Entrepreneurship in Barbados
Background & History
Barbados is an island country in the Caribbean region of North America. It has a land area of 439 square kilometers and a population of approximately 290000, making it a densely populated state. Europeans first arrived in Barbados at some point in the 15th or 16th century. The English made their first settlement on the island in 1627. It remained under the British colonial rule for a very long time, gaining full independence on 30 November 1966, remaining with in the British Commonwealth with the Queen as its Monarch. The Government announced in September 2020, its plan to exit the Monarchy and become a Republic on 20 November 2021.
Barbados is the 53rd richest country in the world in terms of GDP and according to the World Bank it is the 66th high income economy in the world. Barbados has one of the world’s biggest sugar industries. The introduction of sugarcane from Dutch Brazil in 1640 completely transformed the society, the economy and the physical landscape. The plantations required investment that came from the Europeans and heavy labour came from the enslaved Africans. However, since the late 1970’s and early 1980’s there has been diversification towards manufacturing, tourism and offshore finance. Barbados ranks 128 amongst 190 economies in terms of ease of doing business.
Entrepreneurship and Startups
Being a small island nation, businesses are catering to the small domestic market, to the tourists visiting the island or building and maintaining trade relations with the world economies. Being known for offshore financing, has further expanded the industry into Fintech with platforms launched to cater to the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Also the country is becoming a favoured destination for setting up business due to low taxes policies by the government, that helps attract foreign investment and capital.
The common challenges young and/or aspiring entrepreneurs need to overcome are of lack of family support for young entrepreneurs, lack of funding and limited or no credit history makes it more difficult to access funding. The government is actively engaged in developing entrepreneurship amongst the youth, by providing financial assistance via Trust Loans and by way of financial rewards to notable categories. Using the established businesses or industries to diversify by supporting young and/or aspiring entrepreneurs.