The advancements achieved by Export Barbados (BIDC) and its employees in recent years were celebrated under the theme ‘Explore’ at its recently held Long Service and Spotlight Awards at the Sandals Royal Barbados.
In his address, Minister of Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology Davidson Ishmael commended the Corporation for its export-oriented focus, indicating that “export earnings are the lifeblood of our economy”. The Minister also pledged his ministry’s support to improve the ease of doing business, noting that it understands that innovation, clean technology adoption, sustainability, and circularity are paramount in Barbados’ business environment.
Deputy Chief Executive Officer (DCEO) Andrea Burgess, delivering remarks on behalf of CEO Mark Hill, highlighted some of the goals met and still being pursued by the Corporation, as it works toward the goal of earning US $1 billion in exports by 2030. DCEO Burgess said these achievements include the International Food Science Centre, which has been positively impacting the local manufacturing sector since starting operations in November 2022, and the development of a life sciences report, helping guide the build-out of that sector.
“There has been tremendous progress made outside of the life sciences sector as well. Evidence of this may be seen in other projects the Corporation has worked on. These include the Mechanics Bay which will allow for international quality mechanical work to be delivered to national consumers. Other major projects which are being developed by the Corporation include the Sea Moss Pilot project, which looks into the farming of sea moss locally to properly develop the sector for the generation of economic growth. We are also in the process of incorporating new AI-based technology into our business model to allow for higher levels of productivity and efficiency,” Burgess stated.
Meanwhile, Board Director Antoine Williams, representing Chairman Adrian Padmore, noted that strong relationships with key stakeholders are necessary for the Corporation to execute its mandate successfully.
“Partners such as the Inter-American Development Bank have helped us to realize new initiatives such as the Oceans’ Innovation Challenge. Moreover, engagements with Cuba have culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on biotechnology with BioCubaFarma, a group of companies in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. These partnerships are critical not only to advancing the Corporation, but also to accessing resources which were not previously available to us. Thus, I urge the Corporation to continue fostering and building on our current partnerships while seeking new collaborations.”
Williams also offered words of encouragement to staff, urging them to strive for excellence and to willingly embrace opportunities when they arise.
“We must continue to take risks, explore new markets, technologies and ideas in order to continuously evolve and meet the growing needs of our exporters. At Export Barbados, we not only want to create value, we want to create value for life. This means that whatever we do must cause minimal harm to our environment, our people and our society. I urge you as you further conceive and build out solutions, to let this be a primary tenet in the design of your strategies.” Director Williams said.
The Corporation recognized numerous employees’ long service and commitment during the ceremony. Staff serving 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 45 years at the Corporation received awards. Other award categories included the Department Award, Humanitarian Award, Spirit of the Corporation, Service Excellence, Employee of the Year and Manager of the Year.