Daily Archives: April 23, 2006

“Barbados Biotech” – Sounds Trendy, Modern… Like Progress…

The word "Biotech" conjures up visions of cutting edge technology. Upscale science. Skilled employees dressed in white. Clean, modern facilities. "Biotech" has the ring of success. Trendy, yet solidly based. Proven.

The very word sounds, well… Profitable.

Many believe that merely saying the word "Biotech" can be a panacea – capable of instantly boosting failed economies into the stratosphere of success.

"Biotech" … Such a wonderful word…

Government of Barbados Tries To Attract Biotech Firms

While the Barbados Free Press is not a traditional newspaper or television media outlet, we do receive most of the international news feeds, which give us a window on how and when the rest of the world mentions Barbados in their local media. That's how we learned that the Russian News Service Pravda had mentioned that the Barbados Police had banned Jamaican Passa Passa Fetes.

Barbados Investment and Development Corporation Biotech News Release

A few days ago, we started receiving alerts from around the world about a News Release put out by the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC website here). The release is titled "Barbados Making Advances in Biotech and Life Sciences Sectors" and can be seen online at the PR Newswire Service here.

The PR Newswire Service is a business that is paid by companies and governments to distribute "news" releases (usually meaning "publicity" releases) to various targeted markets and media outlets.

In this recent Barbados biotech release, the PR Newswire was contracted to put out the news release by an international communications, advertising and branding firm: Ruder-Finn Inc., out of their New York City office. Presumably the Barbados Government (through the BIDC) have hired this big advertising & marketing firm in New York to drum up some biotech investment in Barbados.

So let's have a look at what we got for our money…

We received an alert about this story from PR Newswire on April 19th, but also from the following news sources and others in the next two days…

The Economist
Life Sciences World
Barbados Advocate Newspaper
EIN News Wire
KRON Television Newswire, San Francisco

… and on and on and on with the same "publicity" release printed verbatim around the world by about 75 news outlets – the majority of which were just automatic web robots grabbing the original release and distributing it though their own channels.

As well, the Barbados Advocate followed up on Saturday, April 22nd with an article about a Barbados biotech success story: Lenstech Inc. which employs about 75 people at it's manufacturing facility in Barbados. As a focus of the article, the president of Lenstech and Government Minister Marshall toured the facility.

Only One Barbados BioTech Business Featured 

Despite the headlines of "Barbados Making Advances in Biotech and Life Sciences Sectors", the news release is basically a story about only one Barbados manufacturing facility – with no other specific firms mentioned.

So… good for those at the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation for taking the first step in attempting to attract new biotech industries to Barbados, and good for the government for trying to diversify our largely tourist-based economy.

… But if puffed up news releases through expensive New York PR firms are the sole strategy to attract new biotech ventures, our BIDC friends had better work harder – and smarter.


Filed under Barbados, Business, Offshore Investments