The Barbados economy could be in line for a major boost, as a US-based development company known as SM@RT, seeks to attract approximately $2 billion in foreign direct investment for development projects over a ten-year period.
Officials of the company, who describe it as a Barbadian-owned, US-domiciled sustainability management FinTech solution firm, said it has been in the making for the past three years.
In its pre-launch last evening, company officials said the new strategic initiative has two main purposes – to introduce the first “fully eco-designed and sustainable properties” in Barbados for development and investment and to accelerate economic recovery.
“Facing increased competition, limited foreign exchange reserves and a national debt burden in excess of GDP [gross domestic product], the road to recovery for Barbados’ economy appeared to be a long and painful one for its citizens. SM@RT intends to change that,” Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the company Robin Belle said in a statement.
He explained that the initiative would involve bringing together a global consortium of technology solution companies from diverse economic sectors, including renewable energy, transportation and aquaculture.
“These companies are committed to leveraging their new and innovative tech solutions, to drive faster economic growth in Barbados, by attracting a minimum of US$1 billion in foreign direct investment for development projects over ten years,” he said.
The release described Belle as a Barbadian social enterprise and technology entrepreneur, and the blockchain advocate and architect of the initiative.
“It takes a highly strategic and creative approach, to dramatically transform a country’s economic performance and international standing in the short to medium term. It requires major buy-in and coordinated action by multiple stakeholder groups locally and internationally,” said Belle.
The release explained that in an effort to help revitalize economic activity in Barbados, SM@RT will lead a “Barbados crowd funding/marketing campaign with the promotional theme #BuildBarbadosBack”.
This will involve the global sale of digital gift vouchers to Barbadians and visitors to the island “who love Barbados and want to play their part in supporting the island’s economic transformation”.
“SM@RT will also seek to finance the execution of major development projects in Barbados across 20 different sectors, implementing the advanced technologies of the consortium companies.
“This will be accomplished via a Blockchain-based security token offering (STO) in several stages, where international ‘accredited investors’ will purchase ‘revenue share token’ securities tied to specific sectoral development projects,” the release explained.
The company, which was formed in October 2016 and already has several partners, says it is politically neutral.
The company said on its website that the move by Government to establish a framework for a regulatory sandbox and efforts to list security token offerings on the Barbados Stock Exchange were positive developments.