UNLEASHING GROWTH THROUGH INNOVATION IN BELIZE
Officials from the Economic Development Council and the Central Information Technology Office, private sector representatives, and the Inter-American Development Bank discussed supporting an innovation eco-system in Belize to promote dynamic growth in the country.
More than 30 representatives from key economic sectors participated in the workshop sponsored by the Economic Development Council and the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility.
During the event, participants learned about the potential impact of implementing an ecosystem to support entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as the roles that both the public and private sector should have in this initiative.
In his opening remarks, the Chief Technology Officer of the Government of Belize, Mr. Michael Singh emphasized the importance that innovation and the digital economy will have in generating employment for future generations. He emphasized government efforts to become more efficient by digitalizing key government services, and the beneficial impact that these faster and more agile processes would have on businesses and citizens.
IDB Representative in Belize Cassandra Rogers also highlighted the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship to stimulate productivity and growth. In her opening remarks, she emphasized, “Innovation and entrepreneurial activity become even more relevant in a context where digital technologies are disrupting all industries, even those traditional ones that were thought immune to technological disruption. The adoption of these technologies creates tremendous opportunities for new businesses and/or to dramatically increase productivity in established sectors.”
To better illustrate the potential impact of such eco-system, representatives from Ruta N were invited to the event to present the story on how Medellín has transformed itself from one of the most dangerous cities in the world during the 1990s, to being recognized in 2013 as the world’s most innovative city, and as a global hub of innovation in 2017. Ruta N representative, Alejandro Delgado reiterated: “Innovation is like a virus once it is incubated, it will spread rapidly.”
Finally, Compete Caribbean, Executive Director commented about the initiative, “It is proven that innovation creates substantial results in revenue, export and employment. Having proven that innovative activities are possible in the region, we need to focus on stimulating and supporting hubs and eco-systems to facilitate this process.”
The Economic Development Council (EDC) is a public-private advisory body launched by the Rt. Hon. Dean Oliver Barrow in 2011 with the objective of strengthening the collaboration between public and private sectors through meaningful dialogue that leads to positive outcomes facilitating economic development. The EDC also advises on and helps develop reforms that improve doing business, that enhances public sector processes and that enhances confidence of doing business in Belize. The EDC is comprised of 10 members, including 5 senior managers from the public sector and 5 representatives from the private sector. The EDC is co-chaired by a representative from the private sector and a counterpart from the public sector.
About Compete Caribbean
Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility (CCPF) is an innovation and partnership facility that delivers innovative and practical solutions that stimulate economic growth, increase productivity and foster innovation and competitiveness in 13 countries across the Caribbean region. CCPF is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (UKAid), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Government of Canada.
About Ruta N
Ruta N is the innovation agency of Medellín, a city of 3.6 million people in Colombia which was once known as the global capital of narco-trafficking. Today Medellín is experiencing a boom in the fashion and other industries – including medical devices, and global process outsourcing – it is widely recognized as an entrepreneurial city, and it contributes to more than 8% of Colombia’s GDP
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The Innovation Ecosystem