St. Kitts – June 17, 2017: Tech start-ups from five Caribbean territories scored big at the PitchIT Caribbean Challenge mobile app entrepreneurship competition on June 17, each winning US$5,000 in seed funding to develop their businesses. All five enterprises have also been awarded spots in PitchIT Caribbean business accelerators across the region.

After two rigorous days of pitching to two different panels of judges and an audience of regional and global investors, SENSI (Grenada), Nestd (Trinidad & Tobago), Kraasimages (Jamaica), Isle&Dine (Barbados) and The LocaL App (Antigua & Barbuda) were chosen from 25 tech teams representing seven Caribbean territories.

PitchIt’s Chief Coach Sergiu Escobar, Managing Director of Canada’s Founders Institute, also presented three finalists, Kraasimages of Jamaica, nDuna and LoanFren from Trinidad & Tobago with US$300 worth of Budgeto Access, the institute’s online platform that helps entrepreneurs with budgeting. LoanFren also received 6-12 months of individual coaching by Escobar and coach Damion Daley, a Jamaican software architect and Tamu Petra Browne (Trinidad & Tobago).

Deputy Prime Minister of St. Kitts Hon. Shawn Richards pledged the continued support of his government in promoting entrepreneurship in St. Kitts as an effort to lower unemployment in the country. “A carpenter becomes a builder and grows a large building company,” he said, alluding to how acquired skills can help develop a nation.

St. Kitts & Nevis has already invested $8 million through the Caribbean Development Bank in several different technical vocational education and training projects designed to enhance entrepreneurial skills beginning at the secondary school level.

A total of 25 tech entrepreneurs from nine countries across the Caribbean participated in the competition, which aims to highlight and support the growth of the region’s top talent in tech app development.

Finalists by country were: The LocaL App of Antigua &Barbuda, Isle&Dine, Podium & Pocket Shop of Barbados, Oruh, Tect, Lynck & CariFind of Dominica, SENSI of Grenada, Munchies of Guyana, Link Your Purpose, Kraasimages, My Lending Angel, App@round, OneShapp & ResearchAid+ of Jamaica, Pazport of St. Lucia, MyStudyLibrary of St. Vincent & the Grenadines, GrocerY, WEV, Parlay T&T, Nestd, LoanFren Limited, nDuna & Trust PIN of Trinidad & Tobago.

PitchIT Caribbean is a program 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 four 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 Program 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.

Related Links:

More on PitchIT Caribbean Challenge: https://www.facebook.com/PitchITCaribbean/

Contact:

Kimone Singh

Marketing Officer

Caribbean Mobile Innovation Project/PitchIT Caribbean

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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PITCHIT TOP 5 June 17, 2017: Representatives of the five winning teams from the PitchIT Caribbean Challenge show off their $5,000 prizes after topping the World Bank/infoDev-sponsored two-day competition in St. Kitts. 25 tech teams from seven countries across the Caribbean showcased their mobile app business ideas in front of a panel of regional and international investors.

From left: Staysean Graham Daley of Kraasimages (Jamaica), Heather Barker of Isle&Dine (Barbados), Elijah James of The LocaL App (Antigua & Barbuda), Tamara Prosper of SENSI (Grenada) and Shriya Rampersad of Nestd (Trinidad & Tobago).

 

Over the period May 8th - 12th, 2017, CARIRI took a significant step towards enhancing its contribution to the national climate change mitigation agenda via the hosting of a four-day intensive Training Workshop on Developing the Capability for Measuring and Verifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The Workshop Programme covered the areas of ISO 14064 - 1: Measuring an Organization's Carbon Footprint Essentials;  ISO 14064 - 2: Measuring an Organization's Environmental Impact Essentials and ISO 14064 - 3: Greenhouse Gas Verification using ISO 14064 - 3.

The Workshop was hosted with funding support from the Canadian Government, under a special fund for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, which is administered by the Barbados based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The Workshop Facilitator was Mr. Evan Jones of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and training was afforded to six (6) staff members of CARIRI and a staff member of the CDB. 

The Training forms part of CARIRI's on-going efforts to increase its range of service offerings to more effectively meet client needs for new and improved technology-based services, while simultaneously building capacity in key areas of strategic importance to national economic development, in support of Government's diversification efforts.

The hosting of the Workshop was informed by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago's approval of a Carbon Reduction Strategy which targets energy efficiency and GHGs emission reduction in the transport, power generation and industrial sectors in order to meet the emission reduction goals established by both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, to which the Government is a signatory, within the overarching United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Carbon Reduction Strategy, which is being administered by the Multilateral Environmental Agreement Unit (MEAU) of the Ministry of Planning and Development, is intended to address the implementation of a robust Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system which will track the success of measures taken. The monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas emissions are a requirement for signatories to the Paris Agreement.

