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Background of the Shaping the Future of Innovation Project
Why does the Government of Trinidad and Tobago see Innovation as necessary for the development of the nation?
To know why innovation is necessary we must first understand what innovation is. It is about new ways of doing things that add value or new products and services that add value. The keywords here are “adding value” and for our economy, firms, innovation is at the heart of issues such as competitive advantage, increased productivity, and economic progress. It is the transformation of new ideas into solutions that can be used either for economic benefit or even social benefit.
The core objective of the Shaping the Future of Innovation project is to spur private sector-led innovation that can contribute to new growth, exports and direct and indirect jobs/livelihoods. The project also seeks to strengthen coordination of the local innovation ecosystem and report on innovation indicators to facilitate a more accurate representation of innovation in Trinidad and Tobago as a basis for planning and policymaking.
The program seeks to address three critical barriers to innovation:
- Innovation financing, particularly in the private sector
- Absence of dedicated in house talent, especially in new technologies that can support firm-level innovation
- An uncoordinated ecosystem comprising a wide range of actors that work in silos rendering assistance time consuming, fragmented and in many cases unhelpful to SME
The Shaping the Future of Innovation project is a partnership between the Government of Trinidad and Tobago through the Ministry of Planning and Development, the European Union (EU) and IDB Lab in collaboration with The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) as the project implementing partner. The project is financed by the European Union and the IDB Lab and is currently in the mobilization stage.
The project will support the following interventions
An innovation challenge facility where private organisations in various sectors can apply for funding for commercial innovations that have been developed and are close to market readiness or already piloted
A matching platform that will allow firms seeking to pursue an R&D / innovation project to select an intern from recent post graduate students in various areas that they need assistance – food tech, agri tech, renewables, data science etc. These interns will assist firms in developing innovations by providing specific specialized knowledge and support and will gain experience and have opportunities for co-publication of their work with the firm.
Key institutions with a mandate to support private sector led innovation in Trinidad and Tobago will work together to define and implement 2-3 key interventions that can strengthen innovation within the private sector, including strengthening data collection and reporting of key indicators that measure country level innovation.
Project Target Audience
- Private sectorlocal chambers and associations, entrepreneurs, corporate entities etc, SMEs.
- Government and public sector agencies collaborating with businesspersons
- Universities, Research, and Innovation labs, think and tech hubs, innovators, accelerators, start-ups, etc
- General Members of the public