“Trinidad and Tobago,” I patiently repeated for the second time.
“What?” She frustratingly retorted.
In the last three decades, Caricom countries have spent between US$700 million and US$3.3 billion in the aftermath of extreme weather events, Planning and Sustainable Development Minister Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie revealed when he spoke at the recent launch of the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC) at the Centre for Enterprise Development in Freeport.
He said the Centre would be used to engage entrepreneurs in a space where viable commercial solutions could be achieved through engagement, incubation, nurturing, and support for creation of sustainable businesses related climate change. “Entrepreneurship does matter and it does make a difference. It comes from the imaginative capacity of the human mind,” Tewarie said
Last June, the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (Cariri), which falls under the ambit of the Ministry of Planning, collaborated with the Scientific Research Council of Jamaica in an agreement with the World Bank for Phase I of the five-year project. In Phase 1, the CCIC will be focused on assisting organisations and entrepreneurs with venture acceleration, technology commercialisation and market development Specific initiatives arising from these areas include:
• Building a pipeline of high-impact new ventures focusing on climate solutions through the provision of proof of concept funding to test commercial viability.
• Helping CCIC clients to access funding, within an accelerated timeframe, from capital companies that focus on early growth-stage projects/businesses. CCIC will achieve this through provision of targeted pre-investment advisory services and investment facilitation and syndication.
• Identifying and developing local, regional and international markets, providing an avenue for innovative climate and climate-change related solutions through provision of research and data for informed decision making.
Also a member of this partnership is the Scientific Research Council of Jamaica. Representing the Jamaican government was the Phillip Paulwell, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining who said the impacts of climate change were very real and destructive. Paulwell reminded the audience of recent regional and global events as a result of adverse weather conditions.
The development of the CCIC is in keeping with other initiatives of the Ministry of Planning. Currently, the Council for Competitiveness and Innovation (CCI) has given support for entrepreneurialism through the Idea 2 Innovation grant mechanism which was started in 2012. To date, more than 100 entrepreneurs have received funding and technical support to develop their ideas.
The Centre for Enterprise Development (CED) has also been an initiative of the Planning Ministry through Cariri as a physical space to promote innovative business development and entrepreneurship.