More dialogue needed between MSMEs, universities

BY SHAMILLE SCOTT Business reporter

Sunday, September 16, 2012    

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MICRO, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) need to access the experts at the universities if they want to get ahead.

A form of linkage between academia, the policy-makers and members of the sector is important for the development of MSMEs, said Lawrence Nicholson, director of doctorate in business administration, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona.

He said once that connection works, MSMEs can thrive.

This linkage, Nicholson said, will add value to the sector which will in turn develop the economy.

Based on his reckoning, the university is a knowledge factory, which conducts large amounts of research that can be used to inform MSME owners.

Continuous dialogue with business owners will help to break down a 'picket fence', said Valerie Veira, chief executive officer at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC). She noted that business owners are sometimes separated from the policy framework that are supposed to be put in place to develop the sector.

MSMEs are expected to be a catalyst for transforming the economy, said Veira. However, some of the practitioners face problems.

Veira said, the academia, through their dialogue and research with current and potential business owners, should relay information to the policy-makers.

The JBDC head said that work has been done by universities but it is a continuous process, as business models may change.

Information gathered will keep the practitioners in the now and will help their businesses to grow and remain relevant, Veira said.

Some business owners aren't exposed to new information, products and best practices needed for MSMEs to grow and be profitable.

"Guide them into the regulatory framework they need and help them to develop their products," Veira said, adding that JBDC's work facilitates this process as well as the flow of information and assistance.

The MSME sector will benefit from this sharing of information, she said.



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