February/March 2015

New Data on Caribbean Firms' Productivity, Technology and Innovation Coming Soon!


In the Caribbean, the relationship between firm-level productivity and firm-specific as well as contextual variables have traditionally not been well understood, due largely to unavailability of data.

Until 2011, the region did not have firm-level, internationally comparable data that could shed light on the variables that affected productivity. 


To fill this gap and to facilitate a better understanding of firm level growth in the region, Compete Caribbean funded a Caribbean Enterprise and Indicator Survey in 14 countries that was conducted as part of the World Bank's 2011 Latin American and Caribbean Enterprise Surveys (LACES).


In 2014, Compete Caribbean generated the second round of data by repeating the survey for 13 countries, updating the data on enterprises and including additional variables linked to productivity, technology and innovation (PROTEqIN) at the firm level. Read More

Eco-Friendly Designer Purses 
Made in St. Kitts & Nevis

St. Kitts & Nevis is now producing eco-friendly designer purses from recycled and reusable materials under the brand name of REECII.


At REECII, they are obsessed with art.  They think differently and it shows in everything they do. Their products are designed to challenge the status quo. All pieces are handmade with love and beautifully designed with art in mind. 


"We know we make the most beautifully designed items on the planet and we do our part to preserve it.  We don't imitate, we innovate. We don't follow, we lead. We proudly label ourselves as instigators." ~ REECII


REECII oversees production, which is done in small factories and homes located in St Kitts and Nevis. Their products provide jobs for many single women and marginalized males, who would not otherwise be able to earn their own income. 


The purses are created from recycled candy wrappers, magazines and other materials. They are cut, folded and woven together into the form of the purses. The weaving creates a tight chain that locks each piece of paper to one another. The purses are specially laminated to protect them from easy tear and spillage. Read More

For the second time in three years, the Compete Caribbean Program has bolstered discussions surrounding the Competitiveness agenda in Suriname. This time, the Program provided its support to the second Competitiveness Forum Suriname entitled: "Building Together a Strategic Economic Plan for Suriname; an Inclusive Approach." The targeted forum was hosted in Paramaribo on March 11 and 12, 2015 and sought to capitalize on the ground that was gained in the preceding two years where Competitiveness is concerned.


The event engaged over 300 participants over the one and a half day long proceedings on areas related to strategic planning, economic diversification strategies and tapping into the growth potential in the economy as well as strategies for effective implementation. The participants came for various backgrounds and represented all spheres. In attendance were reputable speakers and panel members from Suriname and abroad who shared their specific experiences and their views with decision-makers, representatives from the private sector and civil society, youth, academics, other donor agencies as well as representatives from various political organizations and social groups. Click For Presentations


The first forum that was supported by the Compete Caribbean Program was held in 2013 and was focused on getting broad support for the concept of strengthening National Competitiveness, identifying mechanisms to reduce the productivity gap and to gather input for the formulation of a National Competitiveness Strategy. Taking this a step further, the second Forum was aimed at setting the stage for the promotion of the joint formulation of a Strategic Economic Plan for Suriname.


With this foundation in place, the Competitiveness Unit Suriname, with the support of Compete Caribbean and its donors are on a quest to select priority sectors for the benefit of efficient diversification of the Suriname economy as well as identify and implement business climate reforms that will seek to strengthen productivity at all levels through a series of targeted interventions. 

A New and Sustainable Path for Caribbean Agriculture


By: Anabella Palacios

Editor and Consultant

Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF)


Historically, the Caribbean islands were known for producing and exporting very valuable commodities like bananas, sugar, rice, coffee, and cocoa. But over the past two decades, agriculture in that part of our region has been in a state of decline. With limits on available land, relatively high costs of living, environmental issues, and other challenges, it's difficult for Caribbean farmers to compete with larger producers on the North and South American continents. The way forward will have to focus on specialization and sustainability.


The MIF and Compete Caribbean recently commissioned a study on sustainable agriculture initiatives and how they might be introduced in the Caribbean. Since agricultural production in the islands is dominated by smallholder farmers who are undercapitalized, technologically limited, unaware of best practices and certification standards, and extremely vulnerable to climate change effects, the study suggests that a comprehensive policy framework should be established to support coordinated investment. Read More

Dominican Republic Spearheading 
Improved Consumer Welfare in the Region

Seven years ago, the Dominican Republic enacted a law to promote and protect competition; which is expected to lead to increased economic efficiency in that country as well as to set an example for  improved consumer welfare in the Caribbean.

"Semana de la Competencia" (Competition Week) was hosted by the National Commission for the Protection of Competition - Pro-Competencia from February 2nd - 5th, 2015 to mark the seventh anniversary  of the enactment of  "Ley General de Defensa de la Competencia No. 42-08" (competition Law No.42-08).

The week of activities were focused on improving the knowledge of  economic agents, state institutions, academia and the general population on competition law with the aim of promoting a competitive business culture and publicizing the role of Competition Law in the economic efficiency of national productive sectors. 

Read More

Compete Caribbean Improving Farmers' Lives


Through its Enterprise Innovation Challenge Fund (EICF), Compete Caribbean has awarded a coconut water cluster based in the Pomeroon region in Guyana technical assistance valued at USD500.000.


The project will provide farmers in the region with key inputs to increase the productivity of their farms in order to meet the high demand for quality coconut water in Trinidad and Tobago, as well as to explore additional markets for other Pomeroon agricultural products, including organic and fair-trade niches, thereby increasing farmers' revenues.


The Compete Caribbean technical grant is expected to assist with the expansion of coconut production in the Lower Pomeroon; the improvement of harvesting techniques and drainage maintenance; and also with the linking of the farmers and Virgin-Caribbean through transparent mutually beneficial contractual agreements.

Executive Director of Compete Caribbean said:

"Compete Caribbean is proud to award a grant that will go a long way in improving the livelihoods of the farmers in the region. By strengthening farmers' ability to increase productivity in coconut water harvesting and their links to coconut water exporting firm Virgin Caribbean the region is poised to experience significant development and growth."

This project signals that there is incredible innovative capacity in the region at the cluster level and that Compete Caribbean's funding is an effective instrument of support. Compete Caribbean is proud to be partnered with the Pomeroon and Virgin-Caribbean, and is look forward to working with them in implementation.

Pure Grenada Project 
Supported by Compete Caribbean
Blazes Big Screen!
Very popular US based talk show host Ellen Degeneres recently held an audience competition which offered an all expenses trip to Grenada as one of the prizes. Pure Grenada project's logo was featured prominently in the background throughout the segment. Learn More About Pure Grenada

The Caribbean Science (CSF) invites students who are more than 16 but less than 18 years of age on July 1, 2015 who are passionate about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and interested in pursuing STEM-based careers, to apply for the all-expenses-paid 2015 Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE).


The student application deadline is March 31, 2015, and the SPISE runs from July 18 to August 15, 2015 in Barbados. Learn More

Barbados: Mini Grants Available
Deadline: April 6, 2015

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) is providing financing through the Future Centre Trust for the Green Business Barbados Program.


The main objective of this financing  is to promote the use of energy/water efficiency and waste reduction measures by SMEs  through their participation in the GBB certification program. One of the main activities supported by this financing will be the provision of a maximum of 17 mini-grants.


Local small businesses (1-10 employees) are invited to apply for mini-grants to assist with the cost of either Green Business Barbados program certification fees or interventions which align with the Green Business Barbados standard. Learn More

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Inter-American Development Bank



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