On behalf of the Barbados International Business Association, may I warmly welcome you to the official launch of International Business Week 2012. Like its predecessors, this week of activities has been designed to mark the contribution of the international business sector to Barbados. This year, the week will be held from October 21st to 27th, 2012, under the theme Innovation: Our Path to New Horizons. This theme, centering around innovation, will be showcased against the backdrop of our perennial slogan for our annual week of outreach and celebration – “International Business Barbados … Embrace the Opportunities”.
The 2012 theme was chosen to reflect the understanding that global dynamics compel companies and individuals to find creative new ways to outperform the competition if they wish to remain relevant and prosper. Put another way: we MUST INNOVATE, OR PERISH. Barbados is a small open economy with limited resources and we are extremely vulnerable to all sorts of external shocks, be they economic or natural hazards. With that reality staring us in the face, it is obvious that we cannot remain as we have always been, doing what we always do. Therefore, we must focus on strategies for development that incorporate, within our private and our public sectors, new or improved products, processes and services. The international business sector is the perfect catalyst for the cycle of innovation which propels growth which propels innovation, which propels growth…and so on. The inward knowledge transfer, benchmarking against global standards, and exchange of human capital between Barbados and the rest of the world, till fertile ground on which the seeds of innovation can grow. Further, the vital foreign exchange harvested through the sector feeds our economy and ultimately, our people.
The transformational effect that the international business sector has had on Barbados’ social and economic landscape can already be recognised in the exponential development of a business district once focussed narrowly on Bridgetown which now extends beyond Worthing to the South and Warrens towards the centre of the Island. We see it also in life-changing infrastructural additions like our modern international airport, the highway connecting it to the West Coast and our robust telecommunications sector. The timing of these developments is no coincidence – they have grown up in the same era as the germination and propagation of our international business sector. Substantial inward investment and tax revenues are the fruits of the sector which have enriched our economic and infrastructural development pie.
This growth has had far reaching effects on the lives of those directly and indirectly employed by the international business sector and so we strongly believe that the continued advancement of Barbados as an international business centre is key to reviving our island’s prosperity and sustaining an enviable standard of living for all Barbadians.
In the almost 12 months leading up to the staging of International Business Week, BIBA and its Strategic Partners have worked to develop a slate of activities that will promote this message across the communities of Barbados.
With this in mind we have arrived at a full programme of activities that will appeal widely to persons across many walks of life in Barbados. Anyone who seeks to understand where opportunity lies and how we can make our nation’s future bright should be keenly interested in the events of International Business Week.
The week of activities commences with a church service on Sunday, October 21st, at which the members of BIBA and its strategic partners will join the St George Parish Church congregation to inaugurate the week’s fixtures.
Later that Sunday afternoon we will stage the BIBA Charity Health Walk/Run. This is a 5 kilometer fun walk for all ages mapped from Belleville to Dippers Bar at the Cruising Club, via the Garrison. Runners and walkers are invited to “Get Healthy, Get Giving!” while contributing to the BIBA Charity’s bid to raise funds for public healthcare on the island. Prizes given will include awards for the largest corporate and community groups to cross the finish line, so start training!
On Tuesday, October 23rd, we will participate in a special edition of Down to Brass Tacks where we will discuss in greater detail the transformative potential of the international business sector . We will also be hosting our fourth annual Careers Showcase that afternoon at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, where tertiary level students, and even interested secondary school students eyeing a career in the international business sector, will receive expert guidance from representatives across the sector.
On Wednesday, October 24th we will hold two events at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. In the morning, we will hold our second annual schools symposium designed as a forum for fifth and sixth form students to learn more about the sector. In the evening, we will stage our fourth annual International Business Week Public Discussion Forum.
This year, the topic: “Barbados to the World! Live Locally, Work Globally” will be discussed by a panel of experts drawn from the public and private spheres.
Thursday and Friday, October 25th and 26th will see the return of our flagship event for our week of activities, our international business conference. This year’s conference is defined by the theme: Creative Approaches for Global Expansion. This forum features a stimulating slate of speakers from here and abroad including innovation guru Dr. Eddie Molloy, who will share with us the Irish experience of innovation at a national level, the innovation ecosystem and public service innovation.
Our week of events is reflective of the international business sector itself – they both provide something for just about everyone; and so we urge all Barbadians to join us and participate as fully as possible, as we celebrate International Business Week 2012.