In­no­va­tion crit­i­cal to boost econ­omy

Jamaica Gleaner - - SOMETHING EXTRA -

THE MONA School of Busi­ness and Management con­fer­ence un­der the theme, ‘Con­nect­ing the Dots: En­ter­prise, En­trepreneur­ship and Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment’, con­cluded last Fri­day.

Pub­lic- and pri­vate-sec­tors lead­ers as well as mem­bers of academia met to dis­cuss how busi­ness can fuel devel­op­ment, en­trepreneur­ship and the im­por­tance of in­no­va­tion and small is­land states in­vest­ing in dis­as­ter pre­pared­ness.

Dr John Sviokla, prin­ci­pal and US ad­vi­sory in­no­va­tion leader at Price­wa­ter­house­Coop­ers, fo­cus­ing on un­lock­ing cre­ativ­ity and build­ing hu­man cap­i­tal, noted that these would al­low for growth in cap­i­tal over time.

Not­with­stand­ing that, there was still space for in­no­va­tion even with lim­ited re­sources, he said while ad­dress­ing the con­fer­ence which started on Wed­nes­day.

Dr Sviokla said that a busi­ness can only be suc­cess­ful when peo­ple are com­pe­tently skilled and, there­fore, this should be the first in­vest­ment to boost devel­op­ment through in­no­va­tion.

“You don’t have to in­vent a new in­dus­try to in­vent new growth. There is al­ways growth in a ma­ture mar­ket. You just need to do it right. Most of all think about hu­man be­ings and not just the poli­cies, while un­der­stand­ing how to get ac­cess to cap­i­tal,” he said.

Se­nior spe­cial­ist with the Mul­ti­lat­eral In­vest­ment Fund of the In­ter-Amer­i­can Devel­op­ment Bank (IDB), Wayne Beecher, echoed a sim­i­lar idea in his pre­sen­ta­tion, sug­gest­ing that more ef­fort should be made to cre­ate com­pa­nies that can pro­vide eco­nomic value to the mar­ket.

Neil McFar­lane, chief for the New York Li­ai­son Of­fice of the United Na­tions Of­fice for Dis­as­ter Risk Re­duc­tion, said Ja­maica, like other small is­land de­vel­op­ing states, are dis­pro­por­tion­ally

You don’t have to in­vent a new in­dus­try to in­vent new growth. There is al­ways growth in a ma­ture mar­ket. You just need to do it right.

af­fected by disas­ters and can lose as much as 20 times more of its cap­i­tal stock in a dis­as­ter com­pared to other re­gions of the world, with ad­verse im­pact on small busi­nesses in par­tic­u­lar.

CHANGE FU­TURE COURSE

“We need to un­der­stand this more and change the fu­ture course. Small is­land states can make in­vest­ments par­tic­u­larly in beach tourism, where there is high ex­po­sure to haz­ards such as trop­i­cal cy­clones, storm surges and tsunamis. In­fras­truc­ture may be ex­posed to sea level rise, coastal ero­sion,” he said.

McFar­lane added that busi­nesses need to part­ner with govern­ments in ad­dress­ing those is­sues as they af­fect in­vest­ments and na­tional bud­gets.

Paul B. Scott, pres­i­dent of the Pri­vate Sec­tor Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Ja­maica, who also spoke at the con­fer­ence, called for greater at­ten­tion to is­sues such as ac­cess to cap­i­tal, hu­man re­sources and other fac­tors af­fect­ing the abil­ity of busi­nesses in Ja­maica to thrive.

Dur­ing the three-day con­fer­ence, pre­sen­ta­tions were also made by the United States Em­bassy’s Daniel Walker.

The con­fer­ence was spon­sored by the IDB, Sco­tia In­sur­ance, The Gleaner Com­pany (Me­dia) Ltd and the Devel­op­ment Bank of Ja­maica.

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