BIDC Introduces New CEO - Mark Hill

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Friday, April 23, 2021

The Board, management and staff of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) are pleased to announce the appointment and arrival of Mr. Mark Hill as Chief Executive Officer, effective April 5, 2021.

Having worked previously as a Design Adviser at the BIDC, Hill went on to become the founder of two research and development companies in the clean technologies market, Innogen Technologies Inc. and Biogen Biotechnologies Inc. Hill is a former European Union Scholar, an MIT-trained Product and Service Innovation Specialist (utilizing design thinking methodologies) and a doctoral student, specializing in Governance and Public Policy, with a focus on Design & Economics for Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Hill is currently pursuing a research-based Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) / Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D) at The University of West Indies Cave Hill Campus, Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES).

Against the backdrop of a severely hampered tourism industry, owing to Covid-19, and volcanic ash-fall conditions driving further concerns, Hill met with staff to present his vision and approach, following a period of orientation at the Corporation. He introduced a laser-focused vision for BIDC tailored to building a new export economy that can drive growth and transformation.

Hill’s vision takes the Corporation back to its core focus with the prioritisation of CAP 340, the Act that established the Corporation and outlined its purpose. Hill noted that “BIDC is an export agency. The functions of the Corporation, as established by law, are export focused.” CAP 340 outlines a range of key functions, such as, “To advise on, promote and facilitate the development of export trade; to conduct and facilitate research into investment, industrial development and the export of products and services…; engage in the export of such products and services…”. Hill emphasized that the functions of the Corporation should be contextualised according to their value related to exports. “Everything we do should be geared towards and support exports for Barbados. Every entrepreneurial client of the Corporation, from the kitchen maker, industrial factory producer to the laptop creative must be thinking exports. Regardless of their size, every client can say “I export”. Export Barbados is who we are and what we do.”

Building on his background and experience in both the public and private sector, Hill embraces design as a key tool in his arsenal for transformation, with an understanding of design as strategy, well-beyond design as styling (making beautiful things) or process (steps to follow to achieve something) alone. Similar design-centric strategic approaches are proven in businesses across the globe where, according to worldwide management consulting company, McKinsey & Company, “…the best design performers increase their revenues and shareholder returns at nearly twice the rate of their industry counterparts.”[i]

Hill’s design-led approach translates into a 3-part model for driving exports, shown below.

BIDC’s Export Barbados base model for export business development

The chosen sustainable, responsible and impactful investment (SRI) design-led approach to export development, embraces the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a bedrock for developing Barbadian businesses. With these as a foundation, Hill aims to position Barbados as a unique SRI jurisdiction, leading in 6 key areas: Basic Needs, Wellbeing, Decent Work, Resource Security, Healthy Ecosystems and Climate Stability.

To achieve these, Hill intends to focus on three economies over 400 days, following a period of planning and transition. The three focus economies for full national employment are as follows: Oceans Economy, Bioeconomy, and Design Economy.

Proposed focus economies for export business development

Hill summarised Barbados’ current challenges and the corporate team’s plans to help Barbados turn its challenges into opportunities and its opportunities into equity. He commented that, “The days of business as usual are over. We’re doing business unusual.”