6th Americas Competitivness Exchange is ON!


6th ACE

Further to the 5th Americas Competitiveness Exchange (ACE) held in Arizona and California in April, business leaders and policy-shapers worldwide are preparing for the 6th Americas Competitiveness Exchange (ACE) which is scheduled to take place from September 25th to October 1st, 2016 in Canada.

The week-long tour will include visits to Toronto-Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton and the Niagara Region. ACE participants will gain insight into the best-practices in key Canadian economic sectors such as advanced manufacturing, information and communications technology, clean tech, life sciences, agri-food, and fintech.

For more information on the 6th Americas Competitiveness Exchange (ACE) on Innovation and Entrepreneurship visit http://www.riacevents.org/ace/canada2016/, watch the video http://www.riacevents.org/ace/canada2016/video.html or click here to download the Overview of 6th ACE.

There will be an interactive webinar on June 28th, 2016 at 2:46pm where interested participants can gain more information on the program, application process, logistics, etc. Click here to join this webinar https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/633067957
RECAP OF 6th AMERICAS COMPETITIVENESS EXCHANGE on Innovation and Entrepreneurship

WHAT: The 6th ACE is a week-long tour for key business leaders and policy shapers from the Americas and beyond
WHEN: September 25 – October 1, 2016
WHERE: Province of Ontario, Canada (Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton, and the Niagara Region)
APPLY NOW! http://www.riacevents.org/ace/canada2016/




Final Update to PROCOM Challenge PIC

Following the launch of the PROCOM Challenge in mid-April, there has been a significant interest from a number of private sector organizations across commercial sectors. Businesses are jumping at this opportunity to improve on their productivity and competitiveness and by extension maximize on their operational efficiency.

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Saint Lucia are set to receive co-financing of up to XCD$100,000 for the implementation of projects which seek to enhance productivity and competitiveness through the PROCOM Challenge. In addition to the financial investment, winning businesses will receive the technical assistance to ensure that their ideas/solutions thrive and are impactful. The purpose of the Challenge is to encourage businesses in finding innovative solutions which will help improve the overall climate as it relates to productivity and competitiveness.

Executive Director of the NCPC, Mrs. Fiona Hinkson is very positive about the level of interest generated in the PROCOM Challenge and is looking forward to seeing the types of projects which will emerge. Speaking on the Challenge she said, “When the PROCOM Challenge was initially conceptualized, we had identified micro, small and medium enterprises as the sole recipients. We have received significant feedback post-launch and after internal discussion, we went back to the drawing board and further improved on the Challenge. We recognize that great ideas can come from anywhere and we want to ensure that we give equal opportunities to organizations that may have winning ideas but encounter greater challenges in accessing funding. We have therefore included a small-window for start-ups (i.e. businesses that are registered but have only been in existence for 1 to 3 years). We are hoping that the diversified solution stemming from the PROCOM Challenge will transform the business environment.”

The application process for the challenge is very simple. Businesses applying to the PROCOM Challenge are asked to follow these steps:

STEP 1: Before you start a PROCOM Challenge Application Form, carefully review the eligibility criteria and selection guidelines to ensure that you are the right fit for the Challenge. This information can be found in the PROCOM Challenge Brochure and PROCOM Challenge Manual which may be downloaded from the NCPC Website; www.stluciancpc.org or blog; www.ncpcstlucia.wordpress.com. You may also call 468-5576/468-5571 with any questions/queries on the Challenge.

STEP 2: If you think your idea/solution meets the necessary requirements, submit your application using the prescribed forms and supporting documents to the NCPC; stluciancpc@gmail.com no later than 11:59pm on Thursday, June 30th, 2016.

 STEP 3: Wait for confirmation from the NCPC. If your initial application has been shortlisted, you will be invited to a Business Plan Training Session where you will receive guidance on the preparation of your business plan for submission to the investment panel. (N.B Only successfully shortlisted applicants will be contacted by the NCPC)

STEP 4: Completed Business Plans must be submitted to the NCPC no later than four (4) weeks after the Business Plan Training Session.

STEP 5: The Business Plans will be reviewed by the Investment Panel and short-listed applicants will be required to pitch their idea to the panel for final judging. Once approval has been given, the funds will be disbursed after signing of the grant agreement and project work will commence.

The PROCOM Challenge comes to an end this week. Interested businesses are asked to apply by sending their application forms to the NCPC no later than June 30th, 2016.

About the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC)

Established in October 2013, The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) is responsible for the identification of key issues related to competitiveness and productivity in Saint Lucia.

The NCPC and its Technical Secretariat is committed to providing the necessary advocacy and research to produce timely and effective recommendations to policymakers on issues that affect both competitiveness and productivity on island. For more information about productivity or on the NCPC, visit www.stluciancpc.org; www.facebook.com/stluciancpc, call 468-5571/5576 or send an e-mail to stluciancpc@gmail.com





NCPC Productivity Ambassador, Johanan Dujon with LHCSS 2016 Graduating Class

Graduation- a time for celebration!

