NDFD celebrates 40 years of business

Nicholas Bruno
Chairman of the National Development Foundation of Dominica (NDFD) Nicholas Eddie Bruno

The National Development Foundation of Dominica (NDFD) is celebrating its 40th anniversary of service to the small micro and medium-sized enterprises in Dominica.

In an address, chairman of the NDFD Nicholas Eddie Bruno explained that the journey commenced with the vision of “stalwarts who recognized the deficiencies and constraints affecting the development of the micro sector.”

“The vision of the pioneers has resulted in the creation of the single most important institution directing the development of the informal and small business sector.  On the occasion of our 40th anniversary, the NDFD acknowledges the importance of these businesses, as they elevate the quality of life of those involved therein,” Bruno stated.

“The adaptation that occurred during various eras was key to the organization’s continued success and is exemplified by the current trend. In the aftermath of the devastation of Hurricane Maria, the NDFD guided the development of systems and structures within the sector. It encouraged the clients to develop internal resilience and provided support in the development of business continuity plans geared towards improving the probability of survival, in the aftermath of national hazards and other shocks”.  

Bruno stated that the Pandemic has exacerbated the challenges to the sector, as the consequences of the pandemic extend beyond national borders, and constraints not previously considered or ever imagined were introduced.  “Traditional resilience plans are not enough. Therefore, the NDFD has initiated a mechanism to assist through the introduction of lifeline products specifically geared to guide businesses through this difficult time,” he said.

According to Bruno, as the premium institution directing the development of small businesses in Dominica, the NDFD will encourage the emergence of Smart Businesses.  This he explains involves the transition of clients away from just traditional approaches to business, and towards embracing the tenets that will serve to increase sustainability, strengthen resilience, such as the increased use of data analytics and renewable resources, as well as a reliance on strategies and plans.

He says that the main elements of the “Smart approach” will usher in features such as increased efficiency, innovation, and agility.  “An essential part of this approach includes developing synergies among common activities which will provide benefits associated with critical mass and economies of scale. The NDFD has also initiated the process of smartness within its organization. We have introduced energy-efficient tools and equipment, promoted the green initiative, revamped the HR policy, and started to embrace a Gender equity approach to business.  The new approach also includes the introduction of data-driven evaluation and evidence-based policy initiatives,” the NDFD Chairman revealed.

NDFD he stated, over the next few months, will be expanding “the Green Initiative” and, more importantly, will be launching its business incubator with a focus on digitalization as well as renewable and efficient energy innovations.

“The green initiative involves assisting clients to migrate away from dependence on traditional sources of energy to embrace renewable and efficient technologies.  These include renewable energy such as wind and solar, efficient energy consumption technologies such as LED lighting, inverter-type cooling equipment, and incorporation of these in agriculture, fisheries, and food production.” 

He also stated that in terms of digitalization, NDFD will soon augment its position in the digitalized economy, while at the same time facilitating our clients likewise.  

“Our business support services will be positioned to facilitate this with our business development and incubation center which will certainly increase our offerings to the micro and small business sector. This approach that embraces adaptation, mitigation, digitalization, and virtual technologies will ultimately lead to the success of NDFD and its clients,” Bruno stated.

“The response is as much in the preparation as well as the execution and, certainly, we are preparing comprehensively to ensure that the businesses under our portfolio become agile and flexible and are able to pivot within the shortest possible time when faced with external forces that may threaten their survival.”

The highlight of the observation of NDFD’s 40 years was a virtual session that brought together some of the past and present trailblazers spanning the forty-year period.  The discussion was surreal. It revealed the significant positive impact of the organization, and the amazing path the Foundation has followed.