Tashieka Mair, Gleaner Writer
Stern: 'Self-employment must no longer be seen as a last resort.' - Contributed
Micro-businesses must become the key to reducing unemployment among young people, according to State Minister in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Michael Stern.
The junior commerce minister was the guest speaker at the press launch for the 12th staging of Montego Bay Expo at th West Hotel on Wednesday.
"Self-employment must no longer be seen as a last resort. We must develop a business culture and a national enterprising spirit," Mr. Stern said.
"We believe in the old adage that with free enterprise we can watch Jamaica grow, small businesses must become the main vehicle through which we reduce the intolerable high unemployment rate among young people."
Mr. Stern said he believed en-trepreneurship needs to be fostered if the Jamaican economy is to experience sustained growth. He said his ministry was seeking to develop programmes to target small and micro enterprises.
"We wish to design a realistic, practical and transparent regime of incentives and training in order to give momentum to small business development," Minister Stern added.
He stressed that his ministry would not compromise probity, transparency and issues relating to standard, and quality in its effort to emphasise small business facilitation.
He lauded the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry for staging the $3.5 million event.
The Montego Bay Expo 2007 could feature up to 80 participants from several sectors within the business community.
In existence since 1990, the Expo, scheduled for October 19-21, was created as a tool for promoting business and commerce, creating new opportunities and partnerships, showcasing the best of Jamaican goods and services.
It is also aimed at stimulating improved performance standards by exposing Jamaica's businesses in a competitive environment.
Chairman of the Expo Committee, Mary Chambers, said while there has not been any confirmation from persons outside of Jamaica, the Chamber has received several expressions of interest from businesses in the region.
MoBay Expo 2007 is being sponsored by The Gleaner, the Jamaica Public Service Company, National Commercial Bank, Power 106/Music 99 FM, among others.