In Barbados, An Eye Toward Innovation


Above: Barbados (CJ Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Entrepreneurship and innovation are critical for promoting competitiveness and diversifying the economy, according to Barbados Industry Minister Donville Inniss.

The Minister, who was speaking at the opening of the recent Inter-American Development Bank Caribbean Regional Policy Dialogue on Science, Technology and Innovation, said “significant benefits” could be accrued in these areas.

“The fact of the matter is that while the small size of our businesses renders it difficult to compete within the general global marketplace effectively as lowest costs producers of goods and services, we must urgently seek to transition our efforts to leverage the flexibility of our smallness and knowledge capability to exploit and compete successfully in those emerging global market niches where we are likely to have significant competitive advantage,” he said.

Inniss said doing so would require a “paradigm shift” in the country’s creative thought, “the kind that would drive us to “be innovative in connecting with the types of consumer-driven value propositions that supported growth on a sustainable basis and into the future.”

Inniss championed a “broad-based eco-system approach,” one that embraced the reality that “medium sized enterprises constituted a major avenue for the utilization of individual talent and initiative, and were in fact vehicles through which the region could focus on its indigenous strengths, using this as the basis for deriving economic diversity.”

The biggest hurdle, however, is ensuring that the conversation surrounding the development of an innovative culture be “removed from occupying solely the halls of academia and, in a practical way, be given realization through the effective development of a number of critical pillars.”