ICT INVESTING IN ANTIGUAThursday 7th October 2010
When I told people we were attending the ICT FEST as exhibitors again, even after six years most people asked, 'What is that'?
You've heard about it enough on the radio, TV, online and in the newspapers , but do you know what it is?
Well, ICT FEST in it's 6th year in 2010 is a government led initiative giving busineses of all sizes the opportunity to showcase their products and services to the Antiguan and Babudan public.
In the middle of a recession, I'd urge you to think about what that really means to Antigua and Barbuda. How many of your technology products and services do you buy from overseas? Do you have a webmaster in the UK or in the US? Do you have pricey payroll software managed by email and a voice whose face you have never seen? Do you pay big $$ to overseas companies, but squeeze local companies for every penny, and expect a deal because they know you?
Each time you do ask yourself what effect that is having on the economy. More money leaving the island to go overseas! Less money here? Less cash to buy your goods and services. And we all just keep supporting that! As an island nation in lots of areas we don't have a choice but import some items, but with technology that need is getting smaller and smaller and over time is going to become a foreign exchange earner for our tiny island nations.
Next time you are approached by an overseas company to buy some technology services and products, whether it be a security system for your home or business, accounts software, web designer, hosting, advertising (I would say that though wouldn't I :)), think again, and seriously consider whether you can support a business in Antigua and Barbuda. We all know the costs of doing business are high given the market size is not so large, why make it smaller by shopping overseas.
The same goes for clothes, household items, foods...........the moment you buy from overseas, you are again sending money OUT of the country and continuing the downward spiral of the economy. Think about sharing what you want to pay for a good or service with local suppliers before you go ahead and shop overseas. We all know one of the hardest things when you are starting a new business is getting the pricing right, or in a recession thinking around what you can do to maintain your cash flow without eroding the value of your product and your long term profit margins. Now is the time to get creative and not all of us have the creative flair or quite frankly the energy to deliver a fresh approach when you feel like you are working your unmentionables off for what feels like nothing at the end of it.
Sometimes the best ideas come from someone who knows nothing about your business and is not 'hindered' by history and emotion. So lets do each other a favour, listen to suggestions from others with an open mind and offer support, help and suggestions to others.
In the end even if you are in competition with other businesses, helping the economy to grow is helping each and every one of us to improve our standard of living.
And why am I on this rant this week? Well Antiguanice.com has had a busy week seeing clients and out at the ICT FEST. There is never a more scary time than coming face to face with clients and youths! Suggestions, tough questions and obvious fixes abound from people, and it can be easy to get defensive and upset. Initially it can be hard to take, but eventually, once you open your ears, you begin to feel re-nergised and motivated by the potential other people can see in your business. Sometimes you have to step back and see it from their point of view. Once you do, it's amazing what you find!
So thank you to all the people who have inspired us with questions and suggestions this week. We are exhausted but have heads full of ideas and hope some of them will come to fruition to benefit all of us soon :).
If you missed this year's ICT FEST, remember for next year, it's worth a visit.
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