urgent need to improve the development of small businesses and their contribution to capital formation, innovation, decent work, sustainability, and other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Women lead only one third (1/3) of businesses in the formal economy—therein lies implications for attaining SDG 5: Gender Equality.
The figures related to employment and contribution to GDP do not always hold true across all economies and countries. For low middle income to low income countries the contribution to GDP by SMEs (MSMEs) range from 29% – 23%. The contribution can be even less in some countries, groups of countries and among socio-economic groups within developed countries. SMEs were first responders and innovators rising to the challenge to find solutions to problems associated with the COVID 19 pandemic. But this was not true for all groups. Let us look at entrepreneurs who contribute to job creation through self-employment or within the informal economy for instance. The Black, Caribbean, Asian and Other Minority Ethnic Groups (BCAME) were over-represented in that category, many of whom faced closure or had to pause their operations.
The suffering brought on by lack of social protection and the implication for SDG #: 1 No Poverty was stalk. More than 50% of BCAME entities reported they might not be able to survive the pandemic. To make matters worse a substantial number of such businesses did not qualify to receive stimulus packages. Significant portions of entrepreneurs and individuals who are economically active members of BAME or BCAME in home and host countries are without social protection.
But with effective planning, risk intelligence, and systems thinking many impacted entrepreneurs might find a second chance in penned up demand triggered by COVID 19.
Goal # 8 : Decent Work and Economic Growth, what and how will the BCAME SME community do in order to increase their contribution to capital formation and investment? The preceding are two key actions and indicators of what we must do in order to increase income per capita within the community and beyond. How and in what areas will we focus our efforts to increase production and intellectual property assets?
Recently in our Outride: COVID 19 Business Threat Seminars issues related to increasing the portfolio of owners of Geographical Indicators (GIs) and the equitable transfer of related wealth to communities was discussed by Massimo Vittori, Managing Director of oriGIn.
More recently Simon Anholt, founder and publisher of The Good Country Index spoke about the need to better leverage brand Jamaica by developing more high value products. He proposed the example and opportunity of producing a Jamaican made running shoe. The challenge is for Jamaicans at home as well as in the diaspora. Diasporans should see themselves as key collaborators, partners, investors and even the triggers for driving related high value product development and sales. While products with GI indicators must be produced in the home country in order to retain their economic value, diasporans looking to boost their business or personal economic recovery might be wise to invest in businesses in their home countries in addition to their going concerns in host countries. The Jamaica Junior Stock Exchange presents an easy opportunity to act for change as shared by Mrs. Marlene Street Forrest, Managing Director of Jamaica Stock Exchange in yet another episode of Outride COVID 19.
In 2016 the Global Sex Slavery Index reported that approximately 17,000 people were living in modern day slavery or are victims of human trafficking in Canada. Trinidad and Tobago is said to have the highest demand for trafficked individuals in the Caribbean. In May 2020, seventy-nine (79) individuals including 25 minors destined for criminal gangs in Trinidad were rescued by the Venezuelan Navy (Trinidad Guardian). How will Caribbean diaspora entrepreneurs, Canadian and US SMEs address these issues?
As it relates to SDGs: 13 Climate Action, 6 Clean Water and Sanitation, 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, 12 Responsible Consumption and Production, 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure what actions will we take? Responding to SDG 9 requires positioning and capacity to participate rather than to fund unless through investment.
The Goals just mentioned should be included in both our PESTLE and SWOT analysis as well as our value chain assessments. We need to look at how we can reduce or eliminate negative impacts and drive the increase in positive impact for delivering the goals as well as business viability. As we look at profit and purpose we must also consider the existential threat to the Caribbean posed by Climate Change. What role will you play in growing or supplying the market for climate finance solutions in the Caribbean?
The 2100s is not that far away; so, what will we do to support Affordable and Clean Energy, Goal #7? Goal 7 and Goal 2, Zero Hunger are major priorities for the Caribbean. Undernutrition is a big challenge, health and well-being and high mortality rates highlighted the resilience gap in the BCAME Community.
So, what will we do about Goal # 3 Health and Well-being?
Drug abuse and drug related deaths— are there opportunities for you to make a difference in your host and home country?
What will your business or non-profit do to advance progress related Goal # 4: Quality Education? Specifically, what will we do to facilitate the growth of high value in-demand professionals and tradesmen with 21st Century employability skills in our communities?
With a global ocean-based economy of USD 3-6 trillion per year, what can you do to grow your business while protecting the ocean environment? Perhaps SDG 14 is the missing piece in your economic recovery, environmental scan and value creation puzzle.
As it relates to Goal # 10: Reduced inequalities, are there gaps in the capacity of the public sector to serve BCAME that your business or non-profit could fill? Are there issues you must champion through advocacy?
Crime is a problem for more Caribbean countries than meet the eyes, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the Dominican Republic and Honduras may feature prominently in the reports, but serious issues exists in other countries who are experiencing significant growth in criminal activities. How can you profit for good and drive the results for Goal 16? We cannot do it alone. With whom will we partner for delivering the goals and Goal 17? What will you do for ensuring “no one is left behind”? When all is said and done we must plan, monitor, evaluate, learn, adjust, and improve. Evaluation is said to have the highest multiplier effect in delivering the Goals.
While we join organizational leads, the International Trade Centre, UNIDO, the ILO and the World Bank in celebrating MSME Day 2020 we want to encourage BCAME to celebrate with no blinkers on. Know your numbers and context, plan, and act to be truly part of SME communities that are transforming our societies for improving “people, planet and prosperity”. Review the seventeen (17) Goals and 169 indicators and identify where you can make a difference for your business and in delivering the Goals.
Neither “power” nor “potential of small” can be “unlocked” without knowing our context.
We salute all entrepreneurs! We celebrate and salute entrepreneurs in the BCAME community!
Thank you Argentina for giving us MSME Day!
Happy MSME Day.
Be with us at 10 AM EST on June 27, 2020 when host a conversation around resilience skills and behaviours for entrepreneurs on Facebook.
Benefit from our Outride COVID 19: Business Threat Seminar Series register at the following link : https://forms.gle/PtpZAT8czWYExWpZ7
Meegan Scott (for) Magate Wildhorse and The Community of Practice for Caribbean Immigrant Entrepreneurs.