The euphoria and excitement associated with launching and growing a small business venture are often whittled away by manifold challenges including partnership pitfalls, financial resources, poor problem definition and market misalignment. Other contributory factors include timing, passion without purpose (or vice versa), (unyielding) regulatory context and even a founder’s characterization, risk appetite or personal proclivities.

Undoubtedly, the freedom that entrepreneurship offers is tethered by the realities of responsibility and accountability to team, employees, partners, financers, customers or clients. The allure of a flexible schedule which triggered the switch from a traditional career path swiftly begins to morph to resemble longer days and working weekends. These growing pains of the first year along with its triumphs and investment deals may still not generate adequate cash flow to sustain the business over the next year.  After all, statistics remind us that that more than half of all startups fail within 2 to 5 years.

CARIRI’s Business HATCHERY through a rigorous screening and selection process offers entrepreneurs a 3 month Business Hatchery Programme to advance to marketability and  collaborate with other entrepreneur peers, apply business fundamentals through a structured curriculum, access mentorship and coaching support and strengthen business pitch techniques.

The Programme’s curriculum takes entrepreneurs through five key areas: Base Case Analysis and Value Proposition, Marketing, Accounting and Finance, Business Model and Business Pitch Development. However, the value of the Programmelies in the questions rather than predominantly in the advice, that embolden entrepreneurs to broaden their gaze, tap into overlooked opportunities and develop self-reliance at arriving at critical decisions. Whilst the programme serves entrepreneurs from a wide range of industries and mixed career backgrounds, it holds entrepreneurs to deliverables through a combination of disciplined, facilitative and hands-on approaches that are customized to their businesses.

As entrepreneurship grows in appeal, a fundamental yet sometimes understated point is: all businesses and/or products must solve a customer’s problem or address a customer’s pain points. In strategic planning, an erroneous problem definition will generate objectives, options and conclusions that lead to divergent implementation schedules and execution plans far removed from the original problem to be resolved. Similarly, CARIRI’s Business HATCHERY Programmehelps entrepreneurs to evaluate who would benefit from what they do and why it would matter. Pivoting and refining an initial business proposition are therefore integral to the Business Hatchery process. After all, a hypothesis untested by robust market research yields an invalidated problem definition and potentially a thin value proposition.

On a macro level, the Business Hatchery Programme encourages business development and stimulates economic development. At the end of the 3 month programme, participants have an opportunity to pitch to an external panel of potential investors. Although there are no guarantees of investment, all panelists provide probing feedback, advice for improvement and specific industry recommendations.

Having concluded its fourth Business Hatchery cycle in November 2015, entrepreneurs’ attestations emphasized that CARIRI’s Business HatcheryProgramme reduced their learning curves and provided holistic assistance to think and work through processes in bringing a product to market. Feedback also indicated most entrepreneurs felt ready to implement their product / service in the Trinidad and Tobago market within six months, having fully fashioned and (even tested) their final product or service. A significant output of the Business Hatchery Programme is the impact on the time frame to bring a product to market. Other ancillary benefits include the network of entrepreneurs, business tools and systematic methodology which are important drivers to growth.

The mixed team of consultants and staff in CARIRI’s Business Hatchery Programme provide pivotal support in steering entrepreneurs’ growth and remain a key differentiating factor from similar business incubator programmes. As a participant characterized, “CARIRI’s Business HATCHERY Programme assisted in the determination of a feasible and logical concept of the business model…The team also seemed family oriented, making us comfortable and productive.”

We invite online applications for our upcoming Business Hatchery cycles in January 2016 and encourage all budding and existing entrepreneurs to get gritty about their growth.

For more information, please contact CARIRI’s Business Hatchery at 299-0210 ext 2661 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Before being placed in a formwork, steel reinforcement may become rusted, because it was initially exposed to the atmosphere.

When freshly-mixed concrete is placed around this steel, the mixing water penetrates through the rust pores, where it gradually forms hydrated calcium ferrite (4.CaO. Fe2 O3 13H2 O). Moreover, this water reacts with steel and forms a thin layer of iron and calcium hydroxides, respectively [Fe(OH)2] and [Ca(OH)2].

All these products in the vicinity of steel raise the pH of concrete pore solution, up to about 13. It should be noted that when in contact with initial rust, cement hydration is disturbed and a transition zone is locally formed. Concrete is more homogeneous when far from this zone.

The concrete mixing water makes it possible to form some products, which protect the steel by passivation. More precisely, under atmospherically induced rust, reinforcement is covered with a thin protective layer of white products, containing ferrite and calcium hydroxides.

Such protection vanishes when large cracks reach reinforcements or the porosity of the concrete is large enough to allow aggressive elements to reach the steel surface.

Corrosion with rusting of reinforcement in concrete comprises two stages. In the first stage (or step), the aggressive elements, such as chloride or carbon dioxide (CO2) (Cl-), present in the surrounding medium penetrates the concrete - this is the initiation stage. The second stage is propagation which starts, when these aggressive bodies are in rather high concentrations at the reinforcement level