Innovation and entrepreneurship have been stressed by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart as the two pillars that will sustain future economic growth.
He espoused the importance of the island attaining global competitiveness status while delivering the feature address at the third Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation Summit at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
Stuart noted: “As I said at the Foromic Conference, we in Barbados acknowledge that one of the new columns on which the economy must be rebuilt, is that of entrepreneurship at all levels. Economic analysts and others have argued that in times of recession, there are opportunities for creativity and … there is an actual need to look for new business opportunities including niche markets, in order to reduce unemployment and to contribute to economic growth.”
To achieve the objectives of a modern business environment and an entrepreneurial culture in Barbados, the Prime Minister suggested the introduction of new methods of production and the creation of avenues of wealth based on a demand for innovation, as two ways to effect changes within the economy.
“It is, therefore, in the society at large that we need to foster a culture of entrepreneurship. In this regard, there is a role for the public and private sectors and the trade unions, in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, if we are to achieve national goals and those of the Entrepreneurship Foundation…,” Stuart emphasised.
‘Think outside the box’
He reminded the audience that the conference’s theme Be Inspired was the impetus for the population to “be creative, to innovate and to think outside the box, to advance the development of our island”.
Meanwhile, chairman of the BEF, Peter Boos, mentioned the drop of two places in Barbados’ ranking in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index to highlight the importance of moving from a transitional economy to an innovation driven economy.
“That is the space winners occupy… Cyprus, Malta and Singapore, have already achieved that status. Barbados must get in the top 20 of the World Economic Forum’s Entrepreneurship Report by 2020. Are you committed to playing your part? BEF’s vision is to be the entrepreneurial hub by 2020 and this means that we must be extremely competitive,” he emphasised.
Boos said the Foundation was willing to work with government on a public sector project to bring the 2020 number one entrepreneurial hub vision to fruition.