September 2015
UK Prime Minister David Cameron Visits Nutmeg Plant in Grenada
UK Prime Minister David Cameron interacts with workers at the nutmeg plant while Grenada's Prime Minister, Keith Mitchell looks on.
During an active two-day visit to the Caribbean region on September 28-30, Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom visited the nutmeg processing plant in Gouyave, Grenada.
Grenada is one of the largest exporters of nutmeg in the world and Compete Caribbean is partnering with the Government of Grenada to modernize and rationalize the incentives to attract private sector investment in nutmeg, cocoa and other indigenous spices.
Justine Greening, Britain's Secretary of State for International Development and Colleen Wainwright, Head of the Department for International Development (DFID) Caribbean and UK Director of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), were part of the visitng UK delegation. Sylvia Dohnert, Executive Director of Compete Caribbean, accompanied the high-level mission to the nutmeg plant. DFID, the Government of Canada and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) are the main donors of the Compete Caribbean Program, while the  CDB serves as the OECS partner agency. 

Nutmeg workers diligently carrying out their duties.
Permanent Secretary of Agriculture Lands and the Environment, Merina Jessamy flanked by staff of the nutmeg plant during the high level tour.

Grenadian ministers of government, Hon. Roland Bhola, Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, Fisheries and Environment as well as Hon. Alvin Da Breo, the Minister of State in that ministry, also accompanied Prime Minister Cameron on the tour. 
Veerhouse Voda Launches Modern Facility in Haiti
Veerhouse Voda Haiti SA (VVHSA) has introduced locally produced, environmentally sustainable buildings to Haiti.
CEO of Veerhouse Voda, Brendon 
Brewster cutting the ribbon.
VVHSA joins the company of five other Compete Caribbean funded projects in Haiti that all seek to improve the lives of Haitians while providing much needed services and dynamism to the economy.

The Compete Caribbean technical assistance will allow VVHSA to support the production of low cost, disaster resilient building material that uses environmentally sensitive techniques. The project is funding engineering services and brand recognition.

On September 10, VVHSA announced the official opening of its Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) panel Production and Recycling production plant of EPS in Drouillard (West Department). 

Used for the construction of housing and buildings, the innovative EPS material is resistant to earthquakes, major climatic hazards, floods and fire and reduces the cost of construction. All waste is 100% recyclable and duration is well above 70 years of life.
EPS demo for guests.

VVHSA is a private limited liability company that provides technology and building materials for disaster resilient, low cost construction by using patented environmentally sensitive building techniques. VVHSA was formed in December 2012, after its partners visited Haiti, and were struck by the fact that the impact of the disaster the country suffered in 2010 could have been mitigated by the use of proper construction materials and techniques.
The company specializes in sustainable construction from EPS elements and has already completed 22 projects. Until summer 2015, materials were designed abroad and imported to be assembled in Haiti. Now the plant of Drouillard, not only allows on-site production of polystyrene foam, its transformation into panels, all preparation before construction, but also recycling.

CEO of Veerhouse Voda, Brendon Brewster explained: "Our local production and the use of this construction system should create more 2,000 direct and indirect jobs. The plant will supply the local market and we aim to widely disseminate this system allowing reliable and economical construction. We are now able to provide EPS for various construction projects, as well as other innovative products from this material."

An elegantly finished house.
Other contributing donors: Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), USAID, FMO (Bank Dutch development), PADF and the fund Leopard Capital (IDB, IFC, FMO).

Compete Caribbean Launches Magazine

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Launch of the Caribbean Innovation Competition 2016

Compete Caribbean Executive Director, Sylvia Dohnert among dignataries at the launch.

The Young Americas Business Trust (YABT), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and The West Indies University launched the Caribbean Innovation Competition (CIC) 2015-2016, a regional support program and startup accelerator for CARICOM nationals seeking to take their Entrepreneurial Initiatives to the Market. 

Open to aspiring business owners as part of the Caribbean Regional Entrepreneurial Asset Commercialization Hub (REACH) Program; the CIC competition will award projects in two Categories: Creative Industries and Technology Management. 

Speaking at the launch, Executive Director of Compete Caribbean, Sylvia Dohnert told participants: "Although we work in different spaces of the entrepreneurship cycle - for example, YABT supports start-ups while Compete Caribbean supports young businesses that already have proof of concept but need to expand drastically to reach the next stage of growth and development - these programs all have a common diagnosis and common objective."

Dohnert further explained that the common diagnosis is one of a region rich in ideas and cultural heritage, where, due to the decline and/or loss in competitive advantage of traditional industries, the region's growth will intrinsically be tied to its capacity to turn new ideas into value added products in international markets.

"The common objective shared by YABT, REACH, Compete Caribbean, Caribbean Export, EPIC and other donor funded programs that work in this space is one supporting Caribbean entrepreneurs with novel ideas to transform them into propositions with a high value in the domestic and international markets," advised Dohnert.

