Published: 07 Oct, '23

Regional Institute Launched to Help Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises Leverage the Power of Digital Technology

Source: Caribbean Export
  • Caribbean Digital Transformation Institute (CDTI) officially launched by Caribbean Export
  • CDTI will offer regional businesses personalised online courses to enhance ‘digital maturity’
  • Three-year CDTI project funded by Inter-American Development Bank and Compete Caribbean

A new digital transformation project aimed at helping Caribbean businesses fully utilise modern technology and compete globally, has been announced by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export).

The newly-launched Caribbean Digital Transformation Institute (CDTI), will provide regional micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) with access to a self-assessed Digital Check-Up tool to gage their ‘digital maturity’ and then produce a tailored e-learning plan to improve their technological capabilities.

The three-year project, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Compete Caribbean, will also analyse the data gathered by the digital check-up and make it publicly available to various business support organisations and other interested parties to inform policy decisions affecting MSMEs.

Speaking during the official launch of the CDTI on Thursday 5 October 2023, Caribbean Export’s Executive Director, Deodat Maharaj, promised participating Caribbean businesses “clear results and actionable recommendations” to enhance digitalisation, leading to “growth, profits, and opportunities.”

Mr Maharaj said the CDTI will offer businesses invaluable support and insight, stating “Innovation and digitalisation are absolutely critical to help our businesses compete and become fit for purpose in a hyper-competitive world. This digital transformation institute will establish a programme using a data and knowledge-driven approach to first help our Caribbean businesses understand, and then check, their level of adoption of digital technologies, practices, and processes.”

“I encourage every business to dedicate the time to complete the check-up,” Mr Maharaj added. “The combined data generated by widespread use will create a treasure trove of data analysis, producing actionable insight for all partners working to support our private sector in becoming more competitive.”

Private Sector Lead Specialist at the IDB, Sylvia Dohnert, revealed that the Digital Check-Up tool was initially rolled out in Chile in 2019 and is now running in 17 Latin American countries. She suggested that the tool’s data analysis would be even more effective in the Caribbean, working alongside the CDTI’s E-Learning Management platform which will identify knowledge gaps, and recommend a range of customised IT courses for businesses.

Ms Dohnert added: “This project is the result of thinking how to bring this tool to the Caribbean but taking it a step further by building a curriculum online to support the upgrading of businesses…

“We wanted to be able to direct businesses to the right resources for their status in terms of digital transformation, and we wanted to strengthen the ecosystem that supports them in their digital journey and innovation journey.”

Francisca Araya Lopez from the IDB’s Digital Check-Up Development Team, demonstrated the Digital Check-Up tool’s user-friendly interface. She stated that “any business, from any sector” can use the tool to find out their ‘digital maturity’ status and get a complete overview of where they are in terms of their technological usage. The check-up can also be repeated in three and six months so the business can track its digital progress.

Caribbean Export’s Advisor for Innovation and Digital Business, Phillip Jackson, explained that while the Digital Check-Up tool is at the core of the CDTI, the project has various other components including the development of a marketplace for digital service providers to make finding the relevant specialist quicker and easier.

“This is a comprehensive programme providing a 360-degree look at the digitalisation ecosystem in the region,” Mr Jackson stated. “The actionable data will drive policy interventions and drive knowledge products on the E-Learning Management platform and allow all of our private sector development organisations and agencies to interact and help businesses along their digitalisation journey.”

Launch of the Caribbean Digital Transformation Institute


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Caribbean Export is the regional trade and investment promotion agency focused on building a resilient Caribbean by providing cutting-edge and high-impact support to the private sector.

Produced with the financial assistance of the European Union.

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