“The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all.” –  Proverbs 22:2

Two weeks ago, in this column entitled “Balance and synergy in economic growth sectors”, we gave some insight on the potential mix of business opportunities in the tourism, culture, energy, ICT and food sectors.

In last week’s column entitledEnhance tourism strategy”, we recognized the opportunity to build on the success of the Caribbean tourism sector and its linkages as the stellar component of a national and regional economic growth strategy. We introduced a five-point generic sustainable strategy, including governance, investment, market, operational and labour force issues.

This week we recognize that culture is inextricably linked to the way of life of our people and hence embraces education, behaviours, beliefs, values, norms, traditions and innovations. The challenge we face is to convert this people capacity into viable business opportunities which will emerge as we investigate the following five opportunities from a deeper perspective: host higher education institutions, promote arts, crafts and entertainment events, inspire knowledge services and protect intellectual property, develop digital publishing, and master business communications.

A user-friendly enabling environment is a necessary underpinning to this challenge and is the joint responsibility of the public and private sectors. This sound foundation should support the important tenets that (1) our people are our greatest resource and we must develop them to the fullest, and (2) investment risk management is paramount to protect potential investors. As we lay this foundation, formal training to facilitate educational development, and shepherding as we apply that knowledge to the business environment are essential to the integrity of the system.

Host higher education institutions: The University of the West Indies has achieved globally recognized standards of excellence and attracts higher education students from around the world. Offshore medical schools find the Caribbean as a welcoming destination. The Caribbean Science Foundation is the project of the Caribbean Diaspora for Science, Technology and Innovation (CADSTI). CADSTI is an international body of professionals who have an interest in the development of the Caribbean region. CADSTI recognizes that there is a vast talent pool within the larger Diaspora whose skills go untapped by the Caribbean community.

Promote arts, crafts and entertainment events: The Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA), born in 1972, is an international multicultural event organized on a periodic basis by the countries of the Caribbean. We should build on this experience and promote it worldwide. The ‘classical’ cultural industries are broadcast media, film, publishing, carnival, graphic design, music of all genres, architecture, social media, and the ‘traditional arts’ include visual art, crafts, theatre, music, concerts and performance, literature, museums and galleries.

Inspire knowledge services and protect intellectual property: Included in this category would be research, financial services and consulting. Intellectuals are always in search of the truth.

Develop digital publishing: Self-publishing has recently taken over from traditional publishing. A book can now be published online using the many tools available. When you self-publish a book, you retain all rights and profits and have full control over all the specifications, including whether to create an eBook or a print book or both. Where it is more feasible, the printing and distribution may be outsourced to professionals.

Master business communications: All businesses must place emphasis on marketing which drives revenue, a necessary ingredient for growing profits and achieving sustainability. There is the opportunity to provide business communication services e.g. public relations, media relations, media monitoring, social media, graphic design, audiovisual production, sales and advertising to satisfy this growing need.

The full range of business opportunities which stem from the Caribbean cultural industry sector must be exploited as we tackle national and regional economic growth. Let us make it happen as we embark on our respective journeys through 2019.