The Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB) through the Ministry of Planning and Development, together with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) hosted an information event on Wednesday November 8th 2017 themed “Promoting Innovation for Diversification: Moving Forward” at the Trinidad Hilton and Conference Centre. It linked the conversation on the Consultancy on Technological Foresight which was facilitated by the IDB and concluded in August 2017, as well as the Innovation Conference hosted at the UWI St. Augustine in June 2017.
The Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis Minister of Planning and Development in her speech confronted the challenging position which faces Trinidad and Tobago, that innovation has not been a key facet of many business structures and alternative streams of revenue is necessary and cannot be ignored. To this end Minister Robinson-Regis connected government initiatives aimed at diversification of the economy, and one of the critical pillars on which that diversification is built, is the adoption of a national innovation policy. The revised National Innovation Policy provides the overarching policy framework for the national innovation system of Trinidad and Tobago, and is therefore crucial for the long term economic and social transformation of the country.
Dr. Terrence Farrell Chairman of the Economic Development Board in his presentation to stakeholders identified critical areas to consider for success and further thought moving forward, some key mentions taken into account covers:
- How we engage our diaspora, noting that Trinidad and Tobago is not bounded in this twin island.
- Capacity building in diplomacy, underpinning the importance of diplomacy in building business.
- Infrastructure to support diversification and institutional reform among other key points to facilitate our present and future endeavors to achieve our national objectives.
In his closing remarks he emphasized the urgency of having a plan of action.The session concluded with a call to action of participants present to indicate support on medium term initiatives including: Incentive Package Design; Diaspora Database; Start-up Database; Innovation Funding; Innovation Funding; Support for tech start-ups; Open Data Initiative; Technology Extension Services; and Educational Initiatives. In the final vote tally each initiative attracted at least twenty (20) supporters of the one hundred (100) plus participants.