WITH TT underperforming in the Global Innovation Index, the National Export Facilitation Organization (exporTT) is on a drive to enhance and foster a spirit of innovation amongst businesses in TT.
Chairman of exporTT Ashmeer Mohammed in his welcome address to participants at the organisation’s Innovation to Export seminar on Wednesday, urged all sectors to recognise the importance of working together to create an atmosphere open to innovation. Speaking on the importance of innovation at the seminar held at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business in Champs Fleurs, Mohammed said, “Adaptation and innovation is important for firms to thrive and strive.” He highlighted the unique challenges that face businesses in the modern world.
Senior specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Vashtie Dookiesingh also echoed similar sentiments as she warned that the development of innovation in local businesses will be crucial to their survival in an increasingly technologised and globalised world.
She also encouraged local businesses to invest more in developing more innovation, as current trends show local investment rates are lower than those of their Caribbean counterparts.
Notwithstanding TT’s global underperformance in innovation, Dookiesingh challenged the notion that local businesses are not innovative. She attributed the general underperformance to factors which she says create an atmosphere not conducive to growth and innovation. These factors include crime, traffic and foreign-exchange issues.
Looking forward, exporTT hopes the drive to improve innovation in TT is a multistakeholder effort which see all sectors supporting efforts for innovation.
One such effort will be an upcoming collaboration between the IDB and the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI). Dubbed Shaping the Future of Innovation, the project will see the creation of an innovation fund to help fuel initiatives aimed at innovating businesses.
In addition, the project would seek to connect local graduates to industries to help drive innovation. While acknowledging that every effort counts, presenters at the seminar reiterated that the private sector cannot function on its own in transforming TT’s industries for a more innovative future of business. It was a general consensus that government support is needed and that while the support exists, there is still progress to be made.