Monday, September 22, 2014

What really makes a firm competitive?

What really makes a firm competitive, thereby increasing its ability to survive, export or be viable partner to existing or potential partners? That is the topic of our upcoming seminar at the Central Bank of Curacao and St Maarten on October 2, 300-6pm. The seminar is part of Curacao Competes 2014, following the Global Competitiveness Study the company recently did. Tamira La Cruz will share the findings of the study, Guido Rojer Jr. will highlight how industry and universities can collaborate, while Marcos Cova will discuss if and how firms can work together (cluster) to increase their competitiveness.  The participation fee is ANG 145,--. Register here or contact us email

Like in other countries, in Curacao we also look at government to manage taxes, cost of doing business, and other issues well enough to make our country and our firms competitive. According to the World Economic Forum and based on its Global Competitiveness Report, the sophistication and innovation of firms is also important for competitiveness and productivity in the 21st century . 

Basically these indicators refer to the firms’ degree of market orientation, efficiency and professional management. Competitiveness and productivity are important because they allow firms to survive local and incoming competition, export and be viable partners to incoming foreign investors or international partners in general.

Curacao’s largest trading partners,  the US and the European Union, but also our competitors in the Caribbean have been investing heavily in these areas as a result of these insights.  The EU recently launched a euro 8 billion program for research in many areas that will increase the competitiveness of European firms and their countries. The Inter-American Development Bank, the UK and Canada are investing USD 40 million in Cariforum countries to increase their competitiveness. To continue to be a viable local partner for your existing or emerging international partner, firms must

Recently 82 professionals in Curacao, including many executive officers and captains of industry, assessed the business sophistication and innovation of local firms through the Global Competitiveness Study. Analysis shows that, not surprisingly, there is room for improvement. It’s not surprising because since local firms are unaware of the specific relevant indicators, they do not necessarily invest in them.

At the seminar Tamira La Cruz, CEO of MarkStra Caribbean, researcher and business strategist, will discuss relevant indicators and share the findings of the study for Curacao. Guido Rojer, Jr. of the University of Curacao, will highlight how industry and universities can collaborate, among others to increase the efficiency of firms and achieve better alignment, while Marcos Cova, entrepreneur and board member of several trade associations, will discuss how and if firms can collaborate (in clusters) to the benefit of all. The afternoon will be moderated by Stacey Rene.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Please take the Global Competitiveness Survey for Curacao

As you may know, MarkStra Caribbean is  conducting the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Survey for Curacao.

At this time we are in need of respondents from  the trade (wholesale and retail) and manufacturing sectors, to fulfill our quota.
We would very much appreciate it if you can would take the survey, either by:
b.      Contacting Tamira La Cruz at 767-3085 or  for a personal interview.
The survey takes 30 minutes, so it’s best to set some time free, for instance during lunch or on a slow day (Wednesday, Friday afternoon). You can save and come back to finish. The questions are quite eye-opening and make you think about the state of your own company and industry. It‘s anonymous. Someone else in your company/industry can also take the survey since it is the opinion of a professional that is important, not that of a company.

As a token of appreciation we will raffle a ANG250,- giftcard from Boolchand's ComputerWorld among completed surveys.

Your participation is much appreciated! More info about the GCI Index below.

About the Global Competitiveness Survey
The survey, done in 140 countries in the world since 1979, ranks the competitiveness of countries.  It covers areas such as: Innovation and Technology, Infrastructure, Financial Environment, Natural Environment, International Business and Investment, Education and Human Capital, General Company Strategy, Corruption, Ethics and Social Responsibility, Tourism and Health. Importantly, the questions bring to light aspects which we might not necessarily consider as  factors contributing to the competitiveness of nations and firms. 
Because of its small size, Curacao has never been included. But, MarkStra received permission to conduct the survey in Curacao independently, following the WEF’s methodology, on our own account. We have received good cooperation from the Chamber of Commerce, CHATA, ADECK, who have either sent our request to their members or mailing list or posted it on their website.
For more information on the Curacao survey, please visit our facebook page  Global Competitiveness Survey Curacao 2013,
This year’s Global Competitiveness Report is available at  Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014

Global Competitiveness Survey Curacao 2013-2014

Around the world competitiveness and innovation are increasingly important terms. As the world becomes more global, everyone in every country is competing against each other. In Curacao the awareness is also growing.  There have been several events about competitiveness and innovation. The flagship measurement of a country’s competitiveness is the World Economic Forum’s Global Competiveness Index. 

MarkStra Caribbean received permission to do the Global Competitiveness Survey in Curacao. While the results are practical for investors and policy makers, the questions also offer individual companies insight into competitiveness of their own firm and which areas to invest in for the future.

The process
The methodology asks for 90 participants. At this moment 70 professionals have participated. MarkStra is looking to recruit 20 more participants, especially among Manufacturing, Wholesale and Retail. If you are interested in the economy, globalism, competitiveness, innovation and strategy, please visit the Facebook page of  Global Competitiveness Survey Curacao 2013 and follow the link to the online survey. You can also contact Tamira La Cruz at 767-3085, for a personal interview
. Participants do not have to be the company owner or director. The focus is to get the opinion of professionals in each country regarding the factors that contribute to competitiveness in their country. 

MarkStra started the project in August with the help of UNA intern Yverna Hu-A-Ng. Says Ms. Hu –A-Ng: “The first thing we did was use data from CBS and Chamber of Commerce to get a good overview of the different sectors and number of businesses in each sector, so that we could draw a sample that is representative of the Curacaoan business landscape. We have received good cooperation from the Chamber of Commerce, CHATA and ADECK who posted the link on their  website or sent the request to their mailing list.  We also used MarkStra’s own database of more than 1,000 professionals. Of course, a 35 minute survey that asks questions one does not usually think of, can be daunting. That’s why we included an option where participants can save their work online and continue later. We know it takes a lot of time, so MarkStra will raffle a gift check of ANG 250 at Boolchand’s ComputerWorld as a sign of gratitude.’  

What’s in the survey
The survey covers areas such as: Innovation and Technology, Infrastructure, Financial Environment, Natural Environment, International Business and Investment, Education and Human Capital, General Company Strategy on a local scale, Corruption, Ethics and Social Responsibility, Tourism and Health. It is anonymous. The questions are thought-provoking and indicate what the factors for competitiveness are for companies and countries. For more information visit the Facebook page. Global Competitiveness Survey Curacao 2013.

Why this survey?

Says Tamira La Cruz, MBA, CEO of MarkStra : “My interest in the survey is trifold: professional, academic and nationalistic. MarkStra’s core business is to help companies grow their profit, revenue or following in an increasingly competitive global economy. We would like to know where the challenges are. In addition, I have written several academic articles on competitiveness and innovation in small states for local and regional publications. However, while the survey has been done for over 30 years, my country Curacao, was never included. That bothered me.  I was pleasantly surprised that, upon showing our credentials, the WEF immediately gave us permission to use their methodology and offered their support. We do it on our own cost, because WEF does not fund the survey in economies as small as ours. An initial round of fundraising locally did not yield enough support.