“You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me with honour.” – Psalm 73:24

Fourteen years ago I was given a mandate as a consultant at the Caribbean Development Bank to establish an initiative to diversify the economies in the Caribbean by developing what are now called ‘sunrise’ enterprises to replace the fading ‘sunset’ industries such as commodity sugar and bananas.

This consultancy resulted in the establishment of the CBET Shepherding Model™. My mission in life now is enterprise development and I lead the charge with the Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. (CBET), having learned significantly from a successful pilot project in Barbados, to franchise The CBET Shepherding Model™ (Export ideas with the DNA of an elephant; Shepherding to mitigate the risk of business failure; quick response seed/venture capital funding) as a necessary and sufficient strategy for sustainable economic development in small states and emerging nations globally. I also promote the ManoBiz Matrix™ as an action planning and gap analysis tool to facilitate the shepherding process for start-up businesses.

The strategy used to garner information in the CDB assignment was to conduct workshops in many of the CDB borrowing member countries. In addition to identifying the constraints to the development of start-up enterprises in the region and the perceived solutions to alleviate these constraints, there were a number of global market growth opportunities which emerged from the workshops which could impact positively on the growth of small states and emerging economies.

These opportunities included nutraceuticals, telemedicine, cultural industries, medical tourism, value-added agriculture, film production, ICT, renewable energy, consulting, financial services, education and animation, not necessarily in that order of importance.

We have flirted with the development of ideas in many of these opportunity areas but have not met with sustainable success in terms of growth in the economies of the Caribbean. We live in hope that we shall be blessed with success once we pay heed to the appropriate counsel.

I was delighted to have been included in the invitees at a dinner presentation by Joan Vogelesang, President and CEO of Toon Boom Animation Inc. in Canada on Friday. Toon Boom promotes the world’s best animation software. Complementing Joan’s presentation was one by Joel Kuwahara Co-Founder and Principal of Bento Box in California. Bento Box Entertainment is a leading producer of primetime animation for broadcast and cable networks, home entertainment as well as multimedia platforms. Toon Boom and Bento Box are working together to make it happen in the Caribbean having already established animation initiatives in many other regions of the world.

Other invitees included representatives from Barbados Investment and Development Corporation, Central Bank of Barbados, Enterprise Growth Fund Limited, Caribbean Export, Barbados Coalition of Service Industries and Toon Boom’s local coordinating team, including Phil Phillips and Dale Miller. It was a very inspiring evening.

Earlier this year Joan Vogelesang attended the Official Opening of CDMC (Caribbean Digital Media Centre Inc.), in Barbados which marked another milestone in the continued development and expansion of the animation industry in The Caribbean. The Principal of CDMC is James Corbin of EeZee Kricket/BIM Ventures fame. There is significant potential for the development of animation studios in Barbados and there are prospects for many more if we can get the right management/money developmental model in place.

Toon Boom believes that the success which they have had in developing the animation industry in India will be repeated in the Caribbean. Using the skills developed in these and other Caribbean studios, this highly networked industry will enable the Caribbean animation industry to leverage the global footprint provided by major animation studios who wish to outsource their work to skilled and talented production houses.

The new Facebook page “Animation in the Caribbean” will provide a meeting and discussion point for all those involved in the Caribbean Animation Hub. Guyana, Trinidad, Jamaica now all have Toon Boom-equipped animation studios, with others planned in St. Vincent and St. Lucia. This expansion will result in the creation of 3,000 to 5,000 new jobs in the Eastern Caribbean over the next few years.

Initial training is provided by Toon Boom Animation. Once these studios are up to speed and have a reputation for high-quality output, they can use Toon Boom connections and be recommended to the major world-leading animation studios.

The fact that Toon Boom recommends a studio means that they are recognised as being capable of producing and delivering the standard and volume of work expected by major studios.

Traditional hand-drawn animation was the process used for most animated films of the 20th century. Computer animation encompasses a variety of techniques, the unifying factor being that the animation is created digitally on a computer. This animation takes less time than previous traditional animation.

It is reported that more new avenues for animated content are emerging than ever before. For decades, the choices were straightforward: TV, features, commercials, music videos, and shorts. Today those limited number of options have been expanded as every form of media and creative practice is somehow incorporating animation into its sphere, from news programmes to architecture.

One area in which animation will play an increasingly meaningful role is publishing. While there have been a number of iPhone/iPad “animated” books, most have been of a simplistic variety requiring users to flip a “page” to watch a linear animated sequence. The next generation of children’s books will integrate animation in non-linear ways to create an entirely new and unique storytelling experience.