Entrepreneurship and innovation are being seen as critical tools to promote competitiveness, as well as to diversify the economy.

This is according to Minister of Industry, Donville Inniss, who has noted that significant benefits could be accrued in these areas, especially from a rapidly expanding digital economy.

He made these comments, this morning, as he addressed the opening ceremony of the one-day Inter-American Development Bank???s (IDB) Caribbean Regional Policy Dialogue on Science, Technology and Innovation, held at the Hilton Barbados.

Mr. Inniss maintained that both innovation and entrepreneurship would create greater stability within such economies, since the entrepreneur as risk-taker would not only develop a personal stake in his/her business but also contribute towards maintaining and creating appropriate enabling environments.

???While the small size of our businesses renders it difficult to compete within the general global marketplace effectively as lowest costs producers of goods and services, we must urgently seek to transition our efforts to leverage the flexibility of our smallness and knowledge capability to exploit and compete successfully in those emerging global market niches where we are likely to have significant competitive advantage,??? he said.

The Industry Minister stated that to achieve this would require among other things, a paradigm shift in our creative thought, the kind that would drive us to be innovative in connecting with the types of consumer-driven value propositions that supported growth on a sustainable basis and into the future.

Mr. Inniss also championed the need to adopt a broad-based eco-system approach that readily embraced the reality that small medium sized enterprises constituted a major avenue for the utilisation of individual talent and initiative, and were in fact vehicles through which the region could focus on its indigenous strengths, using this as the basis for deriving economic diversity.

However, the Minister cautioned that the conversation surrounding the development of an innovative culture must be removed from occupying solely the halls of academia and, in a practical way, be given realisation through the effective development of a number of critical pillars.


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