Jan-Mar 2013

In This Issue


Compete Caribbean Supporting Private Sector Development Tangibly
  • Caribbean Growth Forum (CGF) Takes Flight
  • Cellucian Receives US$500,000 Grant
  • Caribbean Idea Marketplace (CIM) Awards Winners
  • Apply to Enterprise Innovation Challenge Fund (EICF) USD100,000 Grants Open Now
  • 2013 Funding Opportunities
CGF Resonating Deeply Across Caribbean!
Sir Dwight VennerGovernor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Sir Dwight Venner addresses the CGF Launch in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Sir Dwight Venner, Governor of the Eastern
 Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) - CGF Launch in St. Vincent.
Prime Minister of St. Lucia addressing the CGF Launch there.

Prime Minister of St. Lucia, Hon. Kenny Anthony

 addressing the CGF Launch there.

Since the official launch of the Caribbean Growth Forum (CGF) in Jamaica in June 2012, Compete Caribbean has successfully unveiled regional CGF chapters in 8 countries: Dominican Republic, Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, Dominica and Suriname.
Packed halls participated in the forums that have so far primarily focused on inclusive growth to generate jobs and opportunities for all citizens in the caribbean. Consensual action plans to support private sector developemnt in each country are expected.
CGF is a two-year regional platform for dialogue to foster higher levels of economic growth with opportunities for all in the region. It is a partnership between the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and Compete Caribbean, with support from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The CGF builds on existing partnerships and involves stakeholders from the public and private sectors, academia and civil society, as well as the Caribbean Diaspora.

Participants ranged from the public and private sectors, youth, academia, media and civil society to discuss about the key factors that have the greatest potential to increase growth in each of their territories. Discussions surrounded ways to strengthen the investment climate, upgrade education and develop skills that improve competitiveness and generate higher-paying jobs. They also addressed key actions needed to improve logistics and connectivity; especially by making key infrastructure services more affordable and efficient; including information technology, transportation and electricity.
An engaging session CGF session in progress.
An engaging CGF session in progress
Working groups in each country will meet a minimum of six hours; so far over 100 facilitated meetings have taken place.
Executive Director of Compete Caribbean, Sylvia Dohnertnoted: "Compete Caribbean, as a private sector development program, sponsors the CGF because it is confident that this methodology of public-private dialogue is an effective way to build consensus around an agenda that will support a competitive private sector driving growth throughout the region,"


"The Caribbean Growth Forum represents an important opportunity for the Caribbean to take a critical look at some binding constraints to growth and how alternative development paths can be shaped in order to strengthen economic resilience," said Carl Howell, Chief Economist of the Caribbean Development Bank.

Meanwhile, CGF Coordinator for the World Bank, Andrea Gallina explained: The CGF brings a noin-traditional approach to the greatest challenge currently faced by the region - creating sustainable growth - by building a national, action-oriented dialogue involving all segments of society, and coupling it with a transparent accountability mechanism. A thriving economy that generates sustainable growth and greater opportunities for all Caribbean people must be a shared responsibility among all stakeholders."
The first phase of the initiative will be completed this year uwith the production of an action plan by each of the 15 Caribbean countries participating in the Forum. The action plans will include concrete policy recommendations that would then be implemented by each country. Interested citizens will have a continuous opportunity to learn more about and engage in the CGF via the official CGF web site and social media channels.
Cellestial Receives US$500,000!
George Benson
Mark Twain once said: A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.


Not only did Executive Director of Cellestial, George Benson have a new idea, that idea succeeded and just earned his St. Lucian firm a Compete Caribbean grant of half a million US dollars! Yes! That's right...USD500,000!

A simple but astute observation built Cellestial from bottom up. Returning to St. Lucia from a business trip, George found himself seated next to a young lady rummaging through her hand bag; she eventually removed a total of three mobile phones from her bag and this amused George while at the same time, a proverbial light bulb went off in his head.


This brainstorm led to the birth of the first four-sim card cellular phone plus tablets with sim-card slots and schoolchild directed mini-laptops for the CARICOM market. The partnership between Compete Caribbean and Cellestial seems like the proverbial "match made in heaven". From Compete Caribbean's perspective, Cellestial is the epitome of innovation where a developing business is concerned; while  Cellestial views Compete Caribbean as somewhat of a fairy godmother, so to speak. 


"Overwhelmed. Ecstatic. Grateful. These are the first emotions that overcame me when I realised I was the recipient of the Compete Caibbean Innovation Grant. This cash injection will go a long way to further develop the business especially by  expanding the portfolio  of products we currently offer," said an emotional George. 


In operation for just ten months, the company not only meets a major demand in the Caribbean but also provides exclusive employment for women, single mothers  and female graduates from the St. Lucia National Skills Development Centre (NSDC) who are all skilled assembly technicians. "The Cellestial recruitment process provides unemployed young ladies with both intensive in-house training in consumer communications, electronics assembly and life skills through the NSDC which leads to both personal growth and professional development" explained George.


