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OECS supports Caribbean Women in Green Innovation

Thirty female entrepreneurs from the OECS had the opportunity to participate in the Caribbean Women in Business Green Innovation Bootcamp – an intense three-day workshop that provided participants with the skills needed to develop and launch an environmentally sustainable business.

Grant funding was awarded to three teams with the most viable business idea and sustainable business model for a cleantech business solution.?

The Bootcamp, organised by the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center (CCIC) in partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the St. Lucia Coalition of Service Industries (SLCSI), was held in Saint Lucia from October 10 – 12, 2018 and targeted female entrepreneurs from the OECS involved in clean technology sectors such as: Sustainable Agribusiness, Water/waste management, Energy efficiency, Renewable Energy, Resource use efficiency, Sustainable Tourism, Sustainable Transportation and Water/ Waste Management Renewable Energy.

Participants were exposed to:

An Idea Generation Session;
Business Education;
Mentorship; and
A Pitch Competition with the possibility of Grant Funding.

Business Development Officer in the OECS Competitive Business Unit, Mr. Kwesi Roberts, commended the effort of the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center (CCIC) to support the development of a pipeline of innovative and sustainable cleantech start-ups owned or operated by female entrepreneurs in the OECS.

“The OECS Competitive Business Unit has a shared interest in accelerating the rate of start-ups in the region, especially in green tech innovation. We also have a strategic focus on strengthening the OECS entrepreneurship ecosystem for youth and female entrepreneurs.”

“This opportunity to partner with CCIC on the Caribbean Women in Business Green Innovation Bootcamp was timely and is a step toward increasing the participation of women in this emerging green technology sector,” Roberts said.

Innovative ideas brought forward by the group of young entrepreneurs included the creation of an underground greenhouse, designed to withstand hurricanes and drought; the creation of an online platform to connect buyers and sellers of used items, encouraging creativity and reducing waste; the creation of a biogas plant, as an alternative green energy source; and the production of an organic farming supply, encouraging sustainable best practices.

Participants presented their ideas to a panel of judges and were required to defend their business model, the viability of the project and the need for the product in the regional market.

First place winners, the creators of Endzone – an online marketplace that allows the buying and selling of reusable, renewable and recyclable goods and services, said the workshop presented them with an opportunity to grow as entrepreneurs.

“We formed the group here at the workshop based on the skill sets that we needed to ensure that the project was successful. We learnt a lot about teamwork, spending many late nights pitching ideas and learning from one another. We were very pleased to emerge as winners.”

“Moving forward we plan to stay connected and try to get more funding to begin the project,” Members of the group said.

Following the workshop, all participants have an opportunity to advance to the CCIC Greentech Accelerator Programme over a 6-month period.

To date, the CCIC has completed 10 Bootcamps and Idea Generation Sessions within the Caribbean. Countries that have benefitted from these workshops include: Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago & Saint Vincent & the Grenadines.

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