Barbados: Strengthening entrepreneurship through policies and strategies
The Government of Barbados is currently working to stimulate and develop the country's cultural industries, with the view of making them one of the more important future growth sectors in Barbados. A National Task Force on Cultural Industries was notably set up and lead to the development of a national Cultural Industries Bill focused on creating financial incentives and measures to support these industries. However, the country recognises that in order for these measures to be effective, there is a need to engage with cultural businesses and entrepreneurs.
Aim of the mission
The mission will thus support the Government of Barbados in developing entrepreneurship strategies and policies in the field of cultural industries. These should support the establishment of a network of cultural business and entrepreneurs, as well as stimulate greater complementary of policy making within the Government.
This cooperative approach aims to reinforce dialogue amongst the different stakeholders involved with the aim of developing an enabling environment from which a greater number of diverse Barbadian cultural goods and services can reach the Caribbean and international markets. Mr Andrew Senior (UK), through his recognised expertise in the field of cultural industries, is assisting the Government in initiating durable and dynamic partnerships with established and emerging cultural entrepreneurs and businesses. With a focus on the stimulation of business development and growth, as well as on the promotion of private sector involvement, this mission notably aims to support business innovation, in particular regarding the use of ICTs, social media and new and innovative business models.
During his first visit in June and July 2012, Mr Senior participated in a series of meetings and consultations with the main stakeholders concerned. These notably included representatives from the ministries of Family, Culture, Sports & Youth, of Finance & Economic Affairs, of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade, and of Labour, as well as from different governmental agencies and departments. He also consulted a range of non-governmental stakeholders such as regional and international agencies, members of the Barbadian business community and creative entrepreneurs. This preliminary assessment notably focused on understanding the current political and strategic climate both at the national and regional levels.
These meetings were also essential in planning the second visit in September 2012, notably by identifying leading creative entrepreneurs who are successfully building scalable businesses. A series of consultations with these established Barbadian cultural entrepreneurs was carried out to build dialogue between these cultural professionals and the different governmental entities. The exchanges highlighted the particular needs and difficulties that exist within the sector with regard to entrepreneurship, notably with starting, developing and maintaining creative businesses, as well as helped identify strategies that successful entrepreneurs have employed to address these challenges.
The third visit in September and October focused its attention on the younger generation of cultural entrepreneurs and leaders, by carrying out a series of workshops and discussions with under 35-year-olds. These meetings notably focused on developing cultural networks and strategies to expand the reach of Barbadian cultural industries domestically and overseas, to develop their potential in different national, regional and international markets. The visit also studied the different funding opportunities for businesses, especially with regard to micro-financing schemes.
Based on this expansive analysis of the current trends, opportunities and limitations of cultural entrepreneurship in Barbados, Mr Senior developed a series of comprehensive policy and strategic recommendations. These focus on the next key steps to be taken in order to make cultural industries one of the main contributors to the Barbadian economy, including specific interventions to support and foster cultural entrepreneurship as well as awareness-building initiatives to improve understanding of the importance of this sector both from a social and economic perspective, with a view to stimulate investment in this sector.
In the continuity of the progresses made during the technical assistance mission towards developing entrepreneurship strategies and policies in the field of cultural industries, a mapping of the cultural industries sector was undertaken by the Government. It was announced on 15 October 2013 to the House of Assembly by Mr Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth. This mapping will determine the extent to which the sector contributes to the Gross Domestic Product of the country and enable the Government, the private sector and local cultural practitioners to easily assess the input value of the cultural industries.