Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Family-Owned Businesses (FOBs) play a major role in most economies, particularly in developing countries.
MSMEs in the Caribbean, many of which are family-owned businesses, account for 70 per cent of private sector employment. However, one of the main challenges facing these types of businesses is the lack of data to shape policy, and legislation to foster their survival and growth.
A new book titled Understanding the Caribbean Enterprise: Insights from the MSMEs and Family-Owned Businesses written by Deputy Executive Director at the Mona School of Business and Management, Lawrence A Nicholson, and Jonathan G Lashley, was launched last Thursday at the Mona School of Business Management (MSBM), Mona.
The book examines MSMEs and FOBs in the English-speaking Caribbean, and offers insight that may be used to develop these businesses in the region.
Anchored in a historical context of business development in the Caribbean, the authors compare and contrast the experiences of FOBs to those in developed countries, focusing in particular on areas such as family business succession, business financing and marketing.
Understanding the Caribbean Enterprise provides context-specific lessons from a historical perspective of business and entrepreneurship which, in turn, provides an understanding of the current issues facing MSMEs and FOBs.
The book also asks relevant questions regarding challenges faced by MSMEs in a region plagued by uncertain energy costs, high cost of raw materials as well as deciding on investing in specific products that could serve not only the country of produce but the Caribbean region.
Part of the dilemma faced by businesses in the Caribbean is captured on page 112 of the book.
In seeking to chart a path forward, and making the right “product choices”, the region needs to identify what it cannot produce — with what remains as the answer to the question: What should the region produce?
The region’s assets should be considered when policy is being developed to support industrialisation and enterprise development, targeting sectors and products that embed domestic and foreign investors.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), Dennis Chung, who delivered the main address, said the book is an important contribution to the ongoing debate on small businesses and their role in the economic and social development of the region.
He also stated that there has been constant debate surrounding the importance of MSMEs to regional development, and what has caused them not to flourish as they do in more developed countries.
In his assessment, Chung believes that Nicholson and Lashley’s focus on the role of family-owned businesses as a significant part of the MSME culture in the region, helps to shed some light on this continuing debate.
“This book is definitely a go-to source for anyone who wants to understand the DNA of Caribbean enterprises,” he commented.
Among the sponsors for the launch were Lasco Distributors, National Baking Company, Salada Foods, Honey Bun and Linstead Market.
In a spirit of partnership, a number of companies purchased books for distribution to MSMEs and libraries.
In attendance were key personnel from Jamaica National, Chairman of the Jamaica Broilers Group, Robert Levy, and Honey Bun Chief Operating Officer, Daniel Chong.
Copies of the book can also be purchased at the UWI Book Shop or online via Amazon.