Port of Spain, Trinidad, and Tobago, 21 July 2022 – Fifteen (15) firms have been selected for the award of grant funding from the European Union and IDB under the Innovation Challenge Facility’s First Call for Proposals to implement their innovative project initiatives. The fifteen were chosen out of a field of over one hundred and fifty – three eligible SMEs that applied under the Call for grant funding. They will benefit from a share of the 7.5 M USD that was made available. To mark the achievement, the partners hosted an Awards Ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, Port of Spain Ballroom. Minister of Planning Development, The Honourable Pennelope Beckles-Robinson, MP, delivered the feature address.
The fifteen firms that were awarded grant funding are as follows: CariPay Ltd, Cocobel Chocolate, Dingole LTD, E-Box Tenders Ltd, Medl, Enquiretech Limited, Epilimnion Aquaculture Ltd, Hello Green Products Limited, Knokau Ice Cream Ltd., Livhealth – A Partner On Your Healthcare Journey Ltd, Milagros Solutions Limited, Rojas Engineering Ltd, Shamrock HSE, Trincargo International Services Company Limited and Trinidad and Tobago Fine Cocoa Company Limited. Their projects cover a variety of sectors – all intended to contribute to diversifying the local economy and making it more globally competitive.
Shaping The Future of Innovation is a key project initiative intended to contribute to the development of a national innovation ecosystem and an innovation mindset through three Components: The Innovation Challenge Facility (ICF); Building Industry and Academic Linkages; and Building an Innovation Network. These components will address the following identified shortcomings in fostering innovation in Trinidad and Tobago: funding, industry-academia collaboration, and stakeholder networking. The project is also intended to facilitate innovation reporting and benchmarking for international indices such as the Global Innovation Index.
The ICF, which is the largest component of the Shaping the Future of Innovation project, makes approximately 7.5 M USD in grants available to SMEs, the primary beneficiaries, to engage in innovative activities. It targets primarily small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with an established commercial track record and other organisations/clusters innovating delivery of goods and services. These can be from the following sectors: Technologies for Inclusion; ICT; Renewable Energy; Energy Efficiency; Waste Reduction; High-Value Agribusiness, and Manufacturing. The funds will be made available over the course of the next three years via Calls for Proposals targeting established TT businesses.
The project is a partnership among the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, through the Ministry of Planning and Development, the European Union, IDB Lab and the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) as the Executing Agency. CARIRI is being assisted in project administration by the Management Consulting Consortium of Beta Technology Ltd. and EUROCHAM TT.
In her feature address, the Honourable Pennelope Beckles, Minister of Planning and Development, made a unique appeal to the young innovators, entrepreneurs, SMEs and larger businesses to: “take full advantage of these opportunities. If only we can transform ourselves and our own mindset, then together we have a real opportunity to transform our economy and our country.”
H.E. Peter Cavendish, Ambassador, Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, posited that “the economy of the future is the ‘entrepreneurial economy’ where smaller businesses with the ability to be more flexible and creative will drive growth.” He further reminded the awardees and those like-minded, enterprising individuals across the country that it is they who hold the keys to the future economic development of Trinidad and Tobago.
Ms Carina Cockburn, IDB Country Representative IDB Trinidad and Tobago, in her address, stated, “We are well aware that the lack of access to relevant financing instruments for innovation has been a persistent challenge for many SMEs and has become an even more pressing issue as businesses seek to emerge and reset in the wake of the pandemic. This program is definitely going to be a part of the solution. By awarding these companies today, we hope to encourage more innovation and productivity in Trinidad and Tobago and signal to other financing entities that this type of investment can be a wise and fruitful use of their capital.”
Mr Hayden Ferreira, Chairman, CARIRI, pointed out that “the strides made by CARIRI in building capacity and capability for Innovation over the past decade have ensured that the institution is at the forefront of the thrust to transform the economy into one truly driven by innovation and knowledge. The Shaping, the Future of Innovation Project is a timely intervention which, through its three Components, has the potential to contribute to closing the gaps in the innovation ecosystem and thereby enhancing the prospects for realising the desired developmental outcomes.”
Beta Technologies Ltd/EUROCHAMTT – Innovation Challenge Facility: Ms Marie Louise Norton-Murray, Project Manager, added, “We are thrilled and grateful to have the opportunity to work on this project with CARIRI, and we commend the Partners for supporting the three components which make up Shaping the Future of Innovation’ It is only through innovation that the country can remain competitive in a global market.”
To learn more about the Shaping the Future of Innovation Project, visit https://future.cariri.com/.