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IDB invests in Startup Weekend

Published: 
Thursday, November 30, 2017
GERARD THOMAS

The Inter American Development Bank’s (IDB) sponsorship of the Startup Weekend is indicative of its support to develop entrepreneurship in the country.

Carina Cockburn, chief of operations at the Inter-American Development Bank, said last Thursday that they view Startup Weekend as a perfect opportunity to encourage individuals to partner with organisations to solve challenges that affect everyone.

Startup Weekend was held from November 24 to November 26 with attendees bringing their best ideas to inspire others to join their team.

On Saturday and Sunday, teams focused on customer development, validating their ideas, and building a minimal viable product with the help of various mentors.

On Sunday evening, teams demoed their prototypes to a panel of judges and received valuable feedback about their business idea.

Launch Rockit is the local organiser for the global bi-annual event.

This is the 8th Startup Weekend held in T&T, with events being held in over 150 countries around the world.

Cockburn added that the IDB’s initiative is also aligned with the Government’s ongoing effort to develop an entrepreneurial culture in T&T.

“Through this partnership with Launch Rockit, not only will participants have a space for their ideas to be nurtured and flourish, they will also be provided the opportunity to overcome a stumbling block that keeps so many good ideas from coming to fruition—access to finance.”

Cockburn also added that they hope that this event enables and empowers persons to go beyond identifying problems to solving them, and that it will help cultivate a solution-oriented culture where the citizens see these challenges as opportunities.

“When it comes to improving lives, we recognise that everyone has a part to play and we are 100 percent committed to making our contribution and collaborating closely with other stakeholders,” she said.

Local organiser

Gerard Thomas, CEO of Launch RockIt, described the event as a weekend business bootcamp where like-minded individuals (anyone who is interested in turning an idea into a business) come together to share ideas, form teams and turn real ideas into businesses.

He said the theme for this year’s event was National Solutions Driven by Citizens’ Ideas.

“We asked citizens who have ideas that can improve education, tourism, culture, housing, security, community, health, transport, agriculture or any public sector across T&T, to attend to pitch and build their idea in one weekend. After Startup Weekend, winners will get training to help strengthen their pitches and pilot their ideas, and have a chance to receive funding up to US $10,000, through the support of the Inter

American Development Bank and Launch RockIt.”

He said Startup Weekend is for anyone, at any age, and with any skillset willing to participate with the only requirement being that participants’ ideas must be able to improve the lives of others and the country.

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