ICT and e-commerce named key drivers of SME growth, entrepreneurs urged to take advantage of technology
Slow adoption of ICT and e-commerce by small and medium enterprises may hinder business growth for SMEs, according to technology experts speaking on a panel dubbed ‘Tech Advantage’ at the NCB SME Conference 2015 on Sunday, June 7.
“It’s highly unlikely that your business will grow in today’s world without ICT,” said Darragh Fitzgerald Selby, Director of Business Sales at Digicel Business. “No matter how large or how small your business is, you need to build a strategy to make ICT work for you because that’s the way of the world today. E-Commerce has opened up new markets for which you must leverage ICT to take advantage.”
Fitzgerald Selby added, “The opportunity for SMEs is that with Cloud services, you can think and act like a multi-national, but you don’t have to invest massive CAPEX in building an ICT environment to support what you want to deliver. For SMEs looking to invest in ICT, however, it’s far more than just purchasing new computers or software. You have to develop a strategy that is built around your customer, who they are, what their needs are and how best you can meet these needs. Technology is merely the vehicle that will help you to better serve your customers.”
Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, the Hon. Julian Robinson, shared similar sentiments, stating, “ICT has to be a part of any strategy in any business that you are involved in, especially for the SMEs,” he said. “This allows you reach to a global audience to get the word out on your goods and services that you may be offering, so it must be a part of any strategy that you adopt.”
The Minister also pointed out some of the threats involved with E-commerce, but continued to emphasise that the benefits of technology outweighed the risks. “The government has started implementing a number of measures, including cyber-crime legislature that will definitely help with finding and punishing cyber criminals,” said Robinson.
He added, “Clearly, there are risks to being online and you have to take precautions against potential cyber threats, both against your personal security and your business security. But by far, I think the benefits outweigh the risks and I would encourage all businesses to invest in ICT because there are so many individuals now who purchase goods and services online, it’s a whole new market that you can have immediate access to.”
The three-day conference, which was held at the Secrets Resorts and Spa from June 5-7, saw over 100 entrepreneurs in attendance. The weekend consisted of hands-on workshops and interactive sessions on a variety of topics including technology and e-commerce, financing, entrepreneurial strategy, marketing and customer experience.