Kingston – October 1, 2016: Mobile entrepreneurs around the Caribbean can apply for places in the region’s premier pre-accelerator programme as of today.
According to an announcement by PitchIT Caribbean, applications are now open for entrepreneurs from 14 Caribbean countries to take part in an intense training course designed to take them from idea to reality. Participants will be guided in the process from clarification of their mobile app idea and testing the concept to learning how to model a startup business and test its feasibility.
Commenting on the opportunity, project manager Bianca Welds said, “last year, we had over 150 participants in our mobile startup training programme. We have taken feedback from that first round and improved our training offering. We are very excited to be launching an even more high-value programme to the region’s entrepreneurs.”
Throughout the process, emphasis will be placed on real-world business-building, identifying key elements such as target markets and customers. The six-week training will be supported by virtual training sessions and face-to-face practical coaching workshops, led by PitchIT Caribbean’s local mHubs in Barbados, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The pre-accelerator programme culminates with the PitchIT Caribbean Startup Challenge, scheduled for December in Trinidad and Tobago. Participants will have the opportunity to enter the challenge and compete against a field of the region’s top mobile application startups. The winners of the challenge move into the acceleration phase to help them develop their startup.
Applications for the training programme open today and close on October 14. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to sign up early to take advantage of this business development opportunity.
PitchIT Caribbean is a programme aimed at enhancing the mobile app development ecosystem across CARICOM. It is designed to accelerate mobile app entrepreneurs through the start-up life cycle, which runs from ideation to pitch,from pitch to market and from market to maturity.
It currently supports 4 Hubs, one each in Barbados, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad & Tobago. PitchIT Caribbean is the central operation of the Caribbean Mobile Innovation Project, which is part of the Entrepreneurship Programme for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC), an initiative funded by the Government of Canada and executed by infoDev/World Bank Group, through a three-party Caribbean consortium, led by UWI Consulting Inc., working along with Mona School of Business and Management, and Mona Business Support Services.
After having a similar session back in April, there was a lot of interest from the Corporations for a specific session on Infrastructure Projects, and CARIRI accepted the challenge to host this seminar.
Achieving quality standards is one of the most important issues to consider when thinking about infrastructure projects and the management of quality is an important factor in determining the competitive edge of any business. It is vital that the Regional Corporations recognize that a system needs to be in place to ensure that quality is present from the start. This will certainly go a long way in the quest to get better value for monies spent.
In his opening remarks, Mr Liaquat Ali Shah, Chief Executive Officer of CARIRI spoke about the evolution of CARIRI from just a testing lab with one location to an innovation hub that now has three locations including the Centre for Enterprise Development which was created to accommodate the full gamut of activities along the enterprise creation spectrum from idea to market. It provides both accommodation and technical and business advisory support services to individuals and enterprises with innovative ideas/projects wishing to take these through the incubation (development) process to commercialization
Mr Shah spoke about the role of CARIRI in diversifying and creating opportunities for innovation and called on the various stakeholders to partner with CARIRI moving forward. He went on to state that the Corporations were one such stakeholder and this is why CARIRI saw it fit to hold this session at this time. He wanted to make the distinction between quality in construction and quality construction and saw this session as providing a foundation and a base for Corporations to enhance their performance. As an accredited and certified institution, CARIRI is willing to work with the Corporations, Borough Councils and Local Government to ensure that quality is present in every area of infrastructure development.
He wanted to remind the audience that CARIRI has never been accused of ‘cooking’ the results, and that CARIRI has established a record for confidentiality and quality in what they do.
The Minister of Rural Development and Local Government, the Honourable Franklin Khan delivered the feature address to the audience and started off by stating that the Government “recognised the increasingly significant role of Regional Corporations in the planning, overseeing and execution of construction work across the country.” He noted that this has led to a policy shift which has led to decentralisation, empowerment and giving more responsibility to the Regional Corporations and Local Government.
He spoke about the creation of the Ministry of Rural Development and cited areas such as Matlot, Cedros, Icacos, and Brasso Seco as having dilapidated infrastructure since infrastructure projects needed to be justified. He stated that there is a “deliberate decision that rural development can only take place with direct government intervention.” The Government intends for rural communities to have the same level of amenities as its urban counterparts.
The Minister went on to state that “quality assurance must be applied at every step of the process from the tendering process to selection of contractors to the planning and execution of works to the detailed assessment before certification and completion.” He reminded the audience that the “role of government, whether central or local is charged with the responsibility of managing the resources of the country. We as public officers are the stewards of the resources for the people of the country.”
He closed off by issuing a warning that sloppy work does not go unnoticed anymore. He pointed to social media where news travels quickly and the reputation of an Institution can be built or damaged accordingly.
Ms Lisa Ramoutar, Team Lead at the Industrial Materials Unit – Civil and Mr Gerald Herreira, Senior Civil Technician continued by giving presentations on Quality Assurance, Specifications and Properties of Construction Materials, Common Defects in Construction of Infrastructure Projects among others. Both presenters were able to give many examples as they have a wealth of knowledge in the sector.
The session was well received by the Regional Corporations and Borough Councils who expressed interest in having more seminars like this in the future.
As a certified and accredited testing facility, CARIRI has been taking the lead in bringing these key quality issues to the forefront. With over 40 years of experience, the Civil Engineering Unit is the most advanced ISO-certified civil/construction engineering testing laboratory in the Caribbean. CARIRI’s team of experienced professionals has provided testing and consultancy services to government ministries locally and within the region and to the construction.
For more information, please contact CARIRI at 299-0210 ext 5048 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Liaquat Ali Shah, CEO of CARIRI addressing the audience
Minister of Rural Development and Local Government, the Honourable Franklin Khan speaking to representatives of the Regional Corporations and Borough Councils
Ms Lisa Ramoutar, Team Lead of the Industrial Materials Unit – Civil during her presentation