Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)
To highlight the challenges facing MSMEs in the Caribbean to scaling up successful businesses,
and to identify successful measures and programs to address these challenges.
Key messages to the participants
It is very important for entrepreneurs to understand how technology (e.g. online social networks,
mobile applications etc) can help them with their business, for example in accessing new markets
and online financial reporting.
Seed capital is a necessity for young businesses as lenders are risk averse. However, support
systems MUST build sustainability into their models, such as charging success fees or royalties
to ensure longevity and continuation of services. Incubation should be a sustainable business
The Caribbean needs to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. Government should promote
policies to promote private sector development and support MSMEs so this is an attractive career
option. To build the pipeline of entrepreneurs, schools should encourage innovation and
entrepreneurial attitudes to create companies. It is important to differentiate between an
entrepreneur and a business owner.
Key take-aways from the participants' interaction
Designing programs to support entrepreneurs and startups should not be too academic, but
based in reality. The objective is for successful companies to become investable and grow, and
so business support systems must reconcile risk-averse Caribbean investors with innovative new
companies to lower the risk of the investment and simultaneously demonstrate the potential high
upsides of investing. Developing an angel investor network would also be helpful for Caribbean
Virtual incubation is a key model for business support in the Caribbean, and we should not be
constrained by thinking that incubators must be only physical brick and mortar buildings.
Networking is vital for new businesses to gain knowledge and find new markets, and virtual
incubation can facilitate this.
Incubators must use the right tools for the right level of companies and entrepreneurs, as there is
no one size fits all for every startup. Similarly, men and women face different challenges, and
therefore benefit from different kinds of support services. Understanding gender dynamics and
tailoring business support appropriately is important. The World Bank is working to respond to the
varied needs of entrepreneurs by gender and sector through initiatives such as the
Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC).