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World Bank awards 11 Caribbean entrepreneurs more than US$400K in climate grants

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The Caribbean Climate Innovation Center (CCIC), a project of the World Bank and its global entrepreneurship program infoDev, has announced the 11 winners of its first regional proof of concept (PoC) competition. The successful applicants will receive grants of up to US$50,000 to develop, test, and commercialize innovative, locally relevant climate technology solutions.

Officially closed on April 20, the PoC has received more than 300 applications from 14 countries, including territories within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Entrepreneurs were asked to submit proposals for innovative products, services, or business models in sustainable agribusiness, water management and recycling, solar energy, energy efficiency, and resource use sectors.

“This overwhelming response is very encouraging for the future of the CCIC and its activities,” said Everton Hanson, chief executive officer of the Caribbean CIC. “The process was very competitive and even the unsuccessful applicants submitted interesting ideas that show great potential.”

The 11 winning proposals represent seven Caribbean countries: Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and Belize. Particularly noteworthy is also the high engagement achieved among women, with four winning concepts submitted by female applicants.

Country

Applicant

Project Proposal

Antigua and Barbuda Elliot Lincoln Biofuels from microalgae cultivation: CO2 sequestration and wastewater treatment
Antigua and Barbuda Mario Bento Desalination Systems for Small Rural Communities; Low Cost, Solar-Powered, Brackish Water Reverse Osmosis (RO)
Belize Santiago Juan Alternative Animal Feed using vertical farming techniques
Dominica Gail Defoe Creating Home Grown Organic Bio-Fertilisers
Jamaica Shirley Lindo Organic Soil Conditioner and Fuel Briquettes from Castor Oil Waste
Jamaica Brian Wright The Pedro Banks Renewable Energy Project
Jamaica Harlo Mayne H2-Flex Hydrogen Hybrid Project
Jamaica Kert Edward Fiber-Optic Solar Indoor Lighting (FOSIL)
St Kitts and Nevis Donny Bristol Recyclables Expansion and Commercialization Project (Focal Area Resource Use Efficiency/Reuse and Recycling)
St Lucia Patricia Joshua Development of Sustainable Agri-business Paper Products
Trinidad and Tobago Suzanne Thomas Mobile modularized PF bio-digester

The PoC grants are designed to help entrepreneurs prove the value of their business concept by providing the resources and the skills necessary to prototype, test, develop, and commercialize services and products. In addition to funding, the PoC winners will also get access to the suite of advisory services offered by the CCIC, as well as considerable exposure and networking opportunities through the center’s media events.

The CCIC will work with Caribbean countries to develop innovative solutions to local climate challenges. By supporting Caribbean entrepreneurs with a suite of services to commercialize new climate-friendly products, the CCIC will spur economic development, decrease reliance on imported fossil fuels and increase resilience to climate change.

The CCIC 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.

Credit: Caribbean News Now!

CCIC Extends Application Period for Proof of Concept Grant Scheme to April 20, 2014

Credit: Caribbean360.com

Credit: Caribbean360.com

The Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center (CCIC), Mr Everton Hanson, says the application deadline for the Proof of Concept (POC) Grant Funding Scheme has been extended to April 20, 2014.

Grant funding of up to US$50,000 is currently being provided to entrepreneurs within the Caribbean region under our POC Grant Funding Scheme.The scheme seeks to support projects or prototypes in five (5) thematic areas, namely:

(a) Resource Use Efficiency/Recycling 
(b) Water Management 
(c) Sustainable Agribusiness 
(d) Solar Energy 
(e) Energy Efficiency

The CCIC was officially launched on January 27, 2014. The Center is a World Bank financed Caribbean initiative being executed by a consortium comprising the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) of Trinidad and Tobago and the Scientific Research Council (SRC) in Jamaica.

