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Enterprise Centre lands US$3.5 million project
The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute’s (Cariri) Centre for Enterprise Development (CED) secured a $US3.5 million World Bank project to establish a Regional Climate Innovation Centre for the Caribbean even before the doors to its spanking new $15 million facility were formally opened on Wednesday.
Planning and Sustainable Development Minister Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie announced the project as he formally commissioned the CED building at Innovation Drive, Freeport. He described the facility as a pivotal step towards the diversification of the economy. Tewarie said Cariri successfully negotiated with the World Bank to establish a regional climate centre to be located at the CED building.
“This is being undertaken with the Scientific Research Council of Jamaica as a collaborative venture and the project value is $3.5 million over five years. This project will formally launch in four to eight weeks,” he said. He said the project was important since it would bring research and knowledge of climate change and related matters together in an imaginative approach to problems “which will yield innovative solutions and actual innovations.”
Tewarie said the concept behind the CED was to create a facility “that can become a sustainable infrastructure for the creation of new businesses.” He said the CED would provide an avenue for development of the creative and innovation industries and offer businesses within those industries a facility to grow their ideas.
“The CED is not just a building. It represents government’s commitment to engendering and encouraging enterprise and innovation. And enterprise must be the driving force for generating higher levels of economic growth,” he said.
The facility has four buildings—a business incubator, a technology incubator which houses a robotics lab, an M centre for software development and an Information and Communication Technology (ICT)/Techmania centre. There are already entrepreneur tenants using the facility for their internet-based operations. Cariri CEO Liaquat Ali Shah said the CED was the fruition of a dream to have a facility to encourage innovation, invention and creativity.
He said software giant Microsoft and telecommunications provider Digicel have partnered with the M centre where applications for computers and smartphones will be developed.