October 2015
Compete Caribbean's Progress Report
A snapshot of outputs achieved
against targets as of October 2015

Belize: Partnering for Growth and Prosperity
A far cry from its humble beginnings in 2011, The Fourth Annual Prime Minister's Business Forum was held in Belize City on October 8, 2015, and has grown into the largest and possibly the most influential public-private dialogue platform in the country where over 300 representatives from the public and private sectors met to exchange ideas and raise their collective voices on ways to move Belize forward.

This year, the focus was on 'Partnering for Growth and Prosperity' and a key contribution was to showcase the achievements of the Economic Development Council (EDC). The EDC is the Government of Belize official mechanism for Public-Private sector dialogue and also serves as the official advisory body to the Prime Minister and to Cabinet on such matters.

The EDC is geared towards the improvement of productive development policies, the promotion of inter-ministerial policy reform and the simplification of doing business in Belize. In pursuit of this mandate, the EDC has been working diligently on a number of key reforms over the last year. These include: (i) a Trade and Tax Policy Review; (ii) the National Comprehensive Transportation Master Plan; and (iii) the Strengthening of the structure of EDC and charting its path through the definition of its action plan.

Compete Caribbean has been supporting the EDC in Belize in many of these key actions. The Program's work is most notable in the strengthening of the structure of EDC, building the collective capacity of its staff and in providing strategic direction to their efforts to create an enabling environment for business development, trade and integration.

Another key highlight from this year's forum was a session entitled 'Conversations on the Investment Climate.' This session featured a spirited and positive discussion on the Belizean Investment Climate and was led by Prime Minister Hon. Dean O. Barrow and included Alvin Henderson, Managing Director of Royal Mayan Shrimp Farm Ltd.

The Program remains committed to assisting in the efforts to strengthen the EDC as these priorities are fundamental to defining and implementing private sector development strategies with an aim of boosting economic growth and sustainable development in Belize.
Impact Evaluation Course a Success
Thirty-six development practitioners from 13 CARIFORUM countries joined Compete Caribbean staff for a two and a half day course on Impact Evaluation for Productive Development Policies. 

Course instructors were Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) specialists: Alessandro Maffioli, Gustavo Crespi, and Edwin Goņi Pacchioni who undertook the incredible challenge of packing a two week course into a span of two and a half days. 

Despite the intensity of the condensed course, survey feedback from participants indicated that they all rated the course as good, very good or excellent. Survey responses also showed their excitement and increased level of knowledge on a topic that directly relates to development projects and programs. Deep interest was also expressed in gaining, sharing and implementing the knowledge that was attained in the course back in their home countries. 

Participants were given the opportunity, through group work and a final presentation, to put into practice what they have learned. A final short quiz reflected that persons acquired an adequate level of understanding of the topics that were presented.

Compete Caribbean Executive Director, Sylvia Dohnert, expressed delight at the opportunity to organize the inaugural, regionally attended course on strategies for evaluating productive development policies. "This was a superb course. Our participants left more knowledgeable
about the importance of impact evaluation and more empowered on how to design projects that can be evaluated, such that policymakers can really find out how effective they were in achieving expected results. Compete Caribbean remains committed to continuing to offer these types of institutional strengthening curriculum to policy makers across the region."

To encourage continued dialogue on impact evaluation and to share resources on the topic, an online network has been launched for participants.
Productivity, Technology and Innovation in the Caribbean 
Researchers Present Work for Peer Review

Eight academics from around the world gathered in Barbados on October 22-23, 2015 for a peer review workshop to discuss the proposals they submitted to the open call for research papers using firm level data sets funded by the Compete Caribbean program. 

Along with their peers, a panel of IDB representatives consisting of Gustavo Crespi, Alessandro Maffioli, Musheer Kamau and Camilo Gomez as well as Compete Caribbean Executive Director, Sylvia Dohnert, provided constructive feedback for improving the papers and models proposed. 

Additionally, an online network for the researchers is being created to stimulate the sharing of data and ideas that will contribute to the development of a final set of papers, slated to be released in the first quarter of 2016. 

