Grant Funding for the Intangible, Part 1 – Understanding the Issues

Author: Lisa Douglas-Paul

What do Sagicor, Republic Bank, N H International and Caesar’s Army have in common 🤔?

Well, they are all exporting the intangible and doing a pretty great job at it 👍🏽. The simplest definition of Trade in Services is the sale of an intangible product from the producer in one territory to a consumer in another. So everything from financial services to tourism, from architecture to music and filmmaking, falls within that marvelous category of the intangible. 

Let’s break down the reason trade in services is so important for Caribbean economies.

When you compare the stats on trade in products versus trade in services in CARICOM, services clearly top the game. Among all countries within the Caribbean Trading Bloc, services constitute about 60% GDP on average according to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) compared with an average of 6.2% for manufacturing.

Yet, sectors like manufacturing and agriculture traditionally tend to get all the grant love compared to some key booming service sectors with massive potential.

So you might be scratching your head and wondering, “Why dat is, pardner?” 🧠

Well, the answer lies in the fact that the intangible is also immeasurable. You can’t measure what you can’t see or touch, and not being able to easily measure or project is not such a good thing from the perspective of investors. Private and public investors alike tend to bank their buck on assets and collateral rather than on ideas or skills. That’s because this assures them of some type of security for their investment just in case things don’t quite work out. For established services companies with expansive portfolios, this shouldn’t be too much of a setback, but for the small man looking to expand his Digital Programming Outsourcing Firm or for the experienced consultant looking to branch out on her own, it could be a real deal-breaker.

But have no fear, there are some solid funding options for services companies. In Part 2 on the intangibles, we will pull them all together for you in one place. In the meantime, make sure to brush up on your grant funding fitness with our checklist.  Then, stay tuned for the lowdown on how you can make your intangible a success with grant funding.

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