Transformative technologies are appearing in the world at lightning speed, ushering in the evolution businesses desperately need to compete in our ever changing world. The only thing constant in today’s society is change, so companies need to adapt to modern interactions with their customer base and analyze ever increasing amounts of data to gain business advantages.
Studies show worldwide spending on technology and services that enable digital transformation is predicted to hit $2.3 trillion USD by 2023. Technology is no longer a choice, it’s a mandatory business strategy that must be intertwined with other fresh initiatives to spur growth.
Nowhere in the world are the stakes higher for digital transformation than the Caribbean. We are at the cusp of a potential historical break-through. The nations who hop on the technology train will prosper, those who are not ready to take the risk will be left in the dust.
The private sector, government and philanthropists alike must all unite to envision a better tomorrow for our people. Everyone has a role to play.Failure to put our citizens at the center of social and economic change can lead to social unrest. The pace and intensity of change means it is vital that people are at the center of our digital future – not the technology. This requires equipping our people to benefit from opportunities, while also protecting them from the potential harms of the digital age. Governments must take responsibility to ensure vocational education is truly useful for workers and for businesses in the digital age. The private sector needs to be involved in keeping the curriculum current as well.
Government is crucial in steering countries towards inclusive digital transformation, they have the central responsibility for delivering effective change.
Preparing people for the digital age by teaching the right skills to meet the demands of a continually evolving digital economy is pivotal to our overall success. Creating more IT, computer science and data analytics courses both at the university and community college must be top priority. Use policy and regulatory levers to make internet access more affordable for the poor, for example by reviewing spectrum broadcast licensing.
Brainstorm with like-minded countries to ensure that technology governance is designed to meet the needs of developing countries, rather than simply adopting regulations made by more affluent nations. Use digital technologies to improve the quality, cost-efficiency and reach of public services for a healthier and better-educated population.
I have to applaud the current administration for the introduction of the new TAMIS software where every Bajan can go and submit their taxes online without any prior knowledge of the tax return process, this is leaps and bounds ahead of America as the majority of the country still do their taxes on paper and sends it in via mail. Other areas we could take online are drivers’ licenses, police clearance certificates, company name searches and passport applications just to name a few. Why are our citizens wasting countless hours in lines for these services instead of working and hustling to drive our GDP up?
The private sector has much more to gain from aiding in digital transformation than just corporate social responsibility. They are vital for the creation of jobs and digital products. Countries cannot truly embrace digital transformation without leadership from the private sector. They stand to gain from better livelihoods, a wealthier customer base, and a more skilled labour force.
Contributing to skills upgrades across the economy by providing on-the-job technical training and apprenticeship programs, and supporting work-readiness to foster the development of transferable soft skills.
Given the resource constraints in many developing countries, donors and philanthropists can play an important role in providing support, funding, and bridge financing to achieve an inclusive digital transformation. Donors should be clear-sighted and strategic, investing in well articulated visions rather than eager entrepreneurs just trying to make a quick buck.
Work with the government to fund risky but potentially ground-breaking digital products for the most marginalised people. Invest in companies whose mission is to completely revamp the Caribbean digital landscape. For example, in 2009 the American government lent Tesla $465 million USD to develop the model S vehicle. With the help of this loan, Elon Musk and his team were able to create the first of its kind 100% electric self-driving vehicle, something that we may have only dreamed of without such a sizable investment. This invention will help curb climate change and enable people to be productive members of society by continuing to work throughout their commute.
Huge thanks and praise must go out to our own Rihanna and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for the recent donation of 4,000 tablets for Barbados’ school children.
E-Commerce is defined as the buying and selling of goods/services using the internet, and the transfer of money and data to execute these transactions.
The Caribbean E-Commerce market is valued at US$5 billion annually and is growing at 25% per annum.
Running a brick and mortar retail store has always been challenging, it comes with high rents and full-time wages for staff that spend half their time browsing through Instagram.
Ecommerce on the other hand, is much cheaper to maintain. Remote staff can be employed to answer customer questions and queries via email and social media at a fraction of the cost of an in-store salesperson. Forget greedy landlords as many businesses can easily be run from home or shared workspaces.
Physical store retailers are falling like swatted flies in the US and they’re not even facing the biggest hurdle Caribbean entrepreneurs face today; accepting online payments.
The best solution to date for online payments is Paypal, which is currently only accepted by 1 local bank. Other than that, they may have to attempt to open a bank account in the US which would involve registering a business there and other overwhelming tasks.
To some extent, some Caribbean countries through their commercial banks already facilitate e-commerce. However, there are considerable barriers to entry, and typically only well-resourced, successful businesses are given the go ahead. Banks would be hesitant to give Lorna who sells fish in Oistins or Leroy hustling coconuts on the highway the green light to accept internet payments, but why?
The major difference we see between the US and the Caribbean is the speed at which money moves. Enabling every small budding entrepreneur to compete on the same level as the titans of industry is the only way forward in the post COVID world where the amount of money being printed and thrown into society perpetuates the issue of the rich getting richer and the poor poorer. It is mandatory that ecommerce be readily accessible to digital start-ups, for which online sales and transactions are crucial for those businesses getting off the ground. As a member of the private sector we have done our part to begin the process of revamping the Caribbean Ecommerce landscape.
BimShops is the Caribbean’s first, public e-commerce marketplace where businesses & individuals alike can quickly and easily create their own online store.
Available services include Digital Transformation Leadership, where we convert current business infrastructure to cutting-edge modern technology which leverages automation & cloud storage to increase efficiency and reduce overhead costs.
Product photography & promotion, in which our team devises the optimum means of promoting your product and subsequently commences a campaign to send your sales through the roof.
Our most popular feature, automated online store creation, facilitates existing businesses uploading products and prices independently without the hassle of developing a website, thus enabling entrepreneurs to commence selling immediately! Business owners registering soon will benefit from our current store launch free trial, allowing you to try before you buy.
Sign up with us today! You will be extremely sorry if you do not catch this wave.