KINGSTON, Nov. 25 (JIS):
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Caribbean region are to benefit from a technical cooperation project that will enable them to generate wealth from their intellectual entrepreneurial assets (IEA).
Dubbed Regional Entrepreneurial Asset and Commercialization Hub (REACH), the project will provide capacity building, training and mentorship in technology commercialisation; creative industries intellectual asset management; and product branding value capturing.
Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Reginald Budhan, said the project will provide an enabling environment to support the commercialisation and monetisation of the creative industries and intellectual assets in Jamaica and the wider region.
He said it will bring well-needed support to entrepreneurs and innovators, and help to boost Intellectual Property (IP) investments in the region.
He was speaking at the official launch of REACH at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in New Kingston on November 18.
Mr. Budhan said the initiative provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs to unite and take full advantage of the untapped intellectual property resources throughout the region.
He noted that Jamaica has vast creative capacity that remains largely underutilised. He mentioned that in 2004, the International Intellectual Property Institute reported that from the US$1 billion generated from reggae, including retail sales, copyrighted music and retail merchandising, Jamaica only earned US$1.4 million.
“This large gap indicates that there is strong potential for Caribbean countries to capture more of the total market value,” he said.
Mr. Budhan said there is huge demand for monetising innovations through improved management of IEAs.
He noted that in 2010, the Bank of Jamaica reported that Jamaica earned US$23.8 million from cultural services, which is more than the earnings from services in finance, business, insurance and construction combined.
He said the Bank noted that reggae icons like Sean Paul and Shaggy earn more annually than Jamaica’s banana industry.
Mr. Budhan said in spite of these impressive results, Jamaica and the Caribbean remain significantly challenged in increasing the contribution of the cultural industries to sustainable development due to a myriad of reasons.
These include the lack of strategic and focused management, limited financial resources, insufficient market intelligence and branding, poor linkages with the local tourism industry, and weak data collection.
A business lab component of REACH is scheduled to begin in February 2017 and will equip delegates to run successful businesses and to transform their ideas into viable enterprises.
REACH is aimed at building the commercialisation capabilities of competitively selected Caribbean entrepreneurs and firms.
The project is being executed by the University of the West Indies in partnership with the Inter-American Development’s Bank (IDB); the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT) in collaboration with Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO).
Persons may visit the http://www.reachcompetition.net/index.php for additional information.
CONTACT: CHRIS PATTERSON