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Lashley suggests a Thomas Edison approach

Barbados must now move towards amending current legislation to take into account the use of intellectual property as collateral for an emerging business option.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Stephen Lashley threw out this suggestion this morning while speaking at the Cultural Industries Symposium 2016 Investors’ Forum at the Barbados Hilton Resort.

Noting that at this juncture of Barbados’ history efforts have to be redirected to internal restructuring and revitalizing of the economy in ways which will utilize more fully the indigenous human and physical resources of the country, Lashley said there was much value in creating financing opportunities for companies with valuable intellectual property assets seeking alternative sources of capital.

The Member of Parliament for Christ Church West Central cited a well-known instance of the use of intellectual property as collateral when the inventor Thomas Edison used his patent on the incandescent electric bulb as collateral to secure financing to start his company, General Electric Company.

Lashley cited another instance where Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, songwriters and producers of hit songs, including “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” used the copyright on 247 of their songs as assets to back bonds, raising US$25 million.

The Minister of Culture said research indicated that intellectual property financing, or the use of intellectual property assets such as trademarks, design rights patents and copyright to gain access to credit, was gaining increasing attention in international property and financial circles.

Lashley added that, at the level of the United Nations, member states were working to modernize secured financing practices, and a way of making it possible for intellectual property owners to gain access to affordable credit.

Focusing his attention on Third World countries, the Minister of Culture said the desire to enhance innovation and promote a sustainable creative industry was a very important issue, adding that access to financing was critical for start-up companies in the cultural and creative sector.

Earlier, he told participants that the entire symposium had everything to do with how investing now in the emerging creative sector could have a transformative effect on the wider economy, while making businesses more competitive and relevant.

He stressed that Barbados still had much work to do in repositioning the economy by getting investors to think differently and creatively.

Lashley pointed out that as the country continues to experience economic challenges, captains of industry and investors had to take greater charge of the solutions with less talk and more action.

Arguing that the creative industries were the main engines of growth in the new world economy, he said: “Creativity is the fastest growing business in the world. Companies are hungry for people with ideas and more and more of us want to make, buy, sell, and share creative products.

“In this era of extraordinary change and globalization, CARICOM governments have acknowledged that creativity and innovation are now driving the new economy. The Government recognizes it and has embraced the idea that creativity can generate significantly higher economic revenue and provide greater job creation in the future. (NC)                  

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