Four of the five awardees in the Export Barbados/BIDC National Innovation Challenge – Beauty Edition are pictured with Minister Davidson Ishmael (centre); Permanent Secretary, Wayne Marshall (far left) and CEO of Export Barbados, Mark Hill (far right). The awardees are (left to right) Cherish Forde, Forde Essentials; winner of the challenge, Dawn Thompson of Dawn by Nature; Tricia-Ann Walrond of Crown ‘N Glory and Leandra Wilfred-Boyce of Healthy Kinks. Missing is Janelle Gordon-Thompson of Home and Body by Rose. (GP)

A new industrial policy is being developed for local businesses to reduce Barbados’ trade deficit and to provide export support and development services to help them hold their own in the global market place.

This disclosure has come from Minister of Industry, Innovation, Science and Smart Technology, Davidson Ishmael, who said the new policy will replace the now defunct ‘Industrial Policy for Barbados 2007-2012’, which was originally entrusted to the Ministry with responsibility for Industry in 2015.

He was addressing participants in the Barbados Investment Development Corporation Export Barbados’ National Innovation Challenge series: ‘From Discovery to Global Sales – the Beauty Edition’ this morning, at Bagnall’s Point Gallery.

“At that time, the Government of the day … thought it necessary to develop a policy, which would allow the industrial sector to respond to the changes taking place in the regional and international business environment,” Mr. Ishmael explained.

However, he added that Government was aware that the industrial sector made a significant contribution towards the sustainable economic development of Barbados.

“Therefore, the development of an overarching industrial policy that seeks to encourage and facilitate continued growth of the sector is seen as vital,” he pointed out.

Minister Ishmael said that with the introduction of the Export Bank of Barbados, the hope was that financing would no longer be a barrier to businesses as they sought to expand into regional and international markets. The Export Bank is expected to allow businesses to access financing for purchase orders by providing the monetary support that they need to fulfill large external orders on time.

“One of the perennial challenges we have had in the past has been the relatively small band of products available for export. Export Barbados’ National Innovation Challenge series is but one of the initiatives that seeks to leverage Barbadian talent and drive innovation in an inclusive and diverse way.  The message that it sends is that you are never too small to have a big idea,” he told those in attendance.

The Industry and Innovation Minister further noted that the benefits of the innovation challenge series were two-fold. It provided access to critical business development support and the opportunity to scale up and pursue export markets for entrepreneurs in addition to providing opportunities for Barbados to increase exports and diversify its export base.

“Ideally, the aim of the challenge series would be to discover new and improved solutions to old and new problems.  It is also important to have initiatives like this that culminate in the showcasing of our Bajan innovators – those who are the contributors to our economic development,” Mr. Ishmael stated.

He added: “A hearty congratulations to the winners here today.  To those who were not successful in their bid to win this extraordinary challenge, I encourage you to keep pressing forward as there are a myriad of opportunities still awaiting you.”

The Minister lauded Export Barbados/BIDC for rising to the occasion over the years to provide support for the industrial sector in the areas of business and export development.

The top five in the Beauty Challenge were: first place – Dawn Thompson of Dawn by Nature; second place – Leandra Wilfred-Boyce, owner of Healthy Kinks Botanicals; third place – Cherish Forde of Che Essentials; fourth place – Tricia-Ann Walrond of Krown ‘N Glory, and fifth place – Janelle Gordon-Thompson of Home and Body by Rose.

melissa.rollock@barbados.gov.bb

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