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Cgf summary msmes

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  • 1. Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Objective  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 itself. 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 startups. 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).