October 2012

 In This Issue

  • Call For Proposals
  • Stregthening Competitiveness and Innovation
  • Latest Global Competitiveness Report Released
  • Suriname Visits Panama
  • Bahamas Focusing On SME  Development
Call For Proposals
US$500,000 to develop risky and innovative ideas

Innovators across the Caribbean are currently being invited to submit proposals to the Compete Caribbean Enterprise Innovation Challenge Fund (EICF) to compete for up to US$500,000 to develop their ideas.
The open call was launched on October 1st, 2012 and ends on November 30th, 2012. Submissions should have the potential to increase exports and create jobs for Caribbean men and women.
The Caribbean is wonderfully diverse with a rich heritage and a unique culture that encourages flair and creativity. The Innovation Window is designed to probe for and develop the ingenuity of the Caribbean private sector by encouraging firms and entrepreneurs across the Caribbean states to compete for non-reimbursable grant funding.
The grants finance projects that are innovative and risky. If successful these projects could make a significant contribution to the economic development of the Caribbean.
Specifically, the fund will provide matching grant resources to firms and entrepreneurs, who want to finance innovative ventures, take risks to develop new products, implement new business models and/or enter new markets.


Strengthening Competitiveness
and Innovation
IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno Recognises CC Program
IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno and
Prime Minister of Barbados, Freundel Stuart

Globalized markets are inextricably tied to increased competition. This is the view of IDB President Moreno during his inaugural remarks during the XV Inter-American Forum on Microenterprise (Foromic) in Bridgetown, Barbados earlier this month.


President Moreno pointed out: "That's why we contribute to internationalization by strengthening competitiveness and innovation. For example, in the Caribbean, Compete Caribbean is supporting governments and the private sector in developing sound policies, regulatory frameworks, financial sector reform, access to capital for young and growing businesses, research and development, adoption and usage of the latest technologies."


In front of a packed conference hall, he added that Compete Caribbean is also exploring partnerships with regional organizations to implement initiatives to further strengthen entrepreneurship in the Caribbean.


"Compete Caribbean, through its executing unit based here in Barbados, is also launching a huge and innovative initiative to connect the diaspora with the greater Caribbean community and generate increased opportunity for innovation, competitiveness and entrepreneurship," President Moreno added.


Meanwhile, Compete Caribbean was instrumental in the Impact Investing in the Caribbean and in Small Markets Plenary Session at Foromic which focused on the challenges, prospects and opportunities for increasing impact investing in the Caribbean.


Latest Global Competiveness Report Released


Barbados is the only Caribbean territory to rank

in the top 50 in a recently released Global Competitiveness Report (2012-2013).


The report stated that out of the 144 most competitive nations' economies evaluated,

Barbados was rated 44th. 


Other Caribbean countries scored as follows:

  • Trinidad - 84th
  • Jamaica - 97th
  • Dominican Republic - 105th
  • Guyana - 109th
  • Suriname - 114th

Furthermore, despite being relatively open economies, Caribbean countries are finding it

very difficult to expand their markets and take advantage of trade agreements. 


Despite the variations across Caribbean countries

in the ratings, there is evidence to suggest that

these low rankings are symptomatic of persistent and common weaknesses such as technological readiness, business sophistication and innovation.

Source: The World Economic Forum
Suriname Visits Panama
Sharing Knowledge On Competitiveness
Delegates from Suriname and Panama with Compete Caribbean representative,
Diego Morris


Ten officials from the Government of Suriname recently participated in a visit to Panama as an exchange between Latin America and the Caribbean on issues related to innovation and competitiveness.


The visit from September 10-14, 2012 was organized and financed by the Compete Caribbean Program, under the project "Framework for Competitiveness in Suriname" to build capacity, facilitate knowledge sharing and networking, demonstrate the key success factors for a comprehensive business climate reform program and illustrate operational procedures and support needed by the recently established Competitiveness Enhancement Technical Unit in the Government of Suriname.


"Competitiveness is very important to our government, not the least because we recognize that by improving the overall competitiveness of the country, we can improve the quality of life for our citizens. Opportunities like these are really important because they give us an opportunity to witness what other countries are doing, learn from their past mistakes as well as refine our own thinking on what we should do in Suriname," explained Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Raymond Sapoen.


The mission team met with stakeholders from the Government of Panama, the private sector and civil society and discussed a range of issues including competitiveness policy, governance of State Owned Enterprises and privatization, implementation of Public-Private Partnerships and the general framework for Public-Private Dialogue. 

Bahamas Focusing on SME Development
Compete Caribbean Partnering With Bahamas Government


The SME sector accounts for over 90% of all registered businesses in The Bahamas, and to this end, Compete Caribbean is partnering with the Government of Bahamas to modernize the overall approach to Small-Medium Enterprise (SME) development.  


Recent analysis has shown that SMEs in the Bahamas will benefit in an environment that is more enabling for innovation and risk taking. The current legislation and policy framework needs to be adjusted to facilitate a coordinated approach to the provision of technical and financial assistance in SMEs operations. 


To further promote access both to financial services or technical assistance, , with assistance from Compete Caribbean, the Government of The Bahamas is spearheading a comprehensive revision and refocusing of all public sector support for SME development in the island chain.


This partnership included support from Compete Caribbean to draft a new SME Development Act. The Act creates a new institutional arrangement to merge the provision of technical and financial assistance, whilst allowing for increased capitalization to address issues related to limited access to credit by SMEs.


This SME Development Act was presented to Cabinet earlier this year for consideration. Once the law is passed, it will create the framework to allow SMEs greater access to finance, and also to financial and technical resources to innovate and grow.