The Training Workshop will provide CARIRI with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively plan and conduct GHG monitoring and measurement activities, inclusive of providing independent third party verification of reported emissions to give credence to the collected data.  In addition, the Workshop will facilitate knowledge transfer of strategies for reducing companies' green house gas emissions.

The capability developed will enable CARIRI to give support to both the local MRV initiative and the development of a local carbon market. It will also enable CARIRI to position itself to support similar initiatives regionally. 

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Front Row: L-R Miguel Andrews (CARIRI);  Debra Boyce, Snr Trade Commissioner, Canadian High Commission; Michaeline Narcisse, Trade Commissioner, Canadian High Commission; Khaliqa Mohammed, Caribbean Development Bank (CDB); Amanda Lalla (CARIRI); Eka Rudder- Fairman (CARIRI)

Back Row: Robert Nunes (CARIRI); Narrin Jonas (CARIRI); Matthew Tom Yick (CARIRI); Evan Jones, Training Facilitator, Canadian Standards Association

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L-R:  Khaliqa Mohammed, Caribbean Development Bank (CDB);  Eka Rudder- Fairman (CARIRI);  Evan Jones, Training Facilitator, Canadian Standards Association (CSA);  Michaeline Narcisse, Trade Commissioner, Canadian High Commission;  Debra Boyce, Snr Trade Commissioner, Canadian High Commission

The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute’s (CARIRI’s) Air Quality Management Services (AQMS) and Civil Engineering department recently hosted an information session entitled, “Indoor Environmental Quality- Issues faced in the workplace” at CARIRI’s Centre for Enterprise Development, Innovation Avenue, Freeport as part of their mandate to promote a safe and healthy working environment.  The session was well attended by over 100 Health and Safety Professionals and BIGWU representatives throughout the country.

CARIRI’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Liaquat Ali Shah in his opening remarks welcomed everyone to CARIRI’s Centre for Enterprise Development and went on to say, “We all need air to breathe therefore we are all affected by poor indoor air quality.” Mr. Shah stated that though indoor air quality in buildings was highly publicized in the media, individuals do not fully understand the effects air pollution can have on your health, work life and mental performance which in turn affects productivity.

He also touched on another new service offered by CARIRI known as Slip Resistance Testing. The occurrence of Slips, Trips and Falls within recent times, in commercial spaces has grown rapidly and in speaking with persons in the construction sector, a common point of contention has always been the coefficient of friction, which is the measure of slip resistance of a tile.

Mr. Shah urged everyone to treat health and safety as a joint commitment between management and employees to proactively find solutions. He ended his speech with this profound statement on ascertaining the root cause of IEQ, “Better is not always about doing more, but identifying the risk.”

Mr. Wesley Francis, Health and Safety Officer for BIGWU also delivered an address where he reported alarming statistics of how poor Indoor Environmental Quality can affect employee’s health and comfort. He also discussed a familiar term “Sick building syndrome” which the audience agreed is a big deterrent to productivity. He closed by urging employees to increase the circulation of information within the workplace and to encourage more meaningful discussions on pertinent issues.

Participants also gained insights from CARIRI's expert team who are Council-Certified Environmental Consultants accredited by the American Council of Accredited Certification (ACAC) and the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB) which is the most prestigious certification specific to Indoor Air Quality.

Ms. Tisha John, Environmental Specialist and Head of CARIRI’s Indoor Air Quality Department presented on some of the effects and causes of poor IAQ which she attributed to common indoor contaminants such as dust, fibreglass, indoor allergens such as dust mites from carpet and fabric furniture and even ozone from photocopiers. Ms. John advised the HSE officers to keep an eye out for prevalent cases of skin rashes, dryness and irritation of eyes, nose, throat and skin, headaches, fatigue, dizziness and nausea and sinus congestion as these are common symptoms of poor IAQ. She closed off her presentation summarizing some of the common causes of issues associated with poor IAQ which include improperly maintained HVAC’s, contamination by construction materials, continuous re-circulation of air inside buildings and lastly increases in the number of building occupants.

The next presenter, Ms. Tricia Singh, Laboratory Manager of CARIRI gave a riveting presentation on, “Mold Management: A proactive approach.” She describes mold as the most misunderstood and controversial topic of all indoor air quality parameters which includes mold spores, bacteria, yeast and viruses. Ms. Singh also went on to specify three main factors influencing growth of mold indoors which include the availability of food sources, temperature and moisture.

Ms. Singh closed off by saying air contamination is not the only cause for feelings of discomfort and illness and may be related to issues in the total indoor environment such as noise levels, thermal comfort (temperature, humidity and air movement), lighting and ergonomics which she explained CARIRI has the capability to test.

