Regional Forum on Cluster Development in the Caribbean

Regional Forum on Cluster Development in the Caribbean: Opportunities for Business

November 9th & 10th, 2011    

 Hyatt Regency Trinidad

Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business, The University of the West Indies, Max Richards Drive, Uriah Butler Highway, Mt. Hope, Trinidad W.I.


The Caribbean is at a crossroads in terms of economic development and transformation, already affected by the downturn in the world economy and in the economies of key trading partners, such as the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom. CARICOM countries have also been impacted by changing terms in many of preferential trading agreements with key partners such as the European Union and the United States. Many Caribbean economies also continue to be dominated by one or two traditional and in some instances weakening sectors, such as Energy in the case of Trinidad and Tobago, Tourism in the case of Barbados, and agriculture production for many other Caribbean islands.

There is urgent need for structural transformation and economic revival for many CARICOM countries. Technical assistance and development support continues to be available from many international and regional development partners. However, a coordinated approach and sustained effort is needed, to achieve the level of transformation required.

Cluster development is an industry development tool that has been successfully utilized and implemented in many countries and sectors throughout the globe. The cluster development approach is commonly utilized by many development institutions such as the IADB, UNIDO, USAID, and GTZ. It has been successfully applied in such Caribbean countries as Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago, to name a few. However, opportunities remain for a more extensive and structured application of this approach to economic development. In the Caribbean context in particular, given the small size of its member states, greater collaboration is also required at a regional level, not to mention the opportunities for the generation of new insights and learning from successful experiences.

This Forum is the first step in achieving this goal, as it seeks to bring together leaders, technical experts, key policy makers, and the regional business community to share ideas and experiences in the successful implementation of cluster development. It is hoped that at the end of this conference new information, projects opportunities and networks can be developed to facilitate new successful implementation of cluster development projects within and across the Caribbean, thereby initiating the first level of economic transformation and development urgently needed by many of its member countries.

Two hundred and fifty participants (private and public sector) from across the Caribbean, plus a cadre of successful cluster development practitioners from South and Central America are expected to join leaders of Caribbean governments at the Forum.


• To promote the understanding of Cluster Development as a tool for Economic Development and Transformation, highlighting key success stories in the application of the strategy.

• To build new collaborative networks regionally and internationally, among key stakeholders, such as the business community, policy makers and key development institutions.

• To identify regional opportunities for Cluster Development.

Key invited Speakers:

• Minister of Trade & Industry of Trinidad and Tobago

• Minister of Trade & Industry of Jamaica

• Minister of Trade & Industry of Guyana

• Minister of Trade & Industry of Grenada

• Minister of Trade & Industry of Barbados

Other Invited Eminent Speakers/Panelists:

• CARICOM Secretariat


• CEOs of Caribbean Chambers of Commerce/Manufacturers Associations

Who should attend?:

• Policy makers & Government Officials

• Micro, Small & Medium Entrepreneurs

• Manufacturers & Traders

• Exporters & Importers

• Industrial Clusters

• Banks & Financial Institutions

• Consultancy organizations

• Insurance Companies

• Public Sector Undertakings

• IT solution providers

• Professionals

• Service Providers

• CEOs & CFOs

• Development Finance Institutions

• Corporate Financiers

• Industry Advisors

• Private Equity Funds

• Law Firms

• Venture Capitalists

• Intermediaries

• Institutional Investors

Why you should attend?

• To identify new opportunities for business development and growth

• To join regional and international cluster development networks

• To meet and network with key development partners

• To learn about the best practices in cluster development globally

• To identify new opportunities for the development of SME’s

• To guide and shape Government Policy and Strategy for regeneration of Growth and economic diversification

• To understand the role of the public and private sector in cluster development


Day 1: Wednesday 9th November 2011

Theme 1 (Plenary)

The Current State: Imperative for Development & Growth in the Caribbean

a. Caribbean and Latin America: Current and Desired States

b. The Development and Diversification Imperative

c. Development Alternatives: Tools for transformation

Theme 2 (Plenary)  – Fundamentals of Cluster Development

a. Understanding Global Value Chains

b. The Cluster Development Perspective

c. Cluster Development as a tool for Economic Development and Transformation

Theme 3 (Breakout) – The Role of Government in Cluster Development

a. Understanding the role of Government in Cluster Development Initiatives

b. A toolkit for Government Policy and Strategy

c. Experience in supporting Cluster Implementation

Theme 4 (Breakout) – Clusters: Benefits and Opportunities for Business

a. Companies that support Cluster Development

b. Cluster Development in Support of SME’s

c. Capturing Corporate Social Value

Cluster Tour – Tour of Cluster Facility

Day 2: Thursday 10th November 2011

Theme 5 (Breakout Session) – Best Practices in Cluster and Value Chain Development

• Cluster development in Agriculture, Primary Production

• Cluster development in Seafoods

• Cluster development in Agro-processing

• Cluster development in Tourism

• Cluster development in Energy (T&T)

• Cluster development in Financial Services

• Cluster development in ICT

• New Innovative Cluster (Alternative Creative; Eco Tourism)

Theme 6 (Plenary) – Internationalization & Innovation: New Growth Engine for the Caribbean

• Innovations in Cluster Development

• Key Success Factors for Growing Internationally

• Case studies

Theme 7 (Plenary) – Technical Assistance from Supporting Agencies 2:30pm – 4:00pm Coffee Break

Theme 8 (Panel Discussion) – A Way Forward

• Caribbean Ministers of Trade and Business Association CEOs

Theme 9 (Plenary) – Closing and Vote of Thanks

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