The Online Business Registry System (OBRS) of Belize was selected as a World Summit on the Information Society Forum (WSIS) Prize 2023 champion following a comprehensive review by a panel of experts.
Created to enhance accessibility to business registration services in Belize and launched in November 2022, OBRS was one of 900 submitted projects at the 2023 WSIS champion awards, of which 360 were nominated for online voting. After more than 1.5 million votes cast, OBRS was among the topmost voted in its category, “e-business- ICT applications: benefits in all aspects of life”.
The summit, representing the largest annual gathering of the ICT for development community, was held at the Geneva International Congress Center in Switzerland on Wednesday (March 15).
Winning the champion award is a major accomplishment for Belize and stakeholders involved in the execution of the project.
The contest was developed in response to requests from WSIS stakeholders to create an effective mechanism to evaluate projects and activities that leverage the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to advance sustainable development.
“The WSIS Prizes provide a distinctive worldwide platform for recognising and highlighting exemplary accomplishments in executing the WSIS Action Lines and SDGs. We are extremely proud of being awarded a Champion Prize and are grateful to the WSIS and ITU for the honour,” said Claude Haylock, director-general of the Financial Services Commission (FSC) in Belize.
Haylock further hailed the OBRS as a challenging yet rewarding process to implement and a foundational milestone for Belize’s digital transformation.
The Belizean FSC championed the project itself under the Ministry of Finance and the Belize Companies and Corporate Affairs Registry.
“We would also like to pay tribute to other stakeholders that were key in the creation and implementation of the project including Prime Minister John Briceño, Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of E-Governance, Economic Development Council, Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Elevate Consulting Limited and NRD Companies,” Haylock continued.
OBRS, the first digital registry service of its kind in Belize, was created to enhance accessibility to business registration services, modernise business registration products, improve data integrity and raise awareness of the value of business creation to the economy. The system is based on the Norway-based NRD Companies’ Unified Registry Platform (URP).
Mindaugas Glodas, CEO of NRD Companies, responsible for creating and implementing OBRS in Belize, commented that “being awarded a prestigious WSIS Champions prize is an extraordinary achievement for Belize and as a solution developer and implementer throughout the project, we are extremely happy for our client.”
“NRD Companies have been involved in numerous successful digital government transformation projects in Central America and [the] Caribbean, including in Guyana, Grenada, St Lucia, Sint Maarten, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Our world-leading 27 years of global experience in the industry and 150 register-related projects in 30 jurisdictions have shown that incorporating digital innovations, similar to the one introduced in Belize, has resulted in notable enhancements in the delivery of government services. This will positively impact several areas, including ease of doing business, ensuring financial security, promoting inclusivity, and enhancing overall living standards,” Glodas added.