Fri | Nov 27, 2020

‘Get on board, or get left behind’ - Jamaican business operators told to prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Published:Saturday | July 18, 2020 | 12:08 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer
Lauri-Ann Ainsworth
Lauri-Ann Ainsworth

Business operators got a reminder on Wednesday that with the Fourth Industrial Revolution already impacting global transactions, they need to get on board or get left behind.

Chief Executive Office of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, Caribbean, Lauri-Ann Ainsworth, used the official launch of OEXONE, a regional trading platform, at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, to prepare Jamaicans for the coming revolution.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here. It’s changing how we live, work and communicate. It’s reshaping government, education, healthcare and commerce – almost every aspect of our lives is changing,” she disclosed, noting that the launch of OEXONE was a step in the right direction.

“As a region, we need to step into this new way of being,” Ainsworth pointed out, adding that the uncertainty and restrictions imposed on us as a result of COVID-19 only underscores the need for an inclusive Caribbean economy.

Over the last 10 years, the Branson Centre has worked with thousands of Caribbean entrepreneurs to uplevel their business acumen and support them on their journey to scale with training, mentorship and access to financing.

“I see this platform as another step on that journey ... where small business are able to open doors with less effort, to access new markets in new ways using technology such as this, a platform that will transform trade in Latin America and the Caribbean,” she disclosed.

Meanwhile, international trade specialist in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Daenia Ashpole, was impressed by the regional appeal and usability of the platform.

“It will allow private- and public-sector interests across the Caribbean and other larger diaspora markets to use blockchain technology to purchase from our local farmers, creating even wider and deeper marketing channels. OEXONE’s assistance in helping to drive home the message of formalising one’s business will undoubtedly redound to national growth. We are no longer on the cusp of change. We are in fact riding the tide of a global change, and as we march forward, let us look to even more opportunities to leverage the tides and the time.”

Some 450 farmers are already registered on the platform, which went live about a month ago.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com