Suriname Business Climate and Innovation Program
Over the past decade, the economy of Suriname has grown by an average of 4.4% annually. This expansion was fueled by robust activity in the energy and mining industries and the services and public investment sectors. Despite this, Suriname's economy is exceedingly vulnerable to external shocks, particularly global commodity price fluctuations, due to its reliance on the natural resource sector. This situation necessitates an immediate effort to diversify the country's economy by bolstering the non-resource-based private sector.
Although the government of Suriname has begun to implement some measures to enhance its business climate, a comprehensive strategy to encourage investment, innovation, and entrepreneurship was required. Due to legislative delays and reluctance to pass new legislation, existing business legislation has become a bottleneck and a major impediment to Suriname's sustainable economic development. Under IADB’s loan “Suriname Business Climate and Innovation Program (SUBCIP) SU-L1043,” Tambourine Innovation Ventures and Technopolis Group supported the Government of Suriname with guidance and documentation towards drafting novel legislation on Intellectual Property and building the capacity of entrepreneurs to monetize their IP.
The project was initiated with a preliminary Needs Assessment, which demonstrated that Suriname’s capacities for IP and Technology were deficient across all sectors, primarily due to a lack of legal IP framework and inadequate awareness by critical stakeholders of the value of IP protection. Consequently, in a joint effort, TIV assisted in conducting a systematic overhaul of the IP regulatory system in Suriname, focused on several key initiatives. TIV’s experts conducted a series of workshops, which featured instruction from global IP and Tech Transfer leaders, with a target audience comprised of high-level policymakers, including the Surinamese IP Bureau, the Cultural Union of Suriname (CUS), the Ministry of Science, the Ministry of Trade and Infrastructure, in addition to entrepreneurs and business who could utilize IP towards profitability. Various forms of IP, including patents, copyrights, trademarks, Traditional Knowledge, and Geographical Indications, were covered. The lectures, discussions, and brainstorming sessions were tremendously successful, increasing participants’ awareness, understanding, and confidence. The workshops were subsequently followed by months of continued advisory, surveys, and analyses under the auspices of TIV and Technopolis, culminating in a road map for Suriname’s Intellectual Property Law future for 2020-2024.
During the engagement, one of the hallmark projects involved TIV providing support to Surinamese entrepreneurs, some of which were eligible for a more intimate IP mentorship process. The project led to a cascade of positive outcomes, including economically and socially empowering women and developing a plan to generate a novel profit stream for these artisans through their own marketplace on Amazon.com.