We thank to Bren Romney and to his team for great cooperation for having well organised, successful OCTA Innovation Thematic Workshop in Anguilla on 11-12 of October 2018.
Keen to sensitize residents on the significance of the environment and tourism to our economic sustainability, the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board along with other tourism stakeholders today launched the celebration of November as Tourism Environmental Awareness Month (TEAM), under the theme: “Tourism is Key… It Starts with ME.”
The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) plays its part in the way forward for agriculture in the OCTs by placing much interest in the development of small scale Organic farming in the Islands.
The Department of Agriculture will host first Hydroponics Workshop in the TCI which will be facilitated by Mr. Ian Harris, a hydroponics farmer. The goal of the workshop is to teach persons how to grow their own foods using a more innovative method to farming which by extension can improve the populations overall well being.
The first mission to the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) by OCTA Innovation Team Leader, Milan Jezic Von Gesseneck, October 24th-28th 2016, included a first high-level meeting with Hon. Rufus Ewing, Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands. One of the main topics discussed was the importance of promoting and implementing innovation in the islands in a systemic manner across sectors. It was agreed that innovation-driving policies need to be developed in the islands.
The focus of a meeting with the Minister of Finance, Hon. C. Washington Missick was the development of green business and an incubator for TCI. Opportunities for innovation in the tourism sector, TCI’s prime income earner, were also discussed. Some priorities in the sector: the refurbishing of resorts; regulating the AirBnb market via certification and promoting the TCI as a safe destination. Other matters such as e-governance, the Micro, Small, Medium Enterprise programme, establishing smart regulation, standardization and certification were also discussed.
Meetings with a good cross-section of public and private stakeholders were also held during the week, giving a good understanding of the country’s path and highlighting the needs that exist and ways in which innovation can be implemented and propelled within the various business sectors.
TCI’s government is promoting organic agriculture, eco-tourism and introducing agriculture to the school curriculum – all innovations to be applauded. One company even has ambitions to sell tea to China! Organic agriculture and food are being seen as key to solving a recent rapid rise in health problems.
These were all subjects of discussion during a meeting between TCI’s Director of Agriculture Wilhemina Kissoonsingh and Milan Jezic von Gesseneck during his mission to TCI.
Milan Jezic von Gesseneck had the opportunity to visit Courtney Missick’s Organic Farm and the Caicos Tea Company which started up in 2016. The company is known on the local market for its high quality products and attractive packaging. Its plan is to cover 100 per cent of the TCI market and export – even to China!
Turks and Caicos is showing potential to innovate in the fisheries sector, namely aquaponics and conch production. Dr. Slattery’s aquaponics combines conventional aquaculture – raising aquatic animals – with hydroponics – cultivating plants in water. This method reduces toxicity caused by animal excretions.
During his mission to TCI, Team Leader, Milan Jezic von Gesseneck also visited a conch farm, the first and only commercial conch farm in the world and mainly export-oriented. In parallel with conch, the farm has potential to produce algae.
The need for improved management of fisheries resources to reduce over-fishing and and the development of shrimp farming as a business venture in a sustainable manner, were discussed with Dr. John Claydon, Director of the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources.
Innovation across all business sectors was at the core of several meetings between Milan Jezic von Gesseneck and TCI’s business leaders, including President of the Islands’ Chamber of Commerce, Kyle Smith and Angela Musgrove – Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Invest TCI.
Ms. Musgrove called for synergy between OCTA Innovation and the TCI government programme, Micro Small and Medium Enterprise Ordinance (MSME). Managed by TCI Invest, this programme makes provision for TCI’s Government to provide Concession Orders to qualifying businesses operating in identified priority business sectors. The Concession Orders give the company, or start-up, specific benefits or reliefs depending on the size of the business.
In tandem with the promotion of business innovation, Angela Musgrove said there was a need to develop intellectual property in TCI.
Young business acumen was the topic of discussion between Milan Jezic von Gesseneck and Sean Bassett and Nekeria John of TCI’s Young Corporate Alliance (YCA). YCA represents young professionals and entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35. Its activities include forging partnerships with private sector bodies and business leaders and organising workshops and lectures to share knowledge and empower the islands’ economic operators. There was discussion of OCTA Innovation’s future support for YCA in the form of two one-day workshops in green business and certification and business accelerators.
TCI is attracting many more EU visitors to its islands thanks to targeted campaigns. ‘Beautiful by Nature’, highlights the islands’ natural beauty – its crystalline turquoise waters and tranquil white sand beaches are particularly appealing to honeymooners.
The chain of of 40 different islands and cays, only 8 of which are inhabited, also offer underwater activities, diving, fishing, golf, windsurf and water-skiing.
Mary Lighthouse of TCI’s Tourist Board, told the Milan Jezic von Gesseneck during his mission to TCI that the islands have potential to grow visitor numbers in all niches: honeymooners, divers, water sport enthusiasts and paradise lovers!
The relevance of innovation for TCI’s economic future and the need for innovation to be implemented in a systematic manner in all areas, were put across by TCI’s Minister of Finance, Hon C. Washington Missick, to OCTA Innovation Team Leader, Milan Jezic von Gesseneck, during his mission to TCI.
The development of tourism, the prime income generator of TCI, by improving the offer and management of high-end tourism, were also signposted.
TCI also plans to move ahead with standardisation, certification and e-governance.
The Minister spoke of other developments: plans by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to fund solid waste and wastewater management and the development of green business and business incubators.
Leader of OCTA Innovation, Milan Jezic von Gesseneck, has discussed support for a workshop to further the business skills of young people in Turks and Caicos.
It was one of the subjects raised at a meeting between Mr Jezic von Gesseneck and Innovation Manager of Turks and Caicos, Alexa Cooper-Grant with Young Corporate Alliance (YCA) on October 27th.
The OCTA Innovation Leader suggested a workshop could focus on learning from best practice: business incubators and accelerators, the green economy and certification.
YCA is building the business acumen of young professionals and entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Its activities include forging partnerships with private sector bodies and business leaders and organising workshops and lectures to share knowledge and empower the island’s rising economic operators.
It has enlisted law firms, banks, marketing specialists, and insurance companies to offer discount rates to young locals with a YCA membership during their first year in business.