Invest Barbados has launched the Barbados iGuide website, an online guide for potential and existing investors doing business in Barbados. This platform was designed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and facilitated in collaboration with Caribbean Export and the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA). The launch was held February 14, 2020, at the Invest Barbados headquarters at Trident Financial Centre in Hastings, where several stakeholders in the international business sector, members of the diplomatic corps, staff of the UNCTAD VX Secretariat, Caribbean Export and Invest Barbados were in attendance.
The Barbados iGuide website provides both local and foreign investors with up-to-date and key information required to make certain investment decisions including steps to setting up a business, opportunities for investment, labour and other business costs and legal requirements, among others. The site features an easily navigable platform that is user friendly.
Resident Coordinator (ad interim) of the United Nations, Cleveland Thomas, hailed the three months of intensive work by Invest Barbados in preparation for the launch. He noted that the site was “very timely and strategic”, making reference to the upcoming 15th UNCTAD quadrennial meeting that will be held in Barbados during October 2020. He also reiterated the time was right to promote opportunities that Barbados had to offer.
Chief Executive Officer of Invest Barbados, Kaye-Anne Brathwaite expressed her gratitude to UNCTAD for providing the resources to develop the website as well as Caribbean Export and CAIPA for their support and guidance. She also acknowleged the public and private partners who willingly assisted the team with the necessary content for the site.
“We are confident that the launch of the Barbaods iGuide site will augment the country’s efforts of making it easier for investors to do business in and with Barbados. We know that the iGuide represents best practice in the provision of information to investors and Invest Barbados is especially pleased with this project and the partnership. We anticipate that the iGuide will be another tool that will help us to attract more foreign investment in line with our development needs as the website will widen our reach, and put Barbados in front of those global investors and business advisors, who would consult UNCTAD’s portal, while shortlisting a potential location.”
Senior Advisor – Investment Promotion with Caribbean Export Suzette Hudson, explained that the development of the iGuide was an effort to improve the region’s investment facilitation.
“Theoretical and empirical studies have shown that there are information barriers/asymmetries that constitute a significant obstacle to capital flows across international borders. Investors are reticent to invest without adequate information.”
Hudson therefore noted that with funding from UNCTAD, CAIPA’s projections entailed launching several iGuide portals across the Caribbean by 2020, five of which have already been launched in Antigua & Barbuda, Curacao, Jamaica St. Vincent & the Grenadines, St. Lucia, and now Barbados. The other three will feature St. Kitts and Nevis and Turks & Caicos, both of whom are still in the preliminary stages, with Trinidad & Tobago to follow.
Other speakers at the launch included Manager – Competitiveness and Export Promotion, Caribbean Export Dr. Damie Sinanan and Economic Affairs Officer at UNCTAD, Ian Richards.
Consultant Jannette Babb, who spearheaded the compilation of content for the website, gave a comprehensive overview of the various aspects of the site, which includes areas such as labour, production factors, land, taxes investor rights and growth sectors, among others.
Barbados’ iGuide website serves as an additional platform, along with Invest Barbados’ current website www.investbarbados.org to assist investors and other interested business executives in obtaining quick and timely information on Barbados’ business and investment environment.
Approximately 30 countries have launched iGuide websites thus far.