Market the Barbados brand.
That is the plea of Minister of Small Business, Denis Kellman as he addressed the launch of Home Expo at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre this afternoon.
“For some time now I have been convinced that we must market Barbados as a brand, whether it is our culture, our tourism or our manufacturing products.” He provided an example of beverages, ice-cream, Barbados rum and mahogany furniture, which he said were items that were very ready to take on the rest of the world in terms of quality products.
For many years people were coming to Barbados and exporting “the best of our furniture”, Kellman argued, stating that it was an avenue that should not be allowed to die.
“If we are really to aspire to become an entrepreneurial hub by 2020, we must allow the concept of branding to shape our policies and our production, if we are to be on the cutting edge and continue to dominate the world,” he stated.
Kellman contended that the country had to develop and produce the brightest minds that could in time lead to the embracing and appreciation of technologies and inventions now at the country’s disposal, especially in expanding the island’s “homegrown horizons”.
“To this end, I see the need for more work to be done in terms of research, development, innovation and the utilisation of modern and efficient protection methods. It would nevertheless be remiss of me not to mention that in recent times I have seen evidence of strides and efforts being made in this direction by the manufacturers and small entrepreneurs. I want to reiterate that more has to be and must be done.”
He stressed that Government was keen to create an enabling environment in areas such as innovation, investment, entrepreneurship, research and development, among others.
With the constant buzz about being smart, the minister said he believed now was the time to start challenging thinking in a smart way and with the right calibre of dedicated and knowledgeable persons, it could happen.
“I think the time has come for us to embark on such a pioneering feat. Unfortunately, we have become so immersed by the negative syndrome that nothing good can come out of Barbados. As a result we are inclined to undervalue, underestimate the potential and worth of our ideas, our thinking, our expertise, our skills, or should I say ourselves.”
When Barbados compared its capabilities to those similar in scale of economies, it was easy to become daunted given the small size and limited resources of the island, he said.
However, the minister pointed out that, “We should not allow those so-called impediments to stifle ambitions and our purpose to drive innovation and excel in our chosen field.” (LB)