The Caribbean Innovation Competition is officially on!

Bridgetown, September 1st, 2016 – Today the official launch ceremony of the Caribbean Innovation Competition took place in Bridgetown, Barbados. “It's an honor to join the distinguished guests for the Launch of the 2017 Caribbean Innovation Competition, the fourth edition of this annual support program and business accelerator for Caribbean entrepreneurs” said Valerie Lorena, Executive Director of the Young Americas Business Trust.

The Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs of Barbados, Maxine McClean, inaugurated the ceremony. “While some may argue that entrepreneurship cannot be taught, there is a contending perspective that it takes an entrepreneurial mind-set to pursue business opportunities (…) It is possible to foster such a mind-set” says Minister Maxine Mc Clean.

“It is my hope that as this programme grows and provide support for the region’s youth and other entrepreneurs, resources can be identified to undertake tracer studies of this and other programmes which are aimed at fostering entrepreneurship and innovation” concluded Mc Clean.

The launch also had the participation of Miss Heather Clarke, Registrar of CAIPO in Barbados; Mr Juan Carlos de la Hoz Vinas, Representative of the Inter-American Development Bank in Barbados; Mr Francis McBarnette, Representative of the Organization of American States in Barbados; Dr. Sylvia Dohnert, Executive Director of Compete Caribbean; Dr. Jeannine Comma, Chief Executive Officer/Director of the Cave Hill School of Business, University of the West Indies; Ms. Isabel Alvarez, Office of External Relations of the Inter-American Development Bank; Entrepreneurs, Partners and members of the Media. 

The Caribbean Innovation Competition is organized by the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT), in collaboration with REACH*, regional, and national partners. The official launch was followed by a Mini Business Lab (M-Lab), an intensive hands-on session, targeting potential entrepreneurs, to generate innovative ideas that can later be transformed into profitable businesses. 

“We want to acknowledge that the CIC would not be possible if it was not for the support of a very visionary group of people led by Ignacio De Leon back in Washington, DC conforming the REACH project, and a wide network of multilateral organizations, Governments, Universities, NGOs, Business Associations, that throughout all the Caribbean shape the CIC Support System; hundreds of committed people who believe in the potential of entrepreneurship to transform the region” said the Executive Director of YABT.

For this edition, the CIC will help transform intellectual ideas and intelligent solutions into profitable business models through the commercialization of Intellectual Entrepreneurial Assets (IEAs). The CIC will connect entrepreneurs with mentors, additional resources and online training throughout the process.

“I've had the privilege of personally witnessing how the CIC helps hundreds of dreamers, to make their ideas take off the ground, many of whom started with a new idea in a Business Lab, a research paper or by identifying a need; these ideas, with proper follow up and support, were taken to the market to benefit their communities” concluded Ms. Lorena.

Focused on "Digital Enterprises", the competition will award projects in the following Categories:

1. Creative Industries – generating, disseminating and commercialization of creative content in sectors such as: film, radio and TV production, advertising, music, design, videogames, fashion, performing arts, among others.

2. Technology Commercialization – effective transfer of university, engineering and research products, intellectual property (IP) and other discoveries to the marketplace for the benefit of society. This includes sectors such as Education, Health, Engineering, and Agriculture.

The CIC is part of the Talent and Innovation Competition of the Americas -TIC Americas, the most recognized hemispheric competition for young entrepreneurs in the Americas. The CIC and TIC Americas go beyond traditional competitions as they incorporate training and mentoring as a “before” stage and include follow-up activities, investment linkages and promotion opportunities as an “after” stage.

*REACH, the Caribbean Regional Entrepreneurial Asset Commercialization Hub, is an IDB funded regional technical cooperation project being executed by the University of the West Indies. REACH is aimed at building the commercialization capabilities of competitively selected Caribbean entrepreneurs and firms.

For more information visit: www.reachcompetition.net

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About the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT)

The Young Americas Business Trust (YABT) is an international non-profit organization, founded in 1999, and works in cooperation with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS). YABT supports OAS objectives and mandates of the Summit of the Americas, to develop and implement programs and activities that encourage entrepreneurship and leadership among youth in the countries of the Americas - fighting poverty and creating more opportunities for youth.