Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, chatting with Director of Orbit Innovation Inc., Byron Gibson. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland  today highlighted the creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of Barbadian pioneers.

Addressing the launch of the Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurship Programme (CTEP) Stakeholder Summit at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in Wildey, the Minister, who was addressing the topic Transforming of our Region through Talent and Technology, acknowledged that the accomplishments and legacy of people of African descent were revered during the month of February.

And, he stressed that Barbados too had its own trailblazers.  He pointed to the fact that the discovery that cane could be grown from seed took place here, and said: “Crossing and breeding of sugarcane began in the 1880s, and Barbados became the site of one of the two oldest breeding centres in the world.  Environmentalist and innovative scientist Dr. Colin Hudson is credited internationally with inventing harvesters for ‘green’ sugar cane, yam and cassava.

“Former Lodge School alumni, Dr. Ken R. Harewood, a distinguished Professor of Biomedical Sciences and Biotechnology, is a well-known and highly accredited cancer researcher with more than two decades of experience in the United States of America’s (USA) pharmaceutical industry. Barbadians have also made strides in marine biology and across other disciplines of natural and scientific research through the Bellairs Research Institute, Canada’s only teaching and research facility in the tropics.”

Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, with Director of Orbit Innovation Project Inc., Byron Gibson, Director Projects Department CDB, Daniel Best and Coordinator MSME Development, Technical Cooperation Division CDB. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Mr. Sutherland stressed that individuals like these, who dared to think differently, were recognizers of opportunities and risk takers, were nation builders who had the potential to take Barbados and its regional counterparts “to the global centres of excellence”.

To this end, he applauded the effort by CTEP and CDB to train and mentor such persons, and noted that CTEP’s programmes should be encouraged, as they augured well for the empowerment of creative minds.

“We are certain that by unlocking the potential of our region’s youth and unleashing their creative imagination we can successfully tackle some of the greatest challenges that we face locally, regionally and globally,” he stressed.

He noted that among these challenges lay the fact that some of the region’s technological infrastructure was not as sophisticated as that of first world countries and other more advanced economies, but urged stakeholders not to become daunted as efforts were being made to improve the current situation.

CTEP 2018-2019 is being funded by the CDB and executed by Orbit Innovation Inc. (Orbit), a Barbados-based entrepreneurship hub and community of practice. Orbit’s Director and Project Coordinator for CTEP 2018-2019, Lucinda Robinson, in commending the programme to stakeholders, said it was a virtual incubator and accelerator programme designed to stimulate creation and support the growth of Tech entrepreneurship among the 18 to 35 youth group in CDB’s borrowing member countries.

While assuring Minister Sutherland that the programme would prove successful to the youth, she said: “With 12 borrowing member countries represented, across 225 individuals, we know that our entrepreneurs are passionate about solving the regions challenges.”

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