On December 21st, 2015, the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) of the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs renewed their commitment to formalize and promote collaboration between the agencies via the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.

Held at CARIRI's Centre for Enterprise Development (CED) in Freeport, the signing of the MOU symbolizes the expressed intent of the institutions to expand and deepen collaboration in the area of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), with particular focus on capacity building in the areas of Patent Searching/Mining, Technology Transfer, Licensing and the establishment of a Technology Transfer Office at the CED. The MOU is a direct outcome of informal collaboration between the agencies on various initiatives which have been on-going since 2013 and sets the stage for continuation and acceleration of these activities going forward.

Among the initiatives which have been the focus of CARIRI-IPO collaboration are technical and advisory assistance provided by the IPO in formulation of an Intellectual Property Policy for CARIRI, the provision of training for select CARIRI staff members in the area of Patent Mining, the provision of advisory support to CARIRI's Business Hatchery Programme and the conduct by the IPO, in partnership with CARIRI, of a free IP Clinic which is held on the first Thursday of each month at the CED and is open to interested members of the public. It is expected that these activities would continue and expand in 2016. 

In his address to invitees, the Chief Executive Officer of CARIRI, Mr. Liaquat Ali Shah, emphasized the crucial role of IP in the Institute's thrust to build capacity in the area of Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) as a central plank of its strategy to foster business expansion and new business creation, with the ultimate objective of contributing more substantively to the pursuit of economic diversification. In this regard, he made reference to IP as being "the common thread that runs through the entire Research, Development and Innovation spectrum”.    He further stated that “we live in a country in which awareness of IP is such that few recognize that they are creators of IP and even fewer the value of what they have created".  Mr Shah felt assured that the partnership between CARIRI and the IPO could go a long way in closing this gap.

The keynote address was given by the Honourable Stuart Young, Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs.  Minister Young reiterated Mr. Shah’s sentiments in stating that “local innovators may be underestimating the value of their own creation”.  He further stated that in this new knowledge-based economic dispensation, it was the actual creation, and not so much the raw material that really mattered.  In drawing reference to the significant, potential businesses opportunities available from the exploitation of expired patents and those not filed locally, Minister Young indicated that he was heartened to see the work that the IPO is doing and the valuable contribution it is making towards the promotion of a knowledge economy.  He noted that the volume of demand for IP education signals that we will soon get to the critical mass needed in terms of knowledge workers necessary to support this knowledge economy. 

The MOU was signed by Mr. Liaquat Ali Shah of CARIRI and Ms. Lydia Jacobs, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, Legal Affairs Division, and witnessed by Mr. Regan Asgarali, Controller (Ag) at the IPO. 

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From L – R: Mr Liaquat Ali Shah, CEO of CARIRI; Minister Stuart Young, Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs; Ms Lydia Jacobs, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, Legal Affairs Division; Mr Regan Asgarali, Controller at the IPO

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Signing of the MOU- From L – R: Mr Regan Asgarali, Controller at the IPO; Ms Lydia Jacobs, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, Legal Affairs Division; Mr Liaquat Ali Shah, CEO of CARIRI

In November 2015, The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) and the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) hosted an ICT Sustainability Forum at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre. This event was the culmination of a three year project between both entities which focused on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with the overall objective of improving business performance and competitiveness in the Food and Beverage and Plastics, Printing and Packaging sectors.

As the executing agency, CARIRI had the mission of sensitising over 350 companies; this was the first objective of the project. CARIRI went into the field and found companies that were interested in ICT or those that just wanted to find out more information about technology that could benefit their business.

The second step of the project saw the 350 companies being given an opportunity to have their business diagnosed. This meant that the CARIRI project team went into the individual businesses and did a thorough investigation of their ICT needs and developed a plan on the way forward. A total of 80 diagnostics were concluded.

The final stage of the project was the implementation stage. The proposed systems and software suggested in the previous stage were implemented in the companies. Some of the solutions that were proposed as implementations ranged from point of sale systems to websites to inventory management systems, depending on the nature of the business.