CARIRI’s capabilities were expounded by Mr. Rishi Shaffie, Environmental Technologist of CARIRI who describes the Air Quality Management Unit as a multi-disciplinary team with extensive experience and a wide range of skills to meet the needs of the Client. Basically, the department can monitor for any occupational hygiene exposure (noise, heat stress, gases, particulates, vibration, lighting, and ergonomics) and compare results to international and local standards and guidelines.   

Ms. Lisa Ramoutar closed off the session with her presentation on slips, trips and falls which she described as  a service that is needed in Trinidad and Tobago, and by extension the region, since it will provide users of commercial spaces with a measure of comfort over the safety of walkways and floors. To assess a floor's slip resistance, CARIRI now has a reliable, thoroughly researched floor friction test method and the equipment necessary to conduct the assessment.  As Ms Ramoutar stated in her presentation “One of the biggest aspects of Walkway Safety is the Slips, Trips and Falls. We want to minimize these.”

CARIRI is not only about general research rather it is about applied research. For more information on our Indoor Environmental Quality you can contact our team at:

Trincity West Industrial Estate,
Macoya,
Tel: (868) 285-5050 ext. 3300/3190
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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CARIRI’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Liaquat Ali Shah during his Opening Address

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Side-shot of attendees at CARIRI’s Air Quality Session

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Mr. Wesley Francis, Health and Safety Officer, BIGWU during his address

 

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Our esteemed presenters from (L-R) Ms. Tricia Singh, Laboratory Manager, Mr. Rishi Shaffie, Environmental Technologist, Ms. Tisha John, Environmental Specialist and Ms. Lisa Ramoutar, Team Lead- Civil.

On Wednesday 3rd May at its flagship hub for innovation, the Centre for Enterprise Development in Freeport, the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) launched one of its newest services for Innovation called the ‘Innovation Gap Analysis Programme’ (IGAP) which is aimed at fostering and encouraging innovation in Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs). 

Innovation is ‘Creativity Being Implemented’; this is CARIRI’s own definition and something that the Institute has continually been seeking new opportunities and avenues to encourage innovative thinking.  As part of its ongoing thrust to build capacity for Innovation on a national scale, and thereby contribute more substantively to the achievement of Government's national goal of economic diversification, CARIRI has initiated the implementation of this programme.

IGAP is modeled along the lines of the Danish Technological Institute's (DTI's) Innovation Agent Programme (IAP) and is being implemented at CARIRI with consultancy support from the DTI, under a Collaboration Agreement between the Institutes.

This relationship with the DTI was formed due to CARIRI’s association and membership in the World Association of Industrial and Technological Research Organizations (WAITRO).  There are over 150 members of WAITRO from around the world and CARIRI has been searching for partnerships that will benefit the country and the region, and this is just one of them.  

The IGAP programme is intended to identify and engage potential innovations in existing companies and will also address the need to develop a culture of Innovation in private sector enterprises, particularly SMEs, based on the recognition that SMEs are particularly vulnerable to the rapidly changing dynamics of the international economic environment and, to remain competitive, these enterprises must keep their value proposition current, relevant and valuable to customers.

In this context, the IGAP would provide assistance at a number of levels, including:

  • Facilitating co-operation with national, regional and international knowledge and Innovation systems,
  • Helping companies gain access to knowledge, for instance, about new technologies and solutions that they were not aware of before and assisting them in applying that knowledge to strengthen their business and enhance competitiveness.
  • Showing companies how to generate value for their business by investing in Innovation.
  • Supporting companies, particularly SMEs, in thinking "out of the box", using their imagination, and being attentive to other factors playing a vital role in Innovation processes.
  • Helping companies, both large and small, in undertaking Innovation activity by actually developing pretotypes/prototypes, initiating user test of new business ideas and accelerating quickly to market.

Dr Erik Hallgren, Senior Consultant in Innovation at DTI's Centre for Ideas and Innovation, who is quite knowledgeable and experienced in Facilitation and Development of Innovation Processes in SMEs, spoke at the session and captured the imagination of the audience on the innovation process.  In his presentation, Dr Hallgren encouraged people to think beyond the box and get beyond the thought that we can’t compete with countries like China.  He stressed that people in this country were very innovative and he had seen and heard of many ideas that, if commercialised, could become major players in the European market.  He took the audience through the Danish innovation process and then attempted to show the linkage to T&T in the current economic environment.  He then went on to further expound on the way forward for the programme and how we can use the IGAP as an essential took in developing the innovation eco-system in private sector enterprises. 

Chief Executive Officer of CARIRI, Mr Liaquat Ali Shah urged the audience to incorporate innovation in their daily lives and to not just treat the word innovation as another fad but to understand how it can catapult an SME into the global arena.  Mr Shah has been an advocate of innovation and what can be achieved when this concept is applied.  It is with this thinking that many of the SMEs that attended the session were able to sign up for a complimentary IGAP visit to their organization to start the process of implementing an innovative culture into their processes. 

For more information on this programme, feel free to contact us at 299-0210 ext 5048 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.