In 13 years from now, oil and natural gas will no longer fuel the economy in the way it is expected says Navin Seeterram, manager of the Trade and Business Development Unit of the TT Chamber.
However, he said, technological innovations applied outside of the oil and natural gas sector can bring cost reductions and growth underpinnings the economy requires. He made these points on Thursday while addressing a group of stakeholders from the business community at a panel discussion on leveraging technology in a changing landscape, at the Chamber Building in Westmoorings.
“But there’s a small catch. These applied efforts require not just the right gateways, but the right companies with the right risk appetite to find those avenues.” Seeterram said Cable and Wireless Business, Hub Box, D’Market Movers, a company involved the online food and shopping business, Term Finance - a company which offers an online loan facility and Wi-Pay - offering an online payment platform, have come through the other side of these gateways in the Caribbean market space via foresight in identifying and taking action on a necessary disruption.
He said disruptions are opportunities, only if pursued proactively, and in the developing and changing world of technology, the burning question may very well now be, “How does my business gain the capacity to take the necessary action?”
“ Would you rather endure the pain and challenge of playing catch up? Or, would you rather leverage disruption from early in the game? I am quite sure you have the correct answer to that question.”
Seeterram said they have recognised that disruptions are opportunities as opposed to being someone else’s problem that will soon become theirs in the competitive landscape.
He said due to initiatives like theirs, other leaders in their respective sectors in TT and the Caribbean are now being pressed by the greater sense of urgency to transform. “Innovations such as cloud and open source technology have allowed these start-ups to scale rapidly with limited capital investment. Many of these start-ups do not need to bear the infrastructural costs many companies would have needed before...and now they are competing with them.”
In an economy such as TT’s, which is in the throes of change, Seeterram said the winners and losers of today may not be the same as tomorrow.
He said the difference between the two is separated by perseverance, continuous learning and the humility to fail forward, “because that’s the stuff, the winners of tomorrow are made of.”
Seeterram said the theme of the panel discussion represents the TT Chamber’s effort in hosting transformative sessions in support of progressive, cutting-edge business initiatives to encourage the private sector to help build a diversified economy.