TRADE Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon believes small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the "backbone" of Trinidad and Tobago's economy. It is because of this, she said, the government will continue to support them.
She was speaking at the launch of the book The Ladder We Ascend, by Cheryl Bowles, on Wednesday evening at the Central Bank Auditorium, Port of Spain.
Bowles is the founder and managing director of local spa Cher-Mere, which also sells haircare and skincare products.
Gopee-Scoon praised Bowles for her "strong leadership," adding that the "dynamic family business has grown into one of the most visible local wellness brands, not only in TT but beyond our shores. Indeed, the brand has become synonymous with the best of the Caribbean aesthetic."
She said the book would provide "valuable insight to companies at different stages of development," and would both educate and inspire readers.
Small-medium businesses, she said, are "viewed as the backbone of our economy, attributing to to more than 30 per cent of the country's GDP and employing more than 200,000 people.
"And in support of businesses such as these, the government has instituted several initiatives, including grant programmes, which we want SMEs to access so that they too can be successful and grow."
Highlighting that the business is a "women-led" one, she said that was worthy of "very special commendation.
"Four generations of women have contributed their expertise, their talent, their experience and specialisation in biochemistry and materials and chemical engineering to create a lasting legacy."
Bowles typed up her late grandmother Margaret Waldron's memoirs in 1988 and vowed to publish them, which she has now done.
A media release said the book "describes a family, driven and sustained by strong independent-minded women, who experienced their shares of joy, loss, betrayal, overcoming, triumph and success.
"Like many Caribbean citizens in the colonial and post-colonial eras, this family overcame numerous obstacles to create successful lives for themselves, spawning educators, scientists, doctors, professionals and entrepreneurs."
The book can be bought at Paper Based Bookshop, Normandie Hotel; Metropolitan Bookstore, 12 Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook, Cher-Mere Day Spas instore and online at www.chermerecaribean.com or cher-mere.ca.