Towards Exponential Growth in Jamaica


Dialogue on policies and instruments to unleash innovation

November 20th, 2018, 8:00 am – 5:30 pm, followed by cocktail

November 21st, 2018, 8:30 am – 11:30 am.

Marriott Hotel, Kingston

There is evidence that the Caribbean has a lower return on innovation as compared to other small economies, which indicates a potential absence of some mechanisms of support.

The need for an ecosystem to support innovation is even more pressing in a global context of rapid technological change that produces threats to established businesses, but it also creates massive opportunities to become more efficient and to produce new products and services. For the Caribbean, new technology is an opportunity to use the region’s recognized creativity to transcend the logistical hurdles that have traditionally affected its goods and services’ exports.

Jamaica is in a good position to take advantage of the ongoing 4th industrial revolution. It boasts five universities generating local talent in business and in tech, a relatively well-developed financial sector and domestic conglomerates cognizant of the need to explore new technology solutions, and desirous of investing in dynamic firms.  Missing in Jamaica, however, are key policies and instruments to support innovative businesses at all stages, particularly in the early stages, and especially in the high-tech sector, as well as institutions that effectively coordinate those actors that already exist in the ecosystem.

To address such gaps developed countries, and to a lesser extent, developing countries, have put in place institutions that offer support for innovation. Most Latin American countries have created innovation agencies working to produce tangible results evidenced in the creation of new businesses and new export sectors, with a corresponding impact on tax revenue and employment.

Given Jamaica’s potential to benefit from an ecosystem to support entrepreneurship and innovation, Compete Caribbean invited Ruta N representatives to Jamaica, to delve into the different kinds of support that a Jamaican eco-system would need to provide to promote and foster innovation.

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. 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 socially innovative city.

The example of the city of Medellín, Colombia, located in a small and similarly isolated geographical setting as most countries in the Caribbean, will illustrate what a dynamic innovation agency can do for economic growth.

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For a summary of the key takeaways click here.
To see the full presentations, click below.