He further pointed out that Cellestial provides private medical coverage for each employee and their immediate family. We have work hour configurations to allow staff to get Friday afternoons off to complete personal and family business. We also have plans to offer daycare in the near future." George added that ideal working conditions create loyalty that directly translates into high quality production. "Our goal is to create a workplace environment conducive to the empowerment of St. Lucia technicians infused with a pride of manufacturing world-quality products." 


Furthermore, George revealed a Cellestial project: "Haiti Calling Initiative" which refurbishes abandoned non-working mobile phones for export and distribution to disadvantaged persons in Haiti free of cost, a concept born out of his experience that more cellular phone ownership in that country during the many natural disasters in recent times would have saved more lives. 


Enterprise Innovation Challenge Fund (EICF) Coordinator, Celene Cleland-Gomez said: "We are absolutely delighted that Cellestial was successful in this process. Cellestial's success signals that there is incredible innovative capacity in the region at the firm level and that Compete Caribbean's challenge fund is an effective instrument of support! We are proud to be partnered with George and RCL and look forward to working with them in implementation."

Four Winners Awarded USD100,000!
Ten entrepreneurs pitched their innovative projects to a large audience in Kingston, Jamaica for the opportunity to receive feedback on their innovative business ideas have their presentation skills critiqued, gain exposure to alternative funders and a chance to attend the Global Forum on Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship.

 At the end of the process, four of the entrepreneurs: Jamaica/Isocon-Jlb International Ltd., Guyana/Plympton Farms, Barbados/Genius Jack & his Tropical Friends and Haiti/Mache.A. were each awarded USD100,000 Compete Caribbean grants to further develop their business ideas.

The platform was the Caribbean Idea Marketplace (CIM) which is a business competition that aims to foster collaboration between local Caribbean businesses and Caribbean diaspora entrepreneurs, to develop innovative small and medium enterprise (SME) projects that will generate employment and economic growth in the region by providing matching grant funding. 

Over 160 applications were received from across the Caribbean and after a vigorous review process, 12 projects were selected as finalists, each of which received an in-kind contribution of USD10,000 to develop their business plans. These business plans were then scrutinized by an external Investment Panel composed of prominent bankers and businessmen, who recommended the granting of the awards. The 12 finalists were: 


CIM Awardees Were All Smiles!

Jamaica/Isocon-Jlb International Ltd. 

Jamaica/GrOganic Sustainable Farming Solutions

Guyana/Plympton Farms


Jamaica/Jamaica Agricultural Exchange (JAE)

Jamaica/GSW Animation

Jamaica/Mobile Money for Microfinance

Barbados/Genius Jack & his Tropical Friends

Jamaica/Caribbean Digital Media Academy

St. Lucia/Caribbean Environmental Solutions, Inc.

Trinidad & Tobago/Commercial Solid Waste Recycling

Dominican Republic/Santo Domingo Waste Recycling Plant

Pitches were well received and generated many interesting questions from additional potential funding sources about the feasibility, profitability and sustainability of the prospective businesses. The highly anticipated CIM Awards Ceremony occurred later that evening to announce the four grant awardees and related special awards.


The Dominican Republic/Santo Domingo Waste Recycling Plant received a special Award for Excellence in Innovation for their impressive and sound project proposal, whose size unfortunately exceeded the parameters of the CIM.

Additionally, three other CIM contenders were specially chosen by developemnt partners International Diapora Engagement Alliance (IdEA) (http://www.state.gov/s/partnerships/diaspora/index.htm)

and InfoDev (http://www.infodev.org/en/index.html) to attend the Global Forum on Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship in South Africa in May 2013. Those were: Jamaica/Mobile Money for Microfinance, Trinidad & Tobago/Commercial Solid Waste Recycling and Jamaica/Caribbean Digital Media Academy. 

The event was a Compete Caribbean Program initiative in collaboration with donors Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Canadian International development Agency (CIDA) and Department for International Development (DFID), along with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), as well as, Scotiabank, Digicel, Infodev and IdEA.


If you have an innovative business idea, check out these open calls and APPLY NOW!
Click To Apply                                                                           Click To Apply
More 2013 Grant Opportunities...

Get information on other competitions under the topis of Innovation and Clusters!
Interested in Innovation Window, contact: kdrayton@iadb.org
Interested in Cluster Window, contact: louisea@iadb.org

Compete Caribbean is a private sector development program that provides technical assistance grants and investment funding to support productive development policies, business climate reforms, clustering initiatives and Small and Medium Size Enterprise (SME) development activities in the Caribbean region. The program, jointly funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), supports projects in 15 Caribbean countries. The program's estimated value is US$40.0 million, of which DFID and CIDA contributed US$32.55 million. Projects in the OECS countries are implemented in partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank.