On August 17, 2020, the BIDC introduced Create, a special product development initiative under its Special Technical Assistance Programme (STAP) to provide funding and other support for qualifying businesses to quickly create, develop and bring new products and services to market.
BIDC’s Export and Business Development Manager - Products, Paula Bourne, discussed the timeliness of the initiative, noting that, “We have seen companies seek to refresh their products or completely retool their operations as a response mechanism to the COVID 19 pandemic and its wellness and economic impacts. In this intensely competitive global environment, a culture of product development would enable businesses to become more competitive, have greater responsiveness to consumer and market changes and become more resilient in the process.”
The BIDC has always included product development as a pillar of its Special Technical Assistance Programme (STAP). The Create initiative seeks to encourage companies to embrace research and development as a regular and consistent component of their business model. Knowledge resources will be available on the Corporation’s website at www.bidc.org/create to support private sector product development efforts. BIDC’s staff, along with a pool of product development specialists will work with qualifying companies to provide additional resources in the form of financial and technical assistance through the STAP.
The initiative is focused on identifying new market opportunities which can be capitalized on through the development of new products and services, product/service extensions and modifications.
Create is expected to offer the following benefits to Barbadian businesses, consumers and the nation:
- Quicken the normal pace of product development in Barbados by creating a ‘safe space’ that reduces the associated cost and risk for the private sector
- Educate entrepreneurs about the value of product development
- Improve awareness and interest in product development and innovation within local businesses
- Build internal capabilities within participating local businesses to continue product development efforts beyond the initiative
- Potentially increase earnings and improve brand equity for local businesses with new and innovative products and services
- Improve product/service offerings for consumers
- Support the development of new, market-driven products and services that can significantly broaden Barbados’ export base within the next 5 years, and increase opportunities for the saving and earning of foreign exchange.
Manager of Research, Beverley Alleyne highlighted the impetus for Create, noting that “A statistical analysis of BIDC’s Certified Exports suggests that product development in Barbados has been stagnant-to-slow for the better part of the last decade. Barbados’ export performance reveals a narrow export base, with the top 40 exporters accounting for over 80% on average of total certified exports for the period 2010-2019. New exports have been intermittent and unsustained.” CEO of the BIDC, Sonja Trotman, conveyed the purpose of the special initiative, stating that, “It is time for a dynamic and new approach to product development with a view to boosting economic activity, expanding the production base and fostering greater capacity to earn and save foreign exchange.”
To learn more about the Create initiative under the BIDC’s Special Technical Assistance Program, please visit www.bidc.org or follow the Corporation on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram social media at BIDC Barbados.