As the Dr. Ralph Gonsalves led administration attempts to satisfy its Budget 2020 agenda, Invest SVG is forging ahead in its bid to increase Foreign Direct Investments as well as locally based revenue earning ventures with national impact. To achieve this, the government’s leading investment promotions agency has conceptualized a one-day event that is set to woo potential financiers.
This gathering of both local and foreign prospects (investor leads) is slated for Saturday 2nd May 2020 and is dubbed SVG Investment Forum 2020. The luxurious Amitabah Villa situated on picturesque Bequia is to be the host venue.
Chairman of Invest SVG’s Directors’ Board Anthony Regisford described the initiative “as a tool in [Invest SVG’s] toolkit [being used] to realize and fulfill [its] mandates. It’s a very important exercise that we’ve taken on in 2020.”
Invest SVG’s Executive Director Annette Marks shed some light on what motivated her team to produce this high net worth, networking event. Marks made mention of the challenges faced when pitching a mostly unheard of multi-island State to potential investors. “The difficulty with actually speaking about St. Vincent abstractedly to investors that don’t know about the Caribbean, don’t have an idea that the Caribbean are separate islands or think that we are all one island and don’t realize that St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a separate [country] with its own independence” propelled the local investment promotions agency to “break the traditional [investor recruitment] mold.”
Executive Director Marks said, “we thought that we are going change this,” of the usual boardroom/tradeshow type approach. “We’re going to bring the investors here to St. Vincent and in bringing them to St. Vincent we wanted them to see the kind of infrastructural development that we have here so that they could realize that St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a premier destination for investments. We also want them to interact with our people and firsthand experience our culture and see the diversity of our nation – experience our music and our musicians…. We’re not going to have a sit-down conference. We’re going to have a one day event… it would be more of a networking event.”
And to the sceptics who may question Bequia as the locale chosen to host this undoubtedly gala affair, Marks says “why not Bequia? Bequia is one of our beautiful sister islands. And can you imagine that the investors are here, they are in Bequia, they are at the meet at our Villa on the hill, on the patio overlooking the beautiful Caribbean Ocean and their senses are awakened and they are excited to the endless possibilities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines?”
Some 100 guests would be entertained inclusive of “qualified leads, local private sector, government officials and our development partners,” Marks also announced while explaining that the invited investors have all “gone through a vetting process.”
Local businesspersons are especially welcomed to hobnob along with investor leads referred by investors who are already “integrated into our society”. Particularly so since, “we want them, when they come to this Forum, to understand the quality investments that we are trying to attract and that we are attracting and the potential spin off of opportunities from these investments,” Marks told Tuesday’s media launch event.
Public sector representatives would also be on hand “to answer questions from the invitees as to doing business from a regulatory and legal stand point. And of course we’ll have our development partners there. Who we engaged from the very beginning, who bought into our idea and came onboard from early.”
The Executive Director thanked the Caribbean Export Development Agency, the IDB Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility, the Caribbean Development Bank, the Caribbean Development Fund and the World Bank for their sundry contributions.
“Heightened visibility as a prime jurisdiction in the Caribbean for investments, to generate investor leads and to give investors who are not familiar with St. Vincent and the Grenadines an opportunity to meet public officials to understand how we do business here” were listed as some of what, Marks said, “we want from this [forum].”