Innovate Barbados is gearing up to create a better tomorrow today. Caribbean people have an urgent need to create solutions that capitalize on our natural resources in ways that can benefit us, our islands, the planet and people beyond our shores. By leveraging the Region’s abundant natural resources, human creativity, intelligence and collective power, Innovate Barbados is working to build an ecosystem that can help entrepreneurs succeed. A focus on sustainable, scalable business development and collaborations connected to Barbados’ blue and green economies can help Barbados secure a livelihood today and a better future tomorrow, thereby contributing to a stronger economy and better society. The upcoming campaign seeks to use the problems and threats we face in our region as catalysts for innovation.
BIDC Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Sonja Trotman, made the disclosure that the decision was taken not to undertake the annual Innovate Barbados conference this year but to expand the reach and influence of the conference to the region and beyond in 2020 with the introduction of the theme Blue Green Caribbean. Solution creation is needed at both a micro and macro level, from the public sector, private sector, civil society, academia and our young people in order to develop solutions that are both locally necessary and globally relevant. 2020 is the year we invite our neighboring Caribbean islands to collaborate in moving from idea to implementation, recognizing that together we can accomplish much more. From creating a platform for research and innovation to exploring how businesses can incorporate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into their every-day operations, to introducing challenges that could transform how we survive and recover from superstorms, 2020 is the year for forming the kinds of collaborative connections that can fuel innovation and development.
The 2020 Innovate Barbados campaign is part of the BIDC’s blue-green business innovation facilitation trifecta. Comprised of the Corporation’s organisation of ClimateLaunchpad Barbados in collaboration with the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre and its participation in the 2019 edition of the world’s largest green business ideas competition in the Netherlands, to the development of a Barbados Green Technology Cluster in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), scheduled for an early 2020 launch, to the introduction of Innovate Barbados – Blue Green Caribbean, the BIDC is combining these three initiatives to foster globally competitive and sustainable business innovation in Barbados.
The Innovate Barbados Conference, which is slated for 2 days in September 2020, will showcase an array of influential keynote speakers, interactive workshops, inspiring exhibitions, and critical innovation challenges along with the conference’s highly-valued “One-to-One” meet-ups with speakers, experts or investors. Interest areas for the campaign include clean-tech, sustainable fashion, transition design and systems-level change, food innovation, ocean innovation, agro-tech, climate change adaptation and mitigation, sustainability and the non-profit sector, renewable energy, innovations around the Caribbean region’s natural resources, and international collaborations and investments.
The Innovate Barbados Conference has been one of the major innovation events in Barbados and the region for the last 4 years. It is the premiere event of the BIDC’s year-long Innovate Barbados marketing campaign. The Campaign itself seeks to highlight the benefits of collaboration for innovation, unveiling opportunities for uptake by local businesses through innovation challenges and research and development. One of the highpoints of the Conference in 2020 will be the unveiling of innovation-driven research undertaken by the University of the West Indies in collaboration with the BIDC.
And as Innovate Barbados supporters and conference attendees wait patiently for the next installation of the Conference, efforts will be exerted to take the steam out of at least 3 industry-specific problems. Two intriguing areas to be explored will be unveiled at the Innovate Barbados 2020 Official Press Launch to be held in January. But for now, it can be said that one challenge to be tackled is the perennial problem of how we integrate social and environmental concerns into the real work of business. Since big problems usually require large financial resources, how do we turn some of our societal challenges into real tangible economic opportunities for SMEs in Barbados?
According to conference coordinator, Director Fern Lewis, the only way that critical solutions will be financed and taken up by small businesses is if all the critical players in industry see the benefits that are realized when investors, business owners, financiers, NGOs and government find innovative and profitable ways to resolve problems in society. “Innovation through collaboration is the approach that we have been promoting at the BIDC and the partnerships which evolve each year from the Innovate Barbados conference are all engineered with this in mind.” Lewis offered.
The BIDC sponsored Innovate Barbados campaign kicks off in January 2020 with the theme Blue Green Caribbean. Are you ready for the “Ecolution”?