Graduation- seeing years of hard work and commitment finally bear fruit!

Graduation- a proud moment for parents and students!

While graduation means different things to different people, the fact remains that this period of transformation from student to graduate is often fraught with uncertainty for students.

 In Saint Lucia, during the months of June to July thousands of students leave behind their secondary schools to embark upon a journey. After five (5)  years of growing accustomed to familiar routines and faces, some are immediately thrown into the world of work while others continue go on to further their studies.

Understanding how difficult this transition can be for students and the possible impact on productivity, the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) has embarked on a Schools’ Graduation Tour. The tour aims to promote an awareness and understanding of the notions of productivity and competitiveness.

Earlier today, NCPC Productivity Ambassador, Johanan Dujon, the Managing Director of Algas Organics (an agro-processing firm specialising in the production of bio-fertilizers from seaweed) had the opportunity to speak to a group of over 100 students of the Leon Hess Comprehensive School 2016 Graduating Class.

The theme for this year’s Graduation was “Find Your Passion- Live Your Dreams” and Johanan, a young entrepreneur, was able to share his own story of finding and nurturing his passion and eventually living his dreams.

Look out for more excerpts from the 2016 NCPC Schools’ Graduation Tour.


NCPC Releases Saint Lucia Productivity Summary Report 2000-2015

Productivity Summary Report

One of the key objectives of the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council is the monitoring of productivity growth and the benchmarking of Saint Lucia’s productivity levels with that of other countries. 

Undertaking this inaugural assessment of the levels of productivity is a very critical step in the discussions on productivity and the actions that will be required to raise productivity levels in Saint Lucia. 

Click here to download the  Saint Lucia Productivity Study – Summary-2000-2015

Productive Teams Build Productive Businesses

ProductivityWorking productively as a team can be difficult for a number of reasons.  Based on various backgrounds and professions, teams are usually confronted with a wide array of ideas and opinions on any particular subject matter that may result in conflicts and disagreements.  These disagreements can sometimes be quite volatile and discussions may sometimes go on for longer than was expected. Regardless of the reason, the end result can prove highly unproductive. 


How can we build productive teams? 

For a team to work successfully there must be certain important elements present.  These elements can help the team work effectively together and the end results will be positive.  These elements include:

  • The Presence of A Common Goal
  • Unity and Trust
  • A Dynamic, Empathetic Leader
  • A Sense of Choice and
  • A Good Selection of Team Members

It can be difficult to find a compatible group of people who can work well together. The success of the team is heavily dependent on the circumstances and the reason for the formation of the group.  It is important to note that to achieve a successful business; the employees need to work together in various types of groups in order for goals to be achieved.  In some instances, there will be groups working towards a common goal, where each member has to participate equally, sharing duties to reach the desired objective.   In other circumstances, it may be that each member has a specific and separate role to play in order for the end result to be reached successfully.

There must be a sense of unity among members as unity in turn builds trust. Without trust, there is generally conflict.  Therefore, it is usually wise for a team to have a chosen leader.  The leader’s role should be to successfully guide the team, instilling unity, building trust and avoiding conflicts along the way.

As stated previously, within the team, there must also be an established sense of choice.  This sense of choice means that each team member must feel that their input is respected, accepted and considered by all other team members.  They must feel that the choices given to the entire team are just that, for everybody and not just for one member.  There should also be a balanced sense of competence within the team.  In other words, each member should know their capabilities and be able to apply their skill. They must also be able to trust that all other team members have the ability to do the same.

When a leader is asked to choose members from a group of people, it would be wise to undertake research on prospective members’ background, personality and skills.  Changes may need to be made if one person does not fit well with others within the group. 

Good leaders are those who lead by example. Also, a good leader must show team members how to work through conflict respectfully.   If they have done their job correctly, members will understand the goals set, their role on the team and their specific tasks.  If members are confused about what they are supposed to do, they will encroach on another member’s role, overlapping tasks and wasting time and resources.

Smaller working teams have become a major part of many productive large corporations.  They are formed regularly as they work well at finding solutions to problems and conceptualizing ideas. With a smaller grouping concentrating on working on an issue or theorizing an outcome, results in a greater chance of the right solution being found. Therefore, this means that the right group selections must be made, all team members must have the right mind-set and a dependable positive leader must be chosen.


For more information about productivity, visit the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) Secretariat, 2nd floor, Financial Centre Building, Bridge Street, Castries, log on to the NCPC website; www.stluciancpc.org www.facebook.com/stluciancpc ,call 468-5571/5576 or send an e-mail to stluciancpc@gmail.com


Productivity, Competitiveness and Corporate Environmental Responsibility

By: Snaliah Mahal


Snaliah Mahal- Recipient of 2015 Esteemed Award in Youth Development

Ms. Snaliah Mahal- Recipient of Esteemed Award in Youth Development (2016 National Youth Awards, Saint Lucia)

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like Saint Lucia face a myriad of environmental challenges. At the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of Parties (COP21)  held in Paris last year, the plight of SIDS and their vulnerability to the impacts of climate change were at the forefront of negotiations as climate changes poses an existential threat to countries like ours. Climate change and other environmental changes are set to have detrimental effects on struggling states, affecting all industries: from fisheries, to agriculture, to manufacturing and of course tourism. In the face of climate change and economic uncertainty, developing countries continuously have to balance development and environmental protection.

