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Island vision to become No. 1 hub

rhondathompson, [email protected]

Island vision to become No. 1 hub

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BARBADOS can no longer depend on traditional modes of economic stimulation, but must look towards an economy that will deliver sustainable growth.
That is the message from the newly formed Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation, which was launched at the Hilton Barbados on Tuesday.
During the launch, the foundation also announced its first project, The Barbados National Entrepreneurship Summit, to be held on November 16 and 17. 
In his inaugural address, Peter Boos, chairman of the foundation and chairman emeritus of Ernst & Young Caribbean, warned that the economies on which Barbados traditionally depended were themselves depressed and in recession and thus had caused Barbados’ fiscal picture to deteriorate over the last three years.
 “What is needed is an economy that will deliver sustainable growth. We cannot wait until the end of the recession and go back to business as usual. In the words of Richard Florida, Barbados needs to reset.”
For that reason, Boos said, the new foundation had a “really transformational vision”: “Barbados will become the No. 1 entrepreneurial hub in the world by 2020.”
He said the foundation, with the help of key stakeholders, would transform Barbados into a place where “entrepreneurs from all over the world converge to do business because of the facilitative eco-system that is to be built in the country over the next ten years”.
He said that sustainable economic growth and jobs and wealth creation could only be sustained by Barbadians engaging in global business through the export of services and goods.
“This foundation’s vision is built on five pillars in which Barbados has to become the best in class: finance, government policy, education and skills, mentorship, and business facilitation.
“We were very pleased, after discussing our mission with Prime Minister David Thompson, that he gave us the full support of his Government and mandated us to accomplish the vision.” 
Boos said the Prime Minister’s support was the catalyst behind the foundation truly believing that the vision was achievable. He said the Opposition also supported the foundation’s vision.
The chairman said early support also came from two of the island’s leading entrepreneurs – Sir Kyffin Simpson and Ralph “Bizzy” Williams.
 One sponsor, president of the Barbados Bankers’ Association, Robert Le Hunte, who is also chief executive officer (CEO) and managing director of Barbados National Bank, said the foundation’s goal was an ambitious one, but one that his organisation would be happy to be associated with since banks had developed a reputation for “killing the entrepreneurial spirit”. 
Digicel CEO Barry O’Brien said the shareholders and Digicel chairman Denis O’Brien, himself an entrepreneur, were very keen on the project which was “just what Barbados needed to drive the economy in the future”.
Other founding sponsoring organisations and companies included the Barbados International Business Association with contributions coming from its members CIDEL Bank & Trust, Summit International Bank, TeleBarbados, Break Water Management Services, Tri Cor Caribbean and Lex Caribbean.  The United States State Department, Nation Publishing, Simpson Motors,, Williams Industries and international business consultancy firm McKinneys Rogers are also founding sponsors. (PR)