OECS Rep Says Caribbean MSMEs Must Use Research To Grow
Media Release Courtesy of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation
Monday, May 16, 2022 — Kareem Guiste, Head of the Competitiveness Business Unit at the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) says Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) should create demand for their goods and services through research. Mr. Guiste was speaking at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation’s (JBDC) Virtual Biz Zone Webinar on Tuesday, May 10, 2022 in the first of the agency’s Research and Innovation Series held under the theme: Using Research to Identify New Markets.
Mr. Guiste pointed out that
“Entrepreneurs can create demand by taking the time to interrogate and understand the market to see if there is an appetite for a product or service. This allows the business owner to dissect the needs of the clients they want to serve and provide them with alternative solutions to the needs they have observed.”
Continuing, Mr. Guiste added “The risk of generating any business is the risk of the unknown. Uncovering the unknown requires investment and interrogation.” Many entrepreneurs might be intimidated by the idea of research but Mr. Guiste encouraged participants that research does not always have to be formal and arduous. He said “The grassroots small business owner can conduct informal research by simply observing, asking questions to the right people, and recording responses.”
He went on to underscore the importance of Caribbean small business owners becoming proactive instead of reactive in their businesses. He added,
“Research can often be a valuable non-cash method of growing your business because it causes you to become aware and subsequently understand the market. Research is a low-hanging fruit for improving your business and it should not intimidate entrepreneurs.”
Mr. Guiste added that there are key questions and considerations entrepreneurs must ask themselves. “Is there are a demand for my product and is it possible for me to create demand for it? Have I adequately taken the opportunity to assess market needs and do I know who my clients are? These questions can begin to stir the entrepreneurs mind to see how they can get their brand into new markets,” he explained.
Concluding, Mr. Guiste said “Entrepreneurs must appreciate what research can do for their business. It has the capacity to open new markets and allow them to build demand for their product.” Guiste encouraged participants to “Read more, learn more and be deliberate about observing your current market and the ones you are interested in exploring.”
The JBDC Virtual Biz Zone webinars are geared toward stimulating entrepreneurs within the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (MSME) sector. This second in the two-part series on Research and Innovation will cover the topic of Innovation: Funding new Business/Product on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. The webinar will be facilitated by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ). The webinars are held on Tuesdays at 10:00am via Zoom. Interested persons are encouraged to join by registering at www.jbdc.net. The sessions can also be watched on JBDC’s YouTube channel.
The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) was established in 2001 as the premier government agency providing business development services to Jamaican Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs)...’From Concept to Market’, JBDC provides guidance for business start-ups and expansion, offering business advice and consultation, research services, business monitoring, training and capacity building, project management services, financial advice, design, and product development as well as market penetration support and access. The organisation which operates within the ambit of the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce (MIIC), strives to continually fuel the local economy through its services and programmes designed to support the growth and development of the MSME sector.