The CIC was announced on September 10 with a Media Launch at the OAS Barbados Office followed by a youth dialogue at the Small Business Association with entrepreneurs. Read More
Pure Performance: Pure Grenada and her Sub-Brands

The on-going brand management continues as the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association (GHTA) has developed the Go Pure Grenada website Go Pure Grenada website and strengthened its call to action by establishing Grenada as a competitive sustainable destination; in keeping with the core elements of competitive 
advantage outlined in the GHTA's 2013 Economic Recovery Plan.

The GHTA is proud to have commissioned the creation of the 'Pure Grenada' destination brand with the support of the Compete Caribbean grant, and we are pleased to see how effectively the brand has become a mainstream element in the country's destination marketing. 

On February 15 the GHTA granted control of the Pure Grenada brand to the Grenada Tourism Authority (GHA). The GHTA remains committed to working together with the GTA to advance the Pure Grenada brand. The Go Pure Grenada sub brand has been created to help in those efforts.

Pure Grenada has been used by the Spice Mas Corporation promoting Carnival, it was used in the title of Grenada's display at the Gold Prize winning Chelsea Flower Show display, and it has gained considerable popularity as a hashtag in social media channels, with increasing levels of user generated content.

User generated content is a key benchmark of success from the GHTA's perspective, because it serves to support the realization of pooled resources targeting our target markets so our combined efforts increase our visibility on the world stage as a whole.
The Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association (GHTA) is pleased to announce the creation of videos that showcase Grenada's competitive advantage to the world. In addition to the Pure Grenada brand(s), the videos are a part of the implementation of the Compete Caribbean project awarded to the GHTA by Canada and Great Britain. Pure Sailing is the first of a series of eight videos that will be released weekly for the next 8 weeks.
The GHTA is also pleased to announce the creation of videos that showcase Grenada's competitive advantage to the world. In addition to the Pure Grenada brand(s), the videos are a part of the implementation of the Compete Caribbean project. Pure Sailing is the first of a series of eight videos that will be released weekly.
Reflections on the North Rupununi Cluster
A Tourism & Hospitality Association of Guyana Feature...

In 2012, three Eco Lodges, Surama, Rewa, and Karanambu formed a business initiative: 'The North Rupununi Cluster'. The Cluster developed a business plan which would upgrade these three lodges to a consistent standard of excellence in sustainable tourism, and allow for the people of the villages in the North Rupununi to rely on conservation of their natural resources, rather than extraction. 

Funding and project kick-off by the Compete Caribbean Program was achieved in 2013. 

The North Rupununi area of southern Guyana is made up of a series of sparsely populated settlements and Amerindian communities over a massive area of land that encompasses rainforests and savannah. It is one of the most biologically diverse wetland areas in the world. 

A few of the settlements are old cattle ranches that have transitioned into eco lodges. The Amerindian communities are small villages of 200 to 1,000 people who rely mainly on subsistence farming. Here the overwhelming concern is employment. Many men migrate to earn an income in extractive industries like gold mining and timber harvesting. Read Full Story
How Effective Are Interventions?
The 2015-2019 strategic plan for CARICOM calls for a reform process focused on achieving specific outcomes (i.e. a shift away from simply monitoring outputs) and formulating practical achievable regional development goals that are performance driven and results based. The ability to track progress made by policy reform and/or development programs using evidence has become a crucial skillset for development practitioners.
Impact evaluations (IE) provide baseline evidence for the effectiveness of an intervention. A focus on strengthening the understanding of impact evaluation can positively affect efficient resource allocation amongst governments who are burdened with heavy debt repayments and have scarce funding available to achieve competing goals. 

They allow the evaluator to estimate the size of the impact on a program's outcome by comparing a group "treated" by the program's interventions to a "counterfactual" group that was not treated by the program's interventions. In other words, by using impact evaluation, policy makers can answer the question: "Is this program really effective compared to either (i) the absence of having the program or (ii) alternative programs with the same outcomes"? Impact evaluations estimate the size of effects with clear causation/attribution to the program/policy put in place (see World Bank's "Impact Evaluation in Practice"). 

Combining impact evaluation, which essentially measures the benefits of the program, with cost assessments produces stronger cost-benefit analysis that can be used to assess various alternatives based on the magnitude of their impact. Impact evaluations essentially provide the necessary information to decide whether programs should be redesigned to increase effectiveness/impact, scaled up or completely removed.

During October 20-22, Compete Caribbean will host a "Impact Evaluation in Productive Sector Projects in the Caribbean" course in Barbados. This course seeks to train sectorial specialists that work on the design and execution of development projects that focus on productive sectors. By the time participants complete the course, they will be trained to understand the different methods for impact evaluation and the design and implementation process of impact evaluations.
Notes From The Field...

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