The Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) will be focusing on innovation, as it celebrates its 60th anniversary.
Chief Executive Officer Sonja Trotman said Innovate Barbados 2016, launched tuesday at Bagnall’s Point Gallery, Pelican Craft Centre, is intended to be “the platform to stimulate conversations, catalyze partnerships and ignite new engines of growth”.
She said that for too long, Barbadians have bemoaned the scarcity of ingenuity, creative ideas and innovation.
BIDC Chairman Ricky Straker added that Innovate Barbados 2016, which will be held October 25 and 26 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, will aim to promote idea generation and a new ways of doing things.
He contended that while the Government has introduced incentives to revive the productive sector and stimulate new economic activity, it was clear those provisions have not brought about the level of competitiveness anticipated.
Straker contended that the time has come for stakeholders in the private sector to back their stated position on innovation with real action.
“Innovate Barbados 2016 is representative of our commitment to increase resources to support innovators. It is also an attempt to engage in research and development and getting something started,” he said.
Giving an insight into how the wider world sees Barbados’ creativity, Trotman pointed out that with a ranking of number 37 out of 141 countries on the Global Innovation Index, the island’s highest scores were noted in knowledge and technology outputs.
She said Barbados ranks number 18 with high scores in domestic patent and knowledge diffusion, and came in at number 12 in business sophistication.
However, Trotman noted, the index pointed to several areas of deficiencies, with Barbados ranking at 128 in research and development and 105 on market sophistication reflects. Barbados also registered a less than satisfactory performance in creative outputs, ranking 63.
She argued that despite Barbados’ relatively high overall ranking, the country continues to lag in innovation and more has to be done to create an enabling environment.
Trotman said BIDC was doing its part, and has put programmes in place to encourage innovation and assist young business people at the incubator level.
“Our incubator programme is both residential and virtual. It includes a facility where persons can operate their businesses, but also includes financial and technical assistance. The BIDC also provides training and assignment mentors,” she explained.