Invest Barbados in collaboration with Azurest Partners, continued its promotional outreach at a recently held webinar titled: ‘Barbados: Nearshoring Global Expansion Opportunities for Financial Services and Technology Firms’.
During the hour-long session, panelists who included Kaye-Anne Brathwaite, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Invest Barbados; Giles Carmichael, Partner, Chancery Chambers; Mark Dinkel, Chief Operating Officer, Fintainium and Jamiel Shiekh, Founder and CEO, Chainhaus, highlighted why Barbados was a good fit for establishing or expanding busines operations in the jurisdiction.
Invest Barbados’ CEO pointed out that not only is Barbados “an enviable place to work, live and raise families”, it is also a country with a warm and welcoming climate that extended itself to investment opportunities. This, according to her, is what investors who now call Barbados home, have to say about their decision to set up business here.
She noted that the advantages of nearshoring in Barbados included “increased efficiency, potential savings and heightened productivity”, all of which gave firms a global competitive advantage.
Brathwaite reiterated that financial services were among Barbados’ more traditional sectors and that the country was “a leader in the application of blockchain technology” and was embraced as being a “vibrant FinTech and Blockchain based centre.”
Speaking from his own experience, Dinkel an executive of a US based accounting software company, mentioned that “the appeal of Barbados is pretty strong.” He confirmed that in Barbados there was no language barrier, the time zone difference was simpler to manage and there was a deep talent pool from which to draw on.
Shiekh, who leads an advisory and training company that specialises in blockchain strategies and technologies in New York City, said he found generally in the Caribbean there was an attitude of “getting things done” and commitment to high quality delivery, as well as fluid communication and a sense of strong integrity. He explained that his company utilised a number of “gig” workers (independent contractors) who could work from anywhere to get the job done.
Citing the advantages of “gig” work to Barbados, Carmichael indicated that Barbados saw an influx of “gig economy” workers relocating to the jurisdiction to work remotely under the Barbados Welcome Stamp programme, where not only were those persons able to continue their work but also enjoy a high quality of life while in Barbados.
The Partner of Chancery Chambers added, “Barbados has had a long history in the area of financial services. We have a very strong banking sector… a lot of persons with banking experience. If you are looking at nearshoring or offshoring, there is a skilled labour force as well… We have a long history in the insurance sector.” He also mentioned that Barbados was the known jurisdiction for captive insurance and had several professionals with experience in managing claims for business entities. Another career within Barbados’ financial services sector where experience was plentiful was investment advisors.
Sheikh agreed that “Barbados has a diversity of skills.” He encouraged investors to visit upwork.com, the world’s work marketplace, and search for Barbados under the talent section to view the range of skills, which were rated highly.
Carmichael attributed this wealth of talent to Barbados’ “top quality” University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, which offered degrees in the financial services and technology sectors including Computer Science, Physics, Mathematics and Electronics, among others.
According to Dinkel, apart from Barbados having an attractive value proposition, other critical success factors investors should consider when setting up or expanding their business operations nearshore, include investors building long-term relationships with their service providers and spending more time with them, as well as for the service providers to have a set of core processes such as frequent conversations with their clients and a root-cause analysis methodology for solving problems.