Minister of International Business and Industry, Ronald Toppin. (FP)

Intellectual property (IP) is an important consideration for Barbados as it works towards an innovative entrepreneurial environment.

This was emphasized today by Minister of International Business and Industry, Ronald Toppin, as he addressed a regional workshop on IP and Design entitled Empowering Women in Design Through the Use of IP, at Building #2, Harbour Industrial Park.

He stated: “We must equip entrepreneurs, designers, artists, even the average person, with the knowledge of how to protect their intellectual property, recognizing that it has true value.  When our creative entrepreneurs recognize their value and protect their work, even before the world sees value in it, then they can have the security they need to compete on a global scale.  The creativity, ingenuity and time investments of our designers and artists can reap lucrative rewards when their intellectual property is valued and protected, and garners international acclaim, demand and sales.”

While stating that dialogue remained a starting point to solving many of the challenges we face, Mr. Toppin noted that the discussions and knowledge-enhancing activities of the workshop were timely and important to participants.

The International Business Minister emphasized that Barbados was in the process of reshaping its national economic framework and said government, academia and social commentators generally agree that the economy must be diversified with entrepreneurship and innovation being central pillars in this economic reconfiguration.

As he congratulated the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office (CAIPO) for organizing the second regional workshop within the last two years, Mr. Toppin said: “WIPO’s global focus is important to our discourse about Intellectual Property.  Local organizations, such as CAIPO and BIDC, are equally important for empowering entrepreneurs to compete locally and internationally.  Such partnerships as BIDC/CAIPO formed with this workshop, can be seen as a best practice approach to fostering business growth and development.”

Further praising the emphasis on design and gender, he added: “This is quite appropriate as the last census in Barbados highlights that most households are female-led.  Indeed, women outnumber men in the population generally. My ministry, therefore, and indeed this Government, recognize the need to encourage and fully support women in areas of business development, innovation, design and entrepreneurship. And, as you are aware, this Government can boast of Barbados’ first female Prime Minister in history. We celebrate the work she is doing to improve our country and we recognize the impact that women can make.  In that context, this focus on gender and intellectual property as a component of the overall business environment is timely, and I am thankful to WIPO, the BIDC and CAIPO for their initiative in this regard.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Registrar, of CAIPO, Deborah Beckles, in welcoming participants to the workshop, urged them to consider two important points: how best they could put their creativity to work, and how they could incorporate IP and technology to accelerate development of their business so as to enhance the enterprise; increase productivity and competitiveness and ultimately generate wealth not only for themselves, but also for their nation.

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