“Say to him: ‘Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!” 1 Samuel 25:6

There is a generic vision that fits any country in the world. This vision is holistic sustainability in the context of the spiritual, economic, social, cultural and physical environments. As we aspire towards this vision we must pursue a path of excellence and efficiency which will, ultimately, eradicate the pockets of poverty that still exist and which will ultimately lead to socio-economic well-being for the populace. Barbados is no exception.

We often talk about the services economy of the future. Well, the future is here and now. We must focus on the diversified use of the Sugar Cane plant, The West Indian Sea Island Cotton and other Agricultural Value Added industries; the Tourism-Linkages, High-Tech Manufacturing and Renewable Energy industries; and Export of Services (Informatics, Financial, Health, Consulting, Education, Entertainment and Sports) to complement the success which we have had in the tourism sector.

CBET has in its own small way attempted to assist as “A Caribbean Catalyst turning Concepts into Commercial Realities”. We have focused on businesses which have the “DNA of an Elephant”, businesses which are, as the Irish call them, “High Performance Enterprises”, businesses which, although they are currently small, have the potential for exponential growth. It is this type of business that has the ability for immediate impact on the growth of the Barbadian and Caribbean economies.

CBET has found that there is no shortage of entrepreneurs, with passion for the development of their ideas, who would like to take up the mantel and contribute to economic growth and their own financial success; there is no shortage of a management consultant fraternity, both in the Caribbean and in the Diaspora, who can provide the necessary management advisory and shepherding services needed to facilitate the growth of these enterprises; and there is no shortage of money in the Caribbean economies to stimulate the growth of these enterprises. Yet, we have made no sustainable progress in significantly increasing the rate of growth of foreign exchange earnings from “sunrise” industries which, over the passage of time, will replace the “sunset” industries that have served us so well in the past.

The major problem is the lack of appropriate types of financial instrument for these fledgling enterprises and where, there has been some attempt to provide these instruments, the lack of timely access to these funds. The “red tape” is so long that by the time one gets to the end of it, the business opportunity has dropped off the radar screen or the entrepreneur has run out of patience and opted for some other sub-optimal alternative.

I was very excited, therefore, when I read a newspaper report last week that “The key to unlocking the great potential of Barbados service industry has been exposed and it has been recognised as creating strong links between attracting foreign investors to assist in enhancing local industries and pushing pioneer indigenous industries into the forefront of the global market place”.

The report went on “According to Peter Boos, Chairman of the Barbados International Business Promotion Corporation (BIBPC), the thinking of indigenous businesses must transform from seeing Barbados as their key market to recognising that the world is the prime market place with great potential in such a globalized environment. A paradigm shift has to take place in the development of the Barbados service industry…the size of these pioneer businesses does not matter, what is important is their commitment and vision regarding the dynamics of the global economy and the part Barbados will have to play in such an environment.”

Concomitantly, there was a report that Dr. Annalee C. Babb was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of BIBPC, effective October 1, 2006.

Dr. Babb is currently the founder and CEO of Barbados-based consulting firm ACB Knowledge Consultants Inc. In addition, she is a former journalist, diplomat and academic whose experience includes a stint in venture capital financing. The Board believes Dr. Babb’s wide range of experience, her enthusiasm and her unwavering belief in the ability of Barbadians to lift the level of their global engagement make her the right fit for the organisation.”

Dr. Babb received her Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, where she wrote on Small States, the Internet and Development: Pathways to Power in a Global Information Society. Dr. Babb also holds the degrees of Master of Arts in International Law and Diplomacy, and Bachelor of Arts with honours in Mass Communication, Journalism and Political Science. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Barbados.

Meanwhile back in the UK, Rudi Page Managing Director of Statecraft Consulting info@statecraft.net has reported that the Barbados Expo open by the Prime Minister in London on August 18 2006 was a great success. My colleague Jerry Blenman, Managing Director of Calidad Investment and Financial services Inc. jblenman@calidad.bb, who attended the expo, has corroborated Rudi’s report.

To Mr. Boos and Dr. Babb: ‘Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours! Onward march to exploit export opportunities.