Prior to, during and after the COP21, Saint Lucia was inundated with climate change information and what the impacts of climate change meant for the future of this country, the importance of our natural environment and the need to conserve what little resource we have. On Earth Day (April 22nd) Saint Lucia became one of the first countries to both ratify and sign the agreement emanating from COP21 (Paris Agreement).

With this as a backdrop, what have Saint Lucians across the different sectors of society learnt? Who is responsible for ensuring that future generations continue to enjoy the quality of life that we currently enjoy?

Most, if not everyone agrees that government has the major role to play with regards to the care of the environment. There is often talk of environmental governance.  Although environmental governance is not solely the responsibility of governments, they however possess the policy-making and enforcement roles with regards to overall sustainable development.

Environmental governance is not usually seen as the purview of businesses. However, in business terms, the concept of ‘environmental responsibility’ is used to describe “the duty that a company has to operate in a way that protects the environment” (Cambridge Dictionary).

Businesses are undoubtedly some of the biggest users of a country’s natural resources. Do they hence have a role to play along with governments, in ensuring a sustainable future for all? Considering that what drives a business is its ability to make profits and generate surpluses, one may ask whether a link exists between productivity and competitiveness of businesses and their natural environment.

Competitiveness is the “ability of a firm or a nation to offer products and services that meet the quality standards of the local and world markets at prices that are competitive and provide adequate returns on the resources employed or consumed in producing them” (Business Dictionary) while productivity is “ the rate at which a company or country makes goods, usually judged in connection with the number of people and the amount of materials necessary to produce the goods” (Cambridge Dictionary).

Are businesses able to operate efficiently and be environmentally responsible? In some parts of the world, profits and greed reign supreme at the cost of environmental protection. Companies have shareholders to report to, who may not consider the damage, some irreversible that said companies are inflicting on the environment.

In the developed world strict environmental compliance and or responsibility may give businesses the competitive advantage over their rivals. Companies’ bottom lines may suffer greatly by any actions real or perceived which may be to the detriment to the environment. Organisations such as Greenpeace for example, speak out vociferously against threats to the environment. However in a country such as Saint Lucia when sometimes there is only one company providing essential products and services to an entire population, environmental responsibility becomes a choice rather than a requirement for good business. Consumers are left with little to no choice in what products they buy and from whom. Additionally there is a lack of advocates for the environment which can force any real change in business practices which may be contrary to proper environmental practices.

Businesses may not see the role they play in caring for the environment and though lack of environmental responsibility may not affect competitiveness because of small market size, it has proven to affect productivity. During the Chikungunya outbreak in 2014 many businesses suffered with employees calling in sick and being out of work for extended periods of time and in so doing putting a strain on business operations and slowing down productivity and by extension affecting the bottom line.

The Chikungunya epidemic highlighted the importance of the private sector in taking an active role in environmental education of not only the general public, but similarly of their employees. Ensuring that our surroundings are kept clean and prove unfavorable to mosquito breeding, will in turn decrease the prevalence of vector borne diseases and minimise the amount of resources that Government dispenses through the Department of Environmental Health in educating the populace.

Working towards sustainable development and fighting climate change are considered one’s moral responsibility and a commitment to future generations. On an individual basis it has proven difficult for persons to change bad environmental practices. What then for a company which may not have Environmental Responsibility embedded in their Mission, Vision and Values?

Can Saint Lucia with its limited natural resources and limited land space sacrifice the small and vulnerable natural environment that it possesses for economic growth and development?

We all want access to clean air, water, uncontaminated rivers, seas and agricultural land but what role have we taken or businesses taken to ensure that the small space that we have been given to inhabit in the Caribbean Sea is clean for our use and for our children’s children?

Businesses in a country like Saint Lucia though not usually compelled to do so, need to start taking a vested interest in their natural as much as their economic environment. While it is easy to focus on just numbers, the fact remains that neglecting to protect the environment today can very well result in not having a market to sell products to tomorrow.

Article submitted by Guest Contributor Ms. Snaliah Mahal. Snaliah is an environmental activist and enthusiast, an active member of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network- Saint Lucia Chapter and an advocate for youth development.  She holds a Bachelor’s in IR and an MSc in Climate Change and International Development. She recently embarked on a micro-business venture where she repurposes everyday items and creates magical pieces. She was also the recipient of this year’s Esteemed Award in Youth Development in the 2015 National Youth Awards. To connect with the author follow her on Instagram @katharsis_7Ks, on Twitter @snalsm and like her on Facebook, www.facebook.com/7ks.