Government will be establishing an Innovative Business Lab in the British Virgin Islands next year.
This was revealed at an Innovation Week (iWeek) media conference on October 25 by Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development Sharie de Castro.
While no specific date or location was disclosed for the business lab, the Junior Minister said the initiative is government’s tangible way of supporting current and future businesses.
“For the first time, businesses will have a home to call their own outside the walls which they pay to house their operations. Upon the opening of the lab, on a weekly and monthly basis, they will be opportunities for collaboration, interaction and partnership, fostered in an environment designed for entrepreneurs to win,” de Castro stated.
Idea of lab around since 2016
The junior minister also said the ideas supporting the development of the lab has been in existence since 2016 under the previous NDP administration.
“The concept of the lab has been in existence since then. We do have an innovation strategy which was amazing to see when we got in. A lot of the groundwork has been done in terms of the planning and the paperwork. What we must do now is move it forward and make it actionable.”
Innovation initiatives about empowerment
Meanwhile, Acting Premier Kye Rymer said that the initiative along with iWeek — which is scheduled to host a list of activities from October 28 to 31 — is all about empowering residents.
“As leaders of this territory, it is our intentions to teach people to become self-sufficient through innovative training programmes that will produce an innovative group of entrepreneurs that will intern create an innovative driven Virgin Islands economy,” the Acting Premier stated.
He further said businesses have a role to play in diversifying the BVI’s economy as government continues to build in the era of economic substance.
“The next great idea can come from anywhere or anyone, so it, therefore, means that any investment in small businesses is an investment in the potential sustainability in the Virgin Islands,” Rymer said.
List of activities
The Acting Premier also appealed to all interested persons to come out and take part in the week of activities that will aid and advance their businesses to a global level.
The week of activities will begin on Monday, October 28 with a message from the Junior Trade Minister.
Tuesday, October 29 will be the ‘Come Innovate Business Forum’ at Maria’s by the Sea from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.
A ‘Tech Talk’ session will take place on Wednesday, October 30 at Maria’s by the Sea hotel. That session will run from 10 am to 3 pm.
The final day — Thursday, October 31 — will see invited schools from across the territory participating in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) introduction experience and a logo design presentation competition. This event will also be at Maria’s by the Sea starting at 5 pm.
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