The newly established Caribbean Climate Innovation Center (CCIC) has marked the start of its initiatives with a successful Proof of Concept (PoC) competition designed to identify and support the most promising green ventures in the Caribbean. The PoC will provide local enterprises with grants of up to USD 50,000 to develop and test innovative climate technology solutions.
Officially closed on April 20, the PoC has already offered some interesting results. The considerable interest in the initiative - 300 applications were submitted - has confirmed the great reach and the catalyzing effect of the Caribbean CIC across the region.
“We have achieved a real milestone with this competition. We received a total of 300 applications with submissions from each of the Caribbean countries,” said Everton Hanson, Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean CIC. “This overwhelming response is very encouraging for the future of the CCIC and its activities.
The PoC competition, with applications from all 14 target countries – including countries within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) – has showed that the center is developing the reach necessary to support entrepreneurship and foster innovation across the entire region. Particularly noteworthy is the high engagement achieved in the smaller islands of the Caribbean: 34 applicants are from Dominica, a country of 73,000 people; 28 from Antigua & Barbuda, a twin-island nation with a population of 81,000 inhabitants; 19 from the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, one the smallest sovereign states in the Americas.
Applications were submitted in each of the five priority sectors of the CCIC, with particular interest in sustainable agribusiness, energy efficiency, and solar energy. One of the PoC applicants, for example, has submitted a proposal to develop solar power in low-income communities. “What we want to do is to find 10 communities [in our country]. I’m going to ask the government’s chief environmental officer to identify the communities where there are more women, more vulnerable, more unemployed, and also the site where we are going to locate the panel on, whether it’d be a private school, a church, a little daycare centre.”
Winning proposals can expect to receive: (i) funding up to USD 50,000 to develop and launch the concept, (ii) considerable exposure and networking opportunities through CCIC’s media events, and (iii) access to the suite of advisory services provided by the center.
The competition officially closed on April 20. A selected evaluation committee consisting of business and technical experts is currently reviewing the applications and will announce the finalists at the end of May.
The Caribbean CIC is part of infoDev’s Climate Technology Program (CTP), which is currently implementing a global network of innovation centers across seven other countries, including Kenya, Ghana, Vietnam and Ethiopia. The center is also part of the broader Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC) funded by the Government of Canada.