The CCIC is headquartered in Jamaica and delivers its services in 14 CARICOM countries. These are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St.Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

The main objective of the CCIC is to support Caribbean entrepreneurs in developing appropriate technologies suitable for the mitigation or adaptation to climate change. This is expected to be achieved through the offering of services such as, among other things, technology commercialization, market development, and access to financing, mentoring and training, incubation and CAD Lab services to such entrepreneurs.

Learn more about the POC Grant Funding Scheme http://gallery.mailchimp.com/1d8dc7083e/files/POC_Flyer_March_17.pdf

Indoor Mini-Farms to Beat Climate Change

Industrial engineer Ancel Bhagwandeen says growing your food indoor is a great way to protect crops from the stresses of climate change. So he developed a hydroponic system that “leverages the nanoclimates in houses so that the house effectively protects the produce the same way it protects us,” he says.

Bhagwandeen told IPS that his hydroponic project was also developed “to leverage the growth of the urban landscape and high-density housing, so that by growing your own food at home, you mitigate the cost of food prices.”

The hydroponic unit can also run on solar energy. Credit: Jewel Fraser/IPS

The hydroponic unit can also run on solar energy. Credit: Jewel Fraser/IPS

Hydroponics, a method of growing plants without soil using mineral nutrients in water, is increasingly considered a viable means to ensure food security in light of climate change.

His project is one of several being considered for further development by the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC), headquartered in Jamaica.

The newly launched CCIC, which is funded mainly by the World Bank and the government of Canada, seeks to  fund innovative projects that will “change the way we live, work and build to suit a changing climate,” said Everton Hanson, the CCIC’s CEO.

Dr. Ulric Trotz, Deputy Director and Science Advisor at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, 
chairs the CCIC's Management Committee.

A first step to developing such projects is through Proof of Concept (POC) funding, which makes available grants from 25,000 to 50,000 dollars to successful applicants to “help the entrepreneur to finance those costs that are related to proving that the idea can work,” said Hanson.

Among the items that POC funding will cover are prototype development such as design, testing, and field trials; market testing; raw materials and consumables necessary to achieve proof of concept; and costs related to applications for intellectual property rights in the Caribbean.

A POC competition is now open that will run until the end of March. “After that date the applications will be evaluated. We are looking for ideas that can be commercialised and the plan is to select the best ideas,” Hanson said.

The CCIC, which is jointly managed by the Scientific Research Council in Jamaica and the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute in Trinidad and Tobago, is seeking projects that focus on water management, resource use efficiency, energy efficiency, solar energy, and sustainable agribusiness.

Bhagwandeen entered the POC competition in hopes of securing a grant, because “this POC funding would help in terms of market testing,” he explained.

The 48-year-old engineer says he wishes to build dozens of model units and “distribute them in various areas, then monitor the operations and take feedback from users.” He said he would be testing for usability and reliability, as well as looking for feedback on just how much light is needed and the best locations in a house or building for situating his model.

“I would then take the feedback, and any issues that come up I can refine before going into mass marketing,” he said.

Bhagwandeen’s model would enable homeowners to grow leafy vegetables, including herbs, lettuce and tomatoes, inside their home or apartment, with minimal expense and time.

The model uses smart electronics, meaning that 100 units can run on the same energy as a 60-watt light bulb, he said. So it differs from typical hydroponics systems that consume a great deal of energy, he added. His model can also run on the energy provided by its own small solar panel and can work both indoors and outdoors.

Bhagawandeen said his model’s design is premised on the fact that “our future as a people is based more and more on city living and in order for that to be sustainable, we need to have city farming at a family level.”

U.N. report says that “the population living in urban areas is projected to gain 2.6 billion, passing from 3.6 billion in 2011 to 6.3 billion in 2050.” Most of that urban growth will be concentrated in the cities and towns of the world’s less developed regions.

To meet the challenges of climate change adaptation, the CCIC “will support Caribbean entrepreneurs involved in developing locally appropriate solutions to climate change.”

