Hon Penn made the call at the Eleventh Sitting of the Third Session of the Fourth House of Assembly on August 19, 2021, when he said that innovation doesn’t necessarily mean technology, rather, bringing greater efficiency to the sector.
“One of the things that we've continued to see and realise, is that we need to for us and how can we be more innovative in the way that we operate as a territory in the business sector,” he said.
To illustrate innovation during the debates of the Virgin Islands Investment Act 2020, the Opposition Leader used the example of a modern pen with the ink integrated into the stylus, as compared to the feather pen used in the past.
“And innovation in itself doesn't necessarily mean technology, innovation means creating an easier, more efficient way of doing a particular act or particular process and I believe that the intent of this suite of legislation is to spark that whole innovative mindset within this territory,” he said.
“We have to start the look at different ways to… strengthen, create more efficiencies in our current economic systems and also create more economic opportunities within the things that are known to us, the areas that we do well, but we could do even better with some thought pattern into those things,” he said.
Hon Penn called for the development of an innovation lab that can create an environment where persons who are naturally gifted can foster innovative thinking and ideas.
“Put those individuals in a room to be able to look at some of the complex problems that we face as a territory, find ways where there's certain things that we could use and deploy in the national interests,” he said.
Hon Penn called for innovation on a national level, that transcends political persuasion and what is perceived as good or not good and who should be doing it.
“There needs to be a series of things in this territory that is beyond the scope of politics, that is a focus for the improvement of the standard of living for people in our territory,” he said.
Hon Penn continued, “I believe that business development, instilling and continue to cultivate entrepreneurship and our culture of entrepreneurship that we have as a territory [and] as a people it is something that we need to continue to look at,” he said.
This he said will ensure that the fire for entrepreneurship does not burn out and the local legacy businesses continue to thrive with resources and support.