At the ICT Sustainability Forum, Mr Tomas Bermudez, the IDB Country Representative spoke on the tremendous success that has been borne out of the project in the specific sectors and the IDB’s commitment to continuing the ICT implementations is the new sectors.

Although the Minister of Planing and Development, the Honourable Camille Robinson Regis was unable to attend due to last minute commitments, Dr Rickhie Permanand was able to bring greetings and deliver a rousing feature address on her behalf. Dr Permanand spoke about competitiveness and Trinidad and Tobago’s own ranking in the global index, he noted that ICT created a bridge to overcome significant gaps and as a way to improve the country’s ranking.

Mr Liaquat Ali Shah, Chief Executive Officer of CARIRI was able to further expound on ICT but delved into how being innovative can actually thrust you forward into a new way of thinking that can lead to empowerment for you and your business. He further explained that the programme’s purpose was to create a positive intervention with SMES to connect to the dots in order to uplift entrepreneurial capacity and increase competitiveness. He further stated that ICT must always be user friendly and CARIRI has strived to be innovative for such demands by creating easy workable approaches to software and hardware operations.

The highlight of the morning’s proceedings was the panel discussion hosted by Vashtie Dookiesingh, Multilateral Investment Fund Specialist at the IDB. This session was entitled ‘Beneficiaries Speak’, and the persons on the panel actually went through the three stages of this project and spoke about their experiences and their interaction with the CARIRI team. They all agreed that CARIRI aimed to understand their business rather than just providing ‘consultations’; they were happy with the results and stated that that they would definitely recommend this project to their partners. Also in high praise of CARIRI, Ms Dookiesingh said that CARIRI was adaptable to the consistent changes that took place working with different businesses and congratulated CARIRI for a steady governance and management system.

CARIRI team members were also able to showcase a few of the software that were developed in-house as a result of their experiences on the various projects. Specifically, CARIRI has successfully developed an application known as the CARIRI Box that is geared towards the health sector. This mobile application allows medical practitioners to access their patient databases on the go. This is just one of the many innovations that CARIRI is working on.

From the feedback received over the last few days, the programme was much needed and it was well accepted by the participants who were looking forward to the next session to be held by CARIRI and the IDB.

 

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The Caribbean Climate Innovation Center (CCIC) is one of the three components of World Bank/infoDev’s Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC). This is part of a seven-year $20 Million program funded by the Government of Canada through the World Bank to build an enabling ecosystem to foster growth-oriented entrepreneurs and profitable businesses that address climate change mitigation and adaptation needs throughout the Caribbean.

The Management Committee of CCIC is pleased to announce the appointment of Mrs. Marcia Brandon as Chair with effect 10th August 2015. Mrs. Brandon will serve for a period one year.

Mrs. Brandon has been a member of the CCIC Management Committee since the inception of the CCIC in late 2013. She is a social entrepreneur and the Founder/Managing Director for the Caribbean Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Livelihoods & Entrepreneurship, which is headquartered in Barbados. She was also Founder/ Managing Director for Caribbean Centre of Excellence for Youth Entrepreneurship (CEYE) from April 2000 – 2013 and worked from1998 -2013 as Executive Director for the Barbados Youth Business Trust (BYBT).

She holds a Master’s in Educational Leadership from City and Guild, United Kingdom and Bachelor’s in Public Sector Management from the University of the West Indies. She is also a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management, City and Guild, UK.

Some of her Key Achievements in Entrepreneurship in the Caribbean:

  • Sourced over US$10million for regional youth entrepreneurship development
  • Pioneered youth entrepreneurship development in the region to be recognized regionally and globally.
  • Established over 5000 strong, durable partnerships for sustainable development with international, national and regional development organizations, public and private sectors, NGOs, CBOs, and individuals.
  • Worked with CARICOM on creative, regional simulated training programs for at risk and vulnerable youth and women.
  • Hosted, planned and organized the first regional youth entrepreneurship conference and awards ceremony– participants from over 25 countries, with international speakers at the UN House- 2003.
  • Led Barbados Youth Business Trust to be named a Best Practice and Regional Resource Centre in 2000 & 2001 respectively by Youth Business International.
  • Delivered presentations worldwide on youth and female entrepreneurship development including the Caribbean region, Hong Kong, Dubai, Latin America, Scotland, Ireland, the wider United Kingdom, United States of America and Canada. Assisted with the establishment of youth and female entrepreneurship organizations in the Region, Latin America, Syria, Africa, among others.
  • Brought Global Entrepreneurship Week to the Caribbean.
  • Recognized and awarded for contribution to youth entrepreneurship and development in the Caribbean.
  • Developed business mentoring in the Caribbean.
  • Designed and developed over 20 replicable entrepreneurship programmes to help the people of the Caribbean to effectively start and grow businesses.

The Management Committee of the CCIC warmly welcomes Mrs. Marcia Brandon as Chairman of the Committee.

Other members of the CCIC Management Committee include Mr. Meghnath Gosein & Mr. Ronald Dubrisingh (Trinidad & Tobago), Ms. Lisa Harding (Barbados), Mrs. Mona Whyte & Dr. Cliff Riley (Jamaica) and Dr. Ulric Trotz (Belize).

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On Wednesday 29th July, 2015 the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) hosted its second Root Cause Failure Analysis Seminar at the Centre For Enterprise Development (CED), Innovation Avenue, Freeport. Due to the overwhelming demand for this session - the first of which was held at Cara Suites, Claxton Bay - CARIRI decided to host a follow up seminar to accommodate the requests from corporate Trinidad and Tobago.

CARIRI has recognized the demand and importance for awareness in metallurgical failures around the country and specifically in the Industrial sector. According to the Chief Executive Officer of CARIRI, Mr. Liaquat Ali Shah, the working plants today have been in operation for many years, and as a result, deterioration and corrosion is a major safety concern. Root Cause Failure Analysis (RCFA) investigates not just the problems and issues that we face, but includes the contributing factors to such dilemmas that are a starting point of corrosion and industrial upheaval.

For this reason CARIRI has sought out Dr. Devendra Deo Narain Singh of India, a metallurgical expert since 2003. He has come to Trinidad to work together with CARIRI’s Metallurgy Unit to enlighten companies by workshops, seminars and site visits. In his presentation, Dr. Singh gave his expert advice on Metallurgy, stating that because of meteorological factors, Trinidad and Tobago is highly prone to corrosion of carbon steel. He also stressed on choosing an effective agency that would study these corrosions and give proper recommendations to their clients. CARIRI is proud to say that it has been ISO certified for many years and guarantees prompt and effective methods of testing and reporting.

Marco Nunes, a Metallurgy expert from CARIRI explained the different stages of Failure Analysis and the principles of root cause issues. He illustrated the different equipment that CARIRI has invested in, and how they are able to perform some of the most impressive calculations and results on different types of metals. In order to test thoroughly, different machinery is used at the various stages to give the client the most accurate readings on metallurgical compounds.

Frank Byron, also a Metallurgy expert at CARIRI, displayed and explained some of the case studies CARIRI has encountered over the years. He gave examples of different scenarios and how the analysis was performed by thorough investigation of what caused the corrosion.

The Chairman of CARIRI, Mr. Hayden Ferreira, spoke about the reality of problems that companies face on a day to day basis. He suggested that the problem will never come “packaged with specific remedies, but will instead come in many complex forms”, for which the client and the agency must understand. He added that as CARIRI continues to progress, it will identify more issues taking place in the country; whether in business development or technical services, and CARIRI will be there to create positive and continuous change.

This seminar was well received by representatives of numerous companies throughout the country, all of them interested in the presentations that were given, as was seen in an intriguing question and answer session that took place at the end of the presentations.

CARIRI and CED continues to fulfil its mandate of Research, Development and Innovation, not only in scientific research but also entrepreneurial development by providing services such as the Business Hatchery programme and the newly launched IAS (Idea Advisory Service) just to name a few. As the Chairman of CARIRI said, “CARIRI is not only about general research rather it is about applied research”.