April 10, 2012
April 10, 2012
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is urging entrepreneurs in The Bahamas to innovate and explore different areas of industry so the country can diversify its economy.
“The need to diversify is critical for growth opportunities to become manifest. There is only so far you can grow in the sectors you already have dominance in,” IDB representative for The Bahamas Astrid Wynter told the business community recently.
Wynter made her comments as she helped launch Compete Caribbean’s Enterprise Innovation Challenge fund in conjunction with the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC). The fund was set up to finance innovative business proposals and will give businesses access to up to $500,000 in grants as well as technical support.
Wynter called on small and medium-sized enterprises in particular to take advantage of the wealth of technical and financial support provided by Compete Caribbean. “We would like to be a resource for you,” she told the audience at the event held at the Sheraton, Nassau. “We would like you to take advantage of the resources that are available.”
Executive director of Compete Caribbean Jose Jorge Saavedra echoed this message calling the $40 million programme, which is funded by the IDB, the UK Department of International Development and the Canadian International Development Agency, “an amazing opportunity” and asking businesses to submit their proposals – either individually or as a group of three or more.
Saavedra said The Bahamas had many assets which were not being capitalised upon, such as its proximity to growing markets. “The Bahamas is strategically located,” he said. “There is no country in the Caribbean closer to Miami. You are literally next door to all the countries in Latin America.”
However he said that before the country can reach its potential, certain problems needed to be addressed such as investing in innovation and ease of doing business. “If you want to attract Foreign Direct Investment and if you want to diversify, you have to become one of the easiest countries to do business in.”