Innovating Barbados Business Services to Serve Global Markets

Barbados is a premier world-class lifestyle destination with a very high quality of life rating. It now wants to be The # 1 Entrepreneurship Hub in the World by 2020. This vision of the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation is shared by many of the leading Business Services Firms in Barbados. The modern Barbados economy is increasingly […]

By Peter N. Boos

February 6, 2012

Students at The University of the West Indies Education occupies a pivotal role in Barbados

Barbados is a premier world-class lifestyle destination with a very high quality of life rating. It now wants to be The # 1 Entrepreneurship Hub in the World by 2020. This vision of the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation is shared by many of the leading Business Services Firms in Barbados.

The modern Barbados economy is increasingly built on Services Sectors – Hospitality, International Business, Financial Services, Real Estate & Construction, ICT, Telecoms, Health, Education, Sports, Arts, Entertainment & Culture, etc. Each year, Barbadian and international educational establishments are producing many Barbadian lawyers, accountants, actuaries, financial planners, medical and healthcare specialists, engineers, architects, management consultants, Internet specialists, educators, Communications and Events Management consultants and so forth. While our domestic market (less than 300,000 population) is unable to absorb all of these skills, there is no doubt that many opportunities will exist in the Global Marketplace in these services industries. Therefore it is quite apparent that having a global market perspective is essential for Barbados.

A number of progressive, pioneering leaders in many Business Services Sectors recognize this and are already innovating their business models to serve global markets; and, in doing so, they are creating an outstanding International Business Services Hub in Barbados. Some are already global businesses (e.g. in Banking and Telecoms) but nevertheless are expanding their domestic mandates to attract and do more business from Barbados with external clients.

With our enviable lifestyle, high quality of life rating, longstanding political stability, excellent human talent pool, efficient physical infrastructure, advanced ICT capabilities,
optimum geographical location, strong legal system and regulatory environment, lack of corruption, established global brand, good use of the English language and wide-ranging skill sets, it is quite evident that Barbados has ample potential and is well positioned to emerge as a genuine global services centre.

Indeed there are a number of recent examples of business developments that clearly demonstrate that this enormous potential has already been identified, both locally and
internationally, and in some cases actually acted upon. Such examples include:

Education:

Investors from Trinidad are currently looking at establishing a boarding school in Barbados for international students. Apart from servicing general education needs, an English language school targeted at South America is a clear opportunity for development. Investments in private education are likely to expand significantly as Government seeks to trim its core education budgets.

Health:

American World Clinics is partnering with the Barbados Government to establish an international medical services facility in Barbados by 2013 to serve patients from North America, Europe and the Caribbean. The model is for quality patient care, provided by a well-trained international medical staff, featuring physicians principally from the U.S., Barbados, U.K. and Canada.

Other medical areas that seem ripe for potential development in Barbados include remote diagnostics, monitoring, advice and treatment, all of which are rapidly growing modalities of health service provision globally. In addition, medical transcription services are already well established.

Industry and Commerce:

ICT has been the main driver of the geographic dispersal of financial services, call centres, virtual organisations, globally connected logistics chains and other business activities. Barbados has already established itself as a successful player in several of these industries. Corporate HQs, R&D and IP development centres, Sales & Marketing Offices are all activities currently being successfully conducted in Barbados by international companies.

Entertainment, Arts, Culture:

Our very own international ‘superstar’ Rihanna, ably supported by a growing number of other performing artistes, has firmly planted Barbados on the global entertainment map. She recently performed a concert in Barbados for 28,000 fans at the Kensington Oval and this should open the door for more such events, involving the very best entertainers in the world and attracting their huge fan base to the island. Barbados is working to become a Centre Of Excellence in Arts & Entertainment. Very significantly, historic Bridgetown and its Garrison have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sports:

Having very successfully hosted the World Cup of Golf in 2006, the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2007 and the ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup and the World Fireball Sailing Championships in 2010, amongst other global sporting events, Barbados is rapidly becoming an international sports centre. The island offers tremendous potential for providing year-round, world-class sports facilities in a diverse range of disciplines.

There is little doubt that it is the digital and wireless revolution that has done most to create the opportunity for small island communities such as Barbados to compete – because, essentially, these technologies remove the disadvantage of distance. It is thanks to this critical factor, combined with the country’s investment in human talent and infrastructure, that Barbados today is well positioned to become a major player in the world in services industries in the decades ahead.

With a determined drive for human resources excellence, technological leadership (including island wide, free Wi-Fi by 11-11-11) and an innovative entrepreneurial society, there is good reason to believe that Barbados will become the # 1 Entrepreneurial Hub in the World by 2020.

Peter N. Boos

Chairman Emeritus Ernst & Young Caribbean (since 2004); Founding partner Business Barbados publication (1999) and the Barbados business web portal BusinessBarbados.com (2009); Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO Substance Abuse Foundation Inc. (1996 to date); Founding Sponsor (2009) and First Chairman (2009-2014) Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation Inc.; Founder of the Peter Boos Foundation (2004), (supporting youth development, entrepreneurship, education, addiction treatment, environmental protection, arts & culture development, relief of poverty and support of various community and charitable causes); Founder, Patron and first chairman ASPIRE Foundation (Barbados) Inc. - 'helping charities help' to strengthen and expand the Barbados Third Sector (2014 to date).

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