Bahamas Business Outlook (BBO), the country’s premier economic conference, will feature an impressive list of speakers addressing issues which have dominated national headlines in recent months. Organizers say that the goal of each presenter is to move these national conversations forward, revealing solutions and plans that will shape the Bahamian economy for 2019 and beyond.
Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Dr Hubert Minnis will bring the keynote address and is expected to reveal the government’s plans for making 2019 an improved and profitable year. Graham Whitmarsh, managing director and CEO of the National Health Insurance Authority will explain how his agency is transforming local healthcare, while Zhivargo Laing, chief negotiator for the Bahamas’ accession to the World Trade Organization, will provide an update on the negotiation process. Marcellus Taylor, acting director of Education, will speak to the future of Bahamian education and Dave Smith, managing director of the Bahamas Development Bank will explain how his organization is a catalyst for economic growth.
“These are all important topics in the public’s current dialogue. So we’re pleased that BBO is a forum that makes significant contributions to national conversations,” said Joan Albury, president of The Counsellors Limited and chief organizer of Bahamas Business Outlook. “We guarantee that this will be our best ever Bahamas Business Outlook and we believe that this year’s theme ought to become the mantra for The Bahamas in 2019. It’s important for us to really connect resources, where the private and public sectors work together so that The Bahamas capitalizes on every opportunity for economic growth.”
Under the theme “Connecting Resources, Maximizing Opportunities: Transforming the Bahamas”, the 28th Annual BBO conference is on target for its January 17 launch at the Baha Mar Convention Center.
The one-day conference presents diverse and interesting topics including “The Risks & Rewards of a Family Owned Business” presented by Tara and Quinn Russell of Louis & Steen’s New Orleans Coffee House; “Millennials in the Workplace #Whycantwegetalong” with Stacia Williams, Group Human Resources Director at Fidelity Bank and “Player and Coach In The Visual Arts Industry” with John Cox, founder of Popop Studios.
Mr Cox, who is also creative arts director at Baha Mar, said that his presentation will highlight how the economy at large recognizes that creatives play an integral role in the country’s economic development via collaboration with local institutions.
“We’ll look at the kind of benefits that come as a result of that attachment to institutions and the challenges that come along with what it means to be a professional artist. These are simple questions that have evolved. These were the same questions asked 30 years ago, but the answers given back then are not adequate for today,” Mr. Cox explained, noting that he will speak as an ambassador for artists and creatives who are redefining their existence.
“We see a whole lot of opportunity for growth and a whole lot of opportunity to capitalize on what is in The Bahamas and look at how we can develop a platform in this country to broaden the definition of who we are to the world,” he added.
BBO 2019 will culminate with three interactive sessions. Davinia Blair, executive director of the recently launched Small Business Development Center, will moderate a session with three entrepreneurs. Personnel from the Ministry of Finance and Department of Inland Revenue will conduct a workshop about procuring business licenses and other business documentation. The Bahamas Engineers Architects & Allied Professionals (BEAAP) will be featured in a panel discussion on industry concerns.
Marcus Laing, architect and BEAAP secretary, said that he and fellow panelists will speak to the gap that exists between where The Bahamas is now and where it should be in terms of construction and infrastructure.
Mr Laing explained: “There are some loopholes that the Government needs to close to increase their revenue. What we often don’t realize is that construction is one of the main indicators of how well a country is doing. We as an organization have identified that a lot of opportunities to capture a lot of business is being missed. And that affects the entire economy.”
Bahamas Business Outlook 2019 is one of a seven-island series, which takes place each year, covering challenges and opportunities relating specifically to each locale. In addition to New Providence, the islands include Abaco, Andros, the Eleuthera group, Exuma, Long Island and Grand Bahama, where the next Business Outlook forum will held on February 21.