Bhagwandeen said that support from organisations like the CCIC is critical for climate change entrepreneurs. “From the Caribbean perspective, especially Trinidad and Tobago, we are a heavily consumer-focused society. One of the negatives of Trinidad’s oil wealth is that we are not accustomed to developing technology for ourselves. We buy it.”

“We are a society of traders and distributors and there is very little support for innovators and entrepreneurs.”

He said access to markets and investors poses a serious challenge for regional innovators like himself, who typically have to rely on bootstrapping to get their business off the ground.

Typically, he said, regional innovators have to make small quantities of an item, sell those items, and then use the funds to make incrementally larger quantities. “So that if you get an order for 500 units, you cannot fulfill that order,” he said.

Fourteen Caribbean states are involved in CCIC: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The Caribbean CCIC is one of eight being developed across the world.

Credit: Inter Press Services News Agency

Caribbean Green Tech Incubator Launched

CCIC Image

Credit: World Bank/infoDev

The Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC) was launched today (Monday, January 27, 2014) at the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) in Trinidad and Tobago. The World Bank/infoDev initiative, which is being administered by the Jamaica-based Scientific Research Council and Trinidad and Tobago-based Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI), will function as an incubator for businesses solving climate change problems and promote investment in green technology in the region. The Centre is one of eight globally, as others are located in Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Morocco, South Africa and Vietnam.

The Centre will provide grant funding of up to US$50,000.00 to MSMEs/ entities to assist them in developing prototypes for commercialization.

The Centre’s five focus areas are:
  • Solar Energy – e.g. Residential and commercial self generation, residential and commercial water heating, solar powered air conditioning
  • Resource Use Efficiency – e.g. waste-to energy, materials recovery, reuse and recycling
  • Sustainable Agribusiness – e.g. water/ energy efficient irrigation systems; waste management; high value agribusiness; sustainable land use practices; waste to energy; wind and solar energy for farms
  • Energy Efficiency – e.g. Lighting, household appliances, air conditioning, commercial cooling and ventilation systems, consumer behavior, building and energy management systems, building design and materials
  • Water Management – e.g. Potable water, rain water harvesting, efficient irrigation, wastewater treatment and recycling, water use efficiency, desalination
CCIC Image 2

Credit: World Bank/infoDev/Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre

Dr Ulric Trotz, Chairperson of the CCIC, and Deputy Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, says the CCIC  comes to fruition at a point when unsustainable and inefficient energy consumption exacerbates the enormous socio-economic constraints faced by Member States of the Caribbean Community.

The region, which is among the most vulnerable places to climate change and climate variability, imports in excess of 170 million barrels of petroleum products annually, with 30 million barrels used in the electric sector alone, at a cost of up to 40% of  already scarce foreign exchange earnings.  This dependence on ever more expensive imported fossil fuels increases our economic vulnerability and reduces our ability to invest in climate compatible development. Therefore, it’s crucial that we support initiatives that can make the region’s energy sector more efficient through increased use of renewable energy, which will in turn reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

This comes at a time when economies around the world are re-orientating towards low-carbon, green growth pathways, which have the potential to make some of our established industries, including tourism, more attractive to discerning travellers who are willing to spend more for environmentally sensitive travel packages.

The Centre offers this region a unique opportunity to leverage technological innovation in its bid to adapt and mitigate challenges brought forth by climate change, with particular focus on energy efficiency, resource use, agriculture and water management, as the regional technology space is rapidly evolving and seems poised to take-off with the advent of events and groups like DigiJam 3.0, Caribbean Startup Week, Slashroots, among others. This is encouraging as the development, deployment and diffusion of technology are key factors in any effort to mitigate and adapt to the current and future impacts of climate change.  So the Centre is uniquely positioned to capitalize on these developments and focus them to achieve essential technological advancement.

~Dr Ulric Trotz, Chairperson of the CCIC, and Deputy Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre

Please view the CCIC website at www.caribbeancic.org for further information.
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