Project Manager Carlington Burrell.
Twenty Jamaicans will benefit from the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre’s (CCIC) US$149,000 entrepreneurial mentorship programme, which is providing assistance to over 200 persons across the region.
The programme, which is funded by the Caribbean Development Bank, will commence in Barbados in 2018 with 28 heads of supporting organizations participating in a ‘train the trainers’ session to facilitate the initiative’s seamless implementation.
Project Manager at the CCIC Carlington Burrell says several entrepreneurs from Europe, the United States, and Australia have linked with regional innovators, and anticipates that this will further support the programme’s rollout.
Speaking with JIS News at a recent Entrepreneurship Programme for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC) network mingle in Kingston, Burrell said the approximately US$500,000 in funding support, resulting from a partnership with the World Bank, has been facilitated through the CCIC for regional innovators involved in climate-related technology activities.
This, he said, has enabled the delivery of online courses in business studies to several entrepreneurs.
The CCIC, which was established in 2013, is a consortium jointly managed by Jamaica’s Scientific Research Council (SRC), and Trinidad and Tobago’s Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI). It is part of the World Bank’s InfoDev Climate Technology Programme (CTP), which focuses on empowering developing countries to proactively and profitably adapt, develop and deploy climate-smart technologies and business models.
The CCIC focuses on several engagements including water management, sustainable agriculture, and energy efficiency, for which it provides educational support, grants, support services to businesses through boot-camps and accelerator initiatives, while exposing innovators to a global network of experts.
“We are helping innovators in the Caribbean (by equipping them with skills) and (providing) them (with) access to financing. We (don’t) want young and vibrant (innovative) entrepreneurs to sit on their ideas. If you have an idea, come to us (and) we will connect you (to the appropriate experts and services), as we want to create an impact in the region,” Burrell added.
Meanwhile, Burrell said the CCIC continues to forge capacity building partnerships for regional entrepreneurs.
One such is with the United Kingdom-based Cherie Blair Foundation, which currently has 15 women enrolled in training and mentorship activities through its Enterprise Development Programme (EDP).
Under the EDP, women entrepreneurs in developing and emerging economies are mentored to access capital and markets. It also equips participants with business registration techniques, focusing on tailored financial literacy and awareness training, coupled with exposure to various investment options.
The Entrepreneurship Programme for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC) is another CCIC initiative that is empowering innovators. It aims to build an ecosystem that facilitates high-growth and sustainable enterprises across the Caribbean. The initiative, which is supported by the World Bank Group, enables this by promoting angel investments and innovative financing throughout the region.
World Bank Project Manager, Karlene Francis, says the multilateral institution’s support, through InfoDev, is intended to build a “robust ecosystem” of entrepreneurs for economic sustainability and job creation.
She encourages entrepreneurs and innovators to get involved in the programmes, and invites those engaged in climate-related activities in particular, to contact the SRC, or the University of the West Indies Consulting Company (UWIC).
Francis also assures persons involved in mobile app development, that the Bank is ready to assess their plans.
Project Manager at PitchiT Caribbean, Mellissa Johnson, believes there is a myriad of opportunities for innovators, which they need to access.
“We have enough capacity (in terms) of our own innovation; it is just a matter of execution, to put the Caribbean on the map as a tech and innovation hotspot,” she said.