While the UK continues to grapple with trade deals with its European partners, the shores of Barbados have started to attract UK businesses that have been looking further afield to cement new opportunities.

Unnerved by the Brexit negotiations, UK firms were steeling themselves for any negative impacts, reviewing technological advances to ward off any loss in the labour pool and making determinations about reheadquartering businesses on mainland Europe. However, this shifting landscape also had companies making new enquiries in alternative jurisdictions, not just to turn to overseas labour markets but to expand into new countries, breaking away from the dominance of the European markets.

Barbados, an independent nation since 1966, does not have the concerns that the British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean may have regarding their ties to Europe. Barbados, with a strong government led by our first female Prime Minister, the Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, is chomping at the bit to welcome more foreign direct investment.

Looking for pioneering ways to encourage UK companies to engage in new ventures in Barbados, Innovate LSO (legal and outsourcing specialists based in Barbados) introduced Berwick Devoil Healthcare Limited (BDHL), a United Kingdom registered international healthcare broker, to David A Deane Consultancy Inc., a Barbadian owned and registered company whose principal has been involved in the insurance industry for decades.

BDHL and David A Deane Consultancy have seen an opportunity to market global health insurance products to clients in Barbados, and Barbados in turn will act as their hub and gateway to the rest of the Caribbean. This cross-border joint venture initiative provides affiliation with, and access to, institutions which provide the world’s best medical advice, doctors and treatments.

David Deane commented that, “BDHL brings a specialist health and risk knowledge to Barbados and, working alongside my company, our combined efforts deliver an efficient, unique and diverse service. Our working partnership rolls out a focused ability and a shared ethical core of how we both do business”.

BDHL’s Caroline Weiss-Jones said that their aim to trade internationally, “Opens a universe of potential clients, suppliers and trades, but most importantly being able to offer our unique service and capabilities in health insurance, with David and his team by our side, to the communities and businesses in Barbados makes for an exciting future”.

Guy and Caroline Jones are not newcomers to Barbados, they have been here on holiday every year for the past ten years. They are typical of many UK visitors with their own businesses, they see the value of Barbados as a tourist destination and have been contemplating how to expand their business internationally, eyeing up the opportunities further afield from Europe. This is where organisations like The Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) and Invest Barbados can assist, making introductions to local companies or to Regulators, so that foreign companies can understand the dynamics and benefits of expanding operations to the island.

The expansion of UK businesses to Barbados is also something Alex Morris of Financial Relationships LLP based in London has also noted. Alex has been working with Invest Barbados to promote opportunities through his network to law firms, investment houses, Lloyds of London and accountancy firms.

Alex commented, “We have seen a marked increase of interest in doing business globally, not just focussing on Europe over the last few years. I see this as a positive move as the US policy becomes more entrenched in its domestic agenda. UK businesses are taking a different approach and see this as a golden opportunity to discover new environments in which to do business”.

Alex also noted that, “Barbados’ close historic ties to the UK bring a sense of comfort to UK businesses, as the legal system and business practices are familiar, so there are endless opportunities to expand business here”.

Alex has been in discussion with a number of UK firms about doing business in Barbados and providing training opportunities to Barbadian employees. He commented that, “There is everything to gain in a situation where everyone wins, which has to be good for our clients and our businesses. I don’t see a downside. It’s just ours to lose if we don’t take it”.

UK businesses have the advantage of using Barbados as a gateway to the Americas and the rest of the Caribbean. Global operations based here grant employees easy access to those regions in a similar time zone.

There is a new dawn of inspiration and confidence in Barbados. The recently elected Barbados government has stated its aims to not only meet international standards but to exceed them in order to be globally competitive. This gives the business community something new to work with – a reinvigorated ‘Brand Barbados’, representing our culture, identity and new value proposition. All aspects of the business environment are being re-engineered to welcome foreign investment and find ways of working with our international counterparts.

If this prospect excites you, and you are a regular visitor to Barbados, why not arrange a meeting with Invest Barbados or BIBA. Or if you are currently overseas and want to find out more, have a look at their websites or contact the writer for more information.

We look forward to doing business with you.

About the Author

Julia Hope
Julia Hope - President, Barbados International Business Association

Julia Taggart is a lawyer who qualified in England and practised commercial and corporate law in London and Bermuda before relocating to Barbados in 2008. Julia is the CEO and Co-Founder of Innovate LSO Solutions, which provides dedicated legal support services to international law firms and companies.