Alan Emtage, Chief Technical Officer, Mediapolis and the Barbadian who developed the first search engine believes there are challenges to overcome in Barbados to open more doors for entrepreneurs.
He delivered the feature address at the announcement of the 33 new contestant’s for the third Season of ‘Bank on Me’ event, which was held at the Cave Hill School of Business.
One of the hindrances to the development of business in Barbados is the inefficient legal system, he said. “We have been chastised on numerous occasions by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in criminal and civil areas for inefficiencies, this is something that Barbados must address. We cannot exist in a modern economy and have cases take 27 years to be resolved... Something needs to be done about this because business requires patents to be adjudicated, companies to be created, you cannot do that when the legal system runs like molasses. There are plenty of hardworking persons in the legal system, the laws themselves need to be updated. Do you believe that magistrates in Barbados still have to report their cases in long hand, which is absurd in 2016?”
Another challenge, he highlighted, “is intolerance of others, it can take many forms, such as misogyny, race, religion etc”.
Emtage further pointed out that, “Barbados competes on a global stage, we have advantages of political stability … there were times in the past Barbados stood above everyone else in terms of safety and security, but there are other places now persons are opting to go, we can’t rest on our laurels. Barbados traditionally was an incredibly tolerant society but it is unfortunate in today’s society when the loudest voices of intolerance take centre stage and it is time for us to say, no you don’t represent us.”
In terms of corruption, international indices rates Barbados low for corruption. “However, we do hear persistent rumours about corruption in both public and private sector, but we do not accept that as a way of doing business. Corruption is corrosive to a society …when I was growing up Barbados had a reputation of having certain morals and we should be proud of the reputation of good governance etc. and work not to become corrupt,” he stated.
Furthermore, he highlighted to entrepreneurs that we are living in an exciting time for innovation. “It is possible that you may be an innovator, but not an entrepreneur, but there is nothing wrong with that. Yet, recognise and build on this, programmes such as Bank on Me presents an excellent opportunity to get from creativity to business.”
Emtage advised, “Do what makes you feel happy and have your own measure of success, not what is culturally determined as success.” (NB)