News Releases

Business Guru Alex Pratt delivers Distinguished Lecture at UWI

For Release Upon Receipt - October 29, 2012

St. Augustine

The University of the West Indies will host a Distinguished Lecture by leading UK entrepreneur and business guru Alex Pratt, titled “Innovation and Enterprise in a Small Island Developing Economy,” on Tuesday 6th November, 2012, at 6.30pm, at Theatre 1, Block 13, Faculty of Engineering, UWI, St Augustine. 

The lecture, jointly facilitated by the Caribbean Centre for Competitiveness (CCfC), will focus on how businesses can survive – and even thrive – in tough economic conditions. Mr Pratt, who will also speak at the CCfC’s first Regional Competitiveness Forum on November 5th and 6th at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain, is the author of Austerity Business: 39 Tips for Doing More With Less, and the founder and chairman of Serious Brands Ltd, which specialises in lighting for over-50 readers, as well as use in military and industrial applications. His company built the only global brand for industrial sewing lamps, as well as lights used on space shuttles, in James Bond movies, for map-reading in military Humvees, by lifeboat crews, opticians and surgeons. It is a £6m turnover, high-growth business that employs 50 people and trades internationally.

Mr Pratt received an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 2006, and the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion last year. He is also the author of the UK’s national business support brokerage model, and led the establishment of the most innovative Business Link in the UK. He was the first to highlight the importance of clusters to UK industrial policy. He has wide experience of SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) issues in the public sector. He has wide international business experience and advises governments on innovation and competitiveness strategies. As an industrialist adviser to various British governments, Mr Pratt was a crucial catalyst behind the re-branding Britain initiative Cool Britannia, and was the spark behind refocusing export support for UK creative industries.  

He is an active supporter of the National Enterprise Academy and has lectured on innovation, leadership, and entrepreneurship at the London Business School, the London School of Economics, the National School of Government, and at the Academy for Chief Executives. He is the Buckinghamshire Entrepreneur of the Year and Chairman of the Bucks Economic and Learning Partnership. He is a long-serving Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a Justice of the Peace. He is an Alumni of St Andrews University and London and Kellogg Business Schools.

Mr Pratt says pretending that things will one day “return to normal” means denying reality. He believes business must adopt a new philosophy in this age of austerity, when there’s less money, reduced workforces and smaller appetites for risk. He calls for businesses to return to the fundamentals: intelligent spending, informed decisions, smart staffing and first-rate customer service. Yes, current economic conditions have created hesitancy and insecurity, but now is your opportunity to formulate a strategy and execute an action plan that will help ensure your survival and, perhaps, lead to prosperity.  In 2007, Mr Pratt became the founding director of the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation, and has advised the Barbadian Cabinet and Invest Barbados on how to rebrand for a globally competitive world. Mr Pratt, who was responsible for the rebranding campaign “Cool Britannia”, promises that those who attend the Distinguished Lecture will take away tips for beating the pack and succeeding where others fail. “You will derive more confidence that some of what you are doing might just work,” he says. “You will also spot some things that you should stop doing.” 

His philosophy is: Yes, times are tough, but then again, Disney, Hewlett-Packard and FedEx were all started during tough economic times. And he lives by the motto of Warren Buffet: “The first rule is not to lose. The second rule is not to forget the first rule.”

For further information, please contact Patricia Sampson at


About UWI

Over the last six decades, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged University with over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. UWI recently launched its Open Campus, a virtual campus with over 50 physical site locations across the region, serving over 20 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Pure & Applied Sciences, Science and Agriculture, and Social Sciences. 

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)