The topics, all related to the Caribbean, are:
Reliability of Electricity Provision and Firm Performance - Manuel Barron                                     
Innovation and Productivity in the Caribbean - Filipe Lage de Sousa and Antonio Marcos Hoelz Pinto Ambrozio
Credit Constraints and Innovation - Diego Morris
FDI and Firm Innovative Activity - Patrick Watson, Eric Strobl and Preeya Mohan
Barriers to Innovation and Firm Productivity - Preeya Mohan, Patrick Watson and Eric Strobl
Effects of Gender on Firm Productivity - Roberta Rabellotti, Winston Moore, and Andrea Presbitero
Competition and Innovation in the Caribbean Region - Filipe Lage de Sousa and Antonio Marcos Hoelz Pinto Ambrozio
R&D and Firm Performance - Winston Moore and Tracey Broome             
Business Lab Held in Barbados
The first workshop in a series of Business Labs on Intellectual Property and Product Branding for Creative Industries was held in Barbados from October 19 -23, 2015

As part of the Caribbean Regional Entrepreneurial Asset Commercialization Hub (REACH) Program, the Business Labs are a Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded regional technical cooperation project being executed by the University of the West Indies (UWI). 

REACH is aimed at building the commercialization capabilities of competitively selected Caribbean entrepreneurs and firms. The project will provide institutional capacity building, training, and mentor-ship in three main thematic areas: (i) Technology commercialization (ii) creative industries intellectual asset management and (iii) product branding value capturing. Read More
Compete Caribbean Committed to 
Science, Innovation and Technology in the Region

Compete Caribbean remains committed to the advancement of science, innovation and technology in the region. 

This position was reinforced in Grenada in October when Compete Caribbean's Enterprise Innovation Challenge Fund (EICF) Coordinator, Celene Cleland-Gomez attended the second high Level meeting of the CARICOM Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Committee and also met with Prime Minister of Grenada, the Rt. Hon Dr. Keith Mitchell.

Prime Minister Mitchell explained that the CARICOM STI Committee which is chaired by Professor Harold Ramkissoon of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of the West Indies, is vital to the economic development of the region which inspired a broader discussion with Compete Caribbean covering areas such as the strategic use of innovation funds to drive innovation in existing firms, public sector support for research and development, training and capacity building for the institutions driving and coordinating the actors and activities in the innovation system, support for dynamic entrepreneurship, the use of incubators and accelerators and the development of sector specific innovation policies for priority sectors were raised as all viable options for CARICOM states.

As a next step in the process, Compete Caribbean agreed to share its wealth of knowledge products and studies on private sector development, in particular the role and utility of innovation, science and technology with the STI Committee; as well as to identify relevant private sector actors to serve as advisors to the STI Committee.
Notes From The Field...

Providing an Umbrella, Rain or Shine: 
Lessons for Latin America and the Caribbean 
from Korean Experiences in Productive Development Financing

The small and medium-sized enterprise financing system in Korea, which has as a standpoint the Industrial Bank of Korea, is a world-class example of a set of long-term policies and actions devoted to creating growth and development. 

Some of the experiences and lessons learned over time in the evolution of this system are used to derive recommendations for the Latin American and Caribbean region. 

Although current political and economic contexts are different among countries across the region, Korea's experiences are used to provide a set of recommendations for policymakers. 

Dominica Launches Post Tropical Storm Social Media Campaign

With the cruise season now open and the stay-over high season about to kick into high gear,Discover Dominica Authority launched a social media campaign to prove that the country is indeed open for business following the damage of Tropical Storm Erika in late August.

Immediately following the passage of the storm, the digital space was flooded with images of destruction. Unfortunately, these images lingered in the minds of many, especially potential visitors to the island, and led to cancellations across the board. The campaign aimed to highlight some previously devastated areas in their renewed state, showing the progress of reconstruction and transformation that has taken place.

The campaign took the form of a competition inviting Dominicans to obtain a photo taken within 48 hours of the passage of Erika, showing devastation. Their task was to revisit that exact area and take a photograph to show how the area had been transformed to or close to its original state. The contest ran for one week and the images have been posted on the official Discover Dominica Authority Facebook page with winners selected by a panel of judges with input based on likes and shares. Prizes will be awarded to the top three photos. View Photos 

St. Lucia NCPC Appoints Technical Coordinator

Mrs. Melissa Hippolyte-Descartes assumes the position of Technical Coordinator at the National Productivity and Competitiveness Council (NCPC) in December 2015. 

Prior to this appointment, Mrs. Descartes served as the Senior Economist attached to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance from October 2012. She was also previously employed as an Economist with the Research and Policy Unit (2010-2012) and as the Project and Finance Officer at the Caribbean Association of Banks from 2008. Mrs. Descartes brings to the position excellent proficiency and experience in policy research, data analysis and project development and management. 

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