Barbados Business Investments
The Barbados business environment offers a diverse range of opportunities and support to both foreign and national investors prepared to invest for the long-term and sustain national objectives.
Barbados has been a haven of economic, social and political stability since achieving independence in 1966. The country is relatively prosperous with continuing economic growth, a stable currency with an unchanged peg to the US dollar for over 30 years; a developed tourism industry and endowed with a well-educated, productive and trainable workforce.
Road and telecommunications infrastructure is stable. The geographical location of the island protects it from the threat of major hurricanes and blesses it with a consistent temperature ranging between 75 – 85° F or 24 – 29° C year-round.
Barbados Government incentives include:
— Exemption from import duties
— Full repatriation of capital, profits, and dividends
— Double taxation treaties
— Training grants
— Duty-free access to the US, Canada, and the EU
— Government-sponsored investment agencies mandated to serve the needs of potential investors such as Barbados Tourism Investment Ltd. (BTI) and the Barbados Investment Development Corporation (BIDC) operating under the Barbados International Business Promotion Corporation (BIBPC) otherwise known as Invest Barbados.
The following industry sectors are highlighted as emerging markets for discerning investors interested in Barbados’ diversified and prosperous economy:
— Pharmaceuticals, Device & Supplies Manufacturing, Health & Wellness Tourism
– With chronic non-communicable diseases on the rise, the government of Barbados is eager to increase investment opportunities and incentives to the pharmaceutical and health sector. This is an emerging market where health service provision has the potential to expand massively.
The increasing demand for wellness services by tourists has led to a surge of upscale hotels offering spa and recreational health activities and facilities within the country. Investment opportunities abound in this sector.
— Alternative and Renewable Energy Investments – The desire to combat the impact of global warming and climate change had led to a surge of interest in renewable and alternative energy sources such as biodiesel, biomass, natural gas, cane ethanol, pyrolysis, wind and solar energy. Grants, loans, and concessions are available through government incentive programs in this sector.
— Tourism and Hospitality Investments – With well over 400,000 visitors each year, Barbados has long been known as a premium travel destination of the Caribbean for North American, British and European tourists.
Ranked 30 of 133 countries in the World Economic Forum’s 2009 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, the island’s tourism and hospitality sector is highly developed offering a wide variety of accommodation, food and beverage opportunities such as restaurants, bars, and clubs, attractions and activities.
The government is committed to expanding investment in this sector and has provided many incentives under the Tourism Development Act including tax write-offs and exemption from import duties on such things as building materials and equipment.
— Agriculture Investments -The promotion of agriculture is at the heart of the Government of Barbados’ efforts to improve the health and food security of its citizenry. Recent efforts have included the construction of production facilities, tens of millions of dollars of capital injection into the sector, rebates, a Dairy Board and funding for Research and Development.
— Manufacturing Investments – Manufacturers will find Barbados an ideal location to base their production facilities. Bridgetown – the nation’s capital – offers a modern and top-rated seaport with both a deep water harbor and a shallow draft.
Under the current government incentives to attract potential manufacturers include low tax rates, duty-free importation of materials, training grants, affordable rental space as well as tax holidays and export allowances through the Fiscal Incentives Act. Barbados profits from international preferential trade arrangements such as the Caribbean Basin Initiative, CARIBCAN, CARIFORM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and CARICOM.
— Ship Registry and Shipping Investments – Government incentive programs such as exemption from the Income Tax, Duty Act and Exchange Control Acts as well as concessions under Shipping Incentives Act present an attractive offer to foreign investors considering Barbados’ seaports.
With a modern and reliable port infrastructure, a well legislated and enabling business environment and excellent international reputation, Barbados is a first-class vantage point to base your shipping services.
— Arts and Entertainment Investments – Barbados arts and entertainment industry have long been overlooked for its potential investment opportunity. With events taking place year-round featuring such renowned performers as Lionel Richie and Patti LaBelle, music enthusiasts from around the world consider Barbados a premier destination.
Local talent abounds with dedicated artists, photographers, musicians and artisans showcased through events and activities such as the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA). The National Cultural Foundation (NCF) provides support, international and regional dialogue on cultural issues as well as events production and technical support.
— Fashion Design Investments – A key feature of Barbados’ export under the Indigenous Services Exports Division (ISE), Fashion Design and Manufacturing presents a top-notch opportunity for investors seeking to expand their portfolio to include the flourishing high-end fashion industry.
Barbados fashion industry parallels the islands beauty, sophistication, and class with internationally renowned designers, supportive government initiatives, a superior transportation and telecommunication infrastructure and unique local resources such as shell, coconut, black belly sheep leather and the world-renowned Barbados Sea Island Cotton.
— Information & Communication Technology Investments (ICT) – Excellent infrastructure, a modern telecommunications system, competitive labor costs, as well as an English speaking, highly educated and service-oriented workforce make Barbados a prime location for ICT offices, with particular emphasis on call centers.
The Government further entices software developers with a Technology Training Center, training grants, affordable rental space in Business complexes and free consulting services through the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC). The country shares the same time zone with Eastern Canada and the US for six months with only a 1-hour difference for the rest of the year.
— International Financial Services Investments – Barbados has long been known as a hub of the international financial services sector. Offshore banking, international business, shipping and trust companies benefit from double taxation treaties, a strong legislation including anti-money laundering laws, stable domestic policies and modern local and international banking facilities. Free consulting and other services are offered by the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) through its offices in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Toronto, and London.
— Building, Construction and Restoration Investments – Construction related services abound in Barbados, with a highly trained and competitively priced workforce of engineers, architects and project managers skilled in both civil and structural engineering.
Local infrastructure is ideal for a world-class seaport, excellent air facilities, stable electricity provision and superior communications systems. Vast Government incentives exist for this sector including a variety of tax concessions including duty-free import of building materials and equipment as well as capital expenditure write-offs.
— Land and Real Estate Investments – For your next property development or “home away from home” consider the timeless beauty of Barbados. A safe and sound investment, this gem of the Caribbean combines exotic island living, convenience, social and political stability with luxurious elegance, style and comfort.
For those who wish to benefit from Barbados’ booming real estate industry but without the capital to purchase land directly, consider investing in Barbados National Bank or Fortress Property Funds.
— The Barbados Stock Exchange – Barbados Stock Exchange (BSE) is a well established privately-owned, non-profit, central marketplace for securities trading using an electronic Order routing method.
BSE strives to encourage Barbadian participation in financial instrument trading through education and by fostering an environment of confidence and trust. In 1999, the BSE opened a Junior Market enabling smaller and newer public companies to meet regulatory requirements.
The BSE is served by the Barbados Central Securities Depository (BCSDI) which acts as an electronic holdings and processing center.