On Tuesday 1st March, 2022, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) hosted a Grant Signing Ceremony, on the topic of Digital Innovations for Sustainable Environmental and Economic Recovery in Trinidad and Tobago. This project is being financed by the IDB in keeping with their Group’s Vision for 2025, to establish support for digital transformation in all the territories we operate in. The IDB partnered with The University of the West Indies to effectively execute this project, as they support the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to help drive economic and social recovery and growth in the region. The featured address was delivered by Carina Cockburn, IDB’s Country Representative for Trinidad and Tobago.
It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a huge blow to the economy and livelihoods, particularly those belonging to the creative industry, but Trinidad and Tobago demonstrated resilience and innovativeness, finding ways to overcome the challenges by adapting to a digital world from a tangible world – the world as we know it, in order to survive the times.
In an attempt to stay afloat, Micro-Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) of Trinidad and Tobago turned to social media to reach customers and help their businesses thrive. Ms. Cockburn said that,
“MSMEs entered ecommerce platforms to reach new markets, they engaged on social media platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to virtually connect with their customers, and raised capital through non-traditional means such as crowdfunding and non-fungible tokens”
Since digital innovations are becoming the new norm, firms have adopted Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) to protect their assets and intangible ideas, particularly those that make substantial use of digital technology and those belonging to the creative industry that have been affected by COVID-19. Ms. Cockburn stated that, ‘the Technical Cooperation agreement proposes to engage in building the main foundations for monetizing digital innovations and IP in the digital economy. IP collateralization, or IP asset backed lending is a novel concept which needs to be tested.”
While this initiative is being explored by other countries, Trinidad & Tobago will now have the tools necessary to take advantage of IP assets and educate and train MSMEs to do so as well. Ms. Cockburn stated that the success of this project can lend financial support to MSMEs to materialize their ideas and grow their businesses. Not only will it support MSMEs, but also the Government of Trinidad and Tobago regarding their industrial policies. In order to survive the economic crisis we must learn to ride the digital wave and welcome innovation.
T&T Intellectual Property Office will jointly be a part of this initiative to achieve the objectives of the IDB.