Premier's Office
Department of Trade, Investment, Promotion and Consumer Affairs
Release Date:
Friday, 25 October 2019 - 4:44pm

Statement by Junior Minister of Trade and Economic Development, Honourable Sharie de Castro
at the Innovation Week Press Conference

Friday, 25th October, 2019
10:00 a.m. | House of Assembly Conference Room

Good Morning to Acting Premier Honourable Rymer and to all of you present, including the media.

I am delighted that you have all decided to Come Innovate with us today as we take this time to speak to you the press and to the people about what will be known territory wide as Innovation Week or iWeek.

While ‘Come Innovate’ will be the name of one of the many events that will happen during iWeek, it is more so a call to action for everyone to come and join your government on this maiden voyage of modern innovation, which will seek to empower businesses and business owners - young and old - through new, exciting and innovative ways that encourage the success of each brand.

Innovation is the backbone of development in the modern world.
Innovation is about identifying problems in our daily lives and finding and commercializing solutions to those problems.

It is about being creative in looking at how to make good things better and to keep on a track of continuous improvement, efficiency and effectiveness.

The BVI can be the brain-bank of the world—churning out ideas on how to tackle issues that affect people, places and businesses. And, for those ideas, innovators can be handsomely rewarded.

It is our duty as a Government to do all that we can, to ensure that businesses, especially new businesses and small business feel supported and surrounded by tools that continue to make them feel like conducting business in the Virgin Islands is still worth it.

A week like Innovation Week is specifically designed to do just that and is also being used to herald the opening of the Innovative Business Lab which will be opened in 2020.

The establishment of this Lab, is our tangible way of supporting businesses and new start ups in a space designed to nurture their brand and assist their clients to be able to conduct business with them in a professional environment.

I am excited and you should be too.

For the first time, businesses will have a home to call their own, outside the walls which they pay to house their operations.

Upon the opening of the lab, on a weekly and monthly basis there will be opportunities for collaboration, interaction and partnership fostered in an environment designed for entrepreneurs to win. 2020, which echoes an old campaign slogan of mine, will truly be a year of great vision and innovation.

We are months away from that opening, so at this time I would like to personally invite the people to the events for Innovation Week:

On Monday 28th October, I will take the time to speak to the people directly about Innovation Week and more about the Innovative Business Lab through a virtual launch.  

On Tuesday 29th October from 5:30 p.m., I will personally invite several young business owners to a forum where we will listen and document their experiences in business and also garner their input on the Innovative Business Lab. Anyone interested is also invited to join us from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at Maria’s by the Sea’s Tortola Room.

On Wednesday 30th October from 10: 3:00 p.m., we will host Tech Talks. Similar to the popular TED Talk series, these sessions will be open to the public and will bring together the brightest BVI minds who are being innovative in business to share their best practices.

On Thursday 31st October, which is dubbed STEM Day, we will introduce our youngest minds to STEM: science, technology, engineering and math and its daily applications within our lives. Through the process of exploration and discovery, young people will learn by doing STEM activities while enjoying themselves in an environment that develops critical thinking and problem solving.

Later that evening, we will have an exhibition and competition for the logo for the Innovative Business Lab. This will begin at 5:30 p.m. and end by 7:30 p.m.

Graphic artists here are where you come in:

Design a logo with a dedicated font using our signature pantones for the Innovative Business Lab.

Logos must be easily transferable to collaterals like brochures, presentation slides and business cards and other promotional material like shirts, mugs and other paraphernalia.

You can win a Trophy and an iPad Pro

We have taken the time to plan each day to welcome a different segment of the population and my hope is that we are able to inspire people during this week and to excite our local business owners with offerings like the Innovative Business Lab.

As I began today by welcoming you all to ‘Come Innovate’, I close by again asking everyone to join us on this journey of innovation, as we change the Virgin Islands one idea at a time.