The Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) has launched Accelerate 20/20, a programme designed to assist 20 high-growth local companies to increase their exports, and help reduce the island’s dependency on importation.
Minister of International Business and Industry, Ronald Toppin, unveiled the initiative on Wednesday at Bagnall’s Point Gallery, Pelican Craft Centre, Princess Alice Highway, St. Michael.
He said that once Accelerate 20/20 was successful, it could have a positive effect on Barbados’ import cover and foreign exchange earnings.
“The Accelerate 20/20 programme provides targeted and holistic assistance to 20 exponential Barbadian companies that have the potential to do just this. It is widely known that the Barbadian economy is highly dependent on foreign exchange as a means of continued engagement with the global trading environment.
“Challenges in accessing equipment, research and development, capital, technology and other resources have, over the years, affected the ability of local companies to effectively compete with foreign products not only internationally, but within our very own local market,” he said.
Under Accelerate 20/20, the 20 companies will benefit from an extensive package of assistance, based on their priority areas of need. Assistance may include scaling up operations, upgrading technologies, developing competencies, and gaining access to legal, marketing, research and development services.
The Industry Minister further explained that high-growth companies are defined as those with the capacity to earn in excess of BDS$3 million in annual exports.
He insisted that the island already had the export base to support this level of growth and expansion, and pointed to BIDC’s database which shows that 21 certified export companies are currently surpassing the $3 million threshold.
“We have a further 20 companies, that whilst they have not yet met that mark, are exporting in excess of $500,000 annually. With the right combination of assistance, we hope to move this latter group into the top tier of exporters,” Mr. Toppin disclosed.
He shared that Barbados has a competitive advantage in several new and emerging industries, and said that Accelerate 20/20 was designed with them in mind.
Minster Toppin identified key areas as renewable energy, health and wellness, food and beverages, agro-processing, furniture, heritage products, climate resilience solutions, blue economy products, content marketing and indigenous lifestyle products.
He added that government was confident that Accelerate 20/20 could help Barbados strengthen and generate its earnings’ potential, as well as increase global market share. “At the same time, the country can save foreign exchange through import substitution efforts, producing more of the items that are consumed locally,” Mr. Toppin observed.
The Industry Minister urged manufacturers and entrepreneurs to capitalize on the opportunity, by partnering with the BIDC to increase their production capacity, output levels and to expand the level of exports.
For more information on the Accelerate 20/20 programme, interested persons may visit https://www.bidc.org/accelerate.