MONTEGO BAY — Assistant Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS), Ambassador Albert Ramdin, is encouraging businesses in the Caribbean, Central and South America to innovate and diversify their operations, and find new ways to grow, instead of “fold and break,” in the face of the global downturn.
He said that top economists in America have agreed with their counterparts around the world, that innovation is the only way to fuel economic growth and produce both high paying jobs and more profits for businesses.
Mr. Ramdin was addressing the official opening of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s three-day trade exposition at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St. James, on October 14. The event is being held under the theme: ‘Unleashing Innovations’.
“Effective business innovation means that we penetrate new and the right markets with a product of service that is in demand and aim at increasing market share. To make this happen, we need to align the operational capabilities with a business model that maximises profit. Education and innovation must become fundamental principles in our collective effort to facilitate economic growth,” Ambassador Ramdin argued.
He emphasised that the time has come for countries, governments and business associations to be bold enough to allocate the necessary financial and human resources to education, research and development.
“Without investment in our creative potential, our countries will remain stagnant and continue to lag behind other regions in the world in terms of productivity and competitiveness. The role of government is to create an enabling environment, through the facilitation of legislation and policies which encourage innovation and investment. The private sector, on the other hand, must continue to be proactive by seeking new avenues for economic growth,” the Assistant Secretary General emphasised.
Ambassador Ramdin said he has a lot faith in such events as the exposition, because he believes in people who go the extra mile to market themselves, showcase their products and services and network to find new opportunities.
“I commend the organisers and the sponsors of this event, for believing in the potential and being a part of the vision of many of these entrepreneurs,” he said.
Mr. Ramdin noted that the theme for the expo is timely, given the state of the global economy, the developments in North America and a global slowdown which has jeopardised millions of jobs around the world, resulting in rising debt in countless households.
“It hasn’t been an easy ride for any industry, much less the business community. Sales have slowed in almost every sector and profit margins have been almost flat. A few months ago, I met with some of the top Chief Executive Officers and business leaders from the Caribbean and Central America, to discuss a similar principle – how to form strategic partnerships, find new business opportunities, boost trade and expand markets in these difficult times. Indeed, discussions like these are taking place around the world, because in today’s environment, businesses must either innovate or face failure,” he said.
The exposition has provided learning opportunities for new and established businesses in consultation sessions facilitated by JAMPRO, and attracted some 80 exhibitors from a wide cross-section of industries, including manufacturing, services, technology, tourism, craft, agriculture, trade and investment showcasing their products to captive audiences.
By Glenis Rose, JIS Reporter