The Bahamas is embarking on a plan designed to attract more investment to the country and foster entrepreneurship.
A delegation from the Caribbean nation, which included Sidney S. Collie, the Bahamas’ ambassador to the United States, is visiting the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) Oct. 25 and 26 to learn about the Institute’s economic development programming model and components of a successful innovation ecosystem.
EI2, comprised of a dozen programs, is the Institute’s economic development arm and its offerings include services in community and business development, entrepreneurship, and commercialization.
While on campus, the delegation, which also will meet with President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, met with Chris Downing, EI2vice president and director, who gave the group an overview of Georgia Tech’s economic development mission and how specific programs could help the Bahamian efforts.
David Bridges, director of EI2’s Economic Development Lab (EDL), discussed his group’s work in Puerto Rico. EDL helps communities and organizations adopt innovation-led economic development practices through community strategic planning, fiscal and economic impact analyses, innovation ecosystem development, technology extension services, soft landing programs, and innovation policy research.
EDL, which has led 72 projects across 16 countries worldwide, has done extensive work in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. It’s work on the Caribbean island has led to Puerto Rico receiving more than $11 million in investments and initiatives being infused into the ecosystem there.
Delegates also toured the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), the Institute’s statewide technology incubator, to learn how it help entrepreneurs across the state.
“Georgia Tech has garnered a reputation for being the big dog in technology, innovation, and accelerator programs,” said Astra Armbrister-Rolle, the Bahamas’ consul general in Atlanta. “You’re the best at it and we want to learn from the people who are on the cutting edge of these types of developments.”
Tech Hub, as the Bahamian initiative is called, is focused on the island of Grand Bahama and the plan to make it the country’s innovation center, Armbrister-Rolle said.
“It’s truly utilizing the space, the intellectual capital, and all the resources that we have there on that island to attract investors to set up businesses and also create an island that is tech-friendly as far as innovation and drive the government mandate of creating more entrepreneurs of Bahamians,” she said.
“The government has done some things to lay the infrastructure of what we believe will be an excellent and long-term program, at the same time, we’re reaching out internationally to partners like Georgia Tech and other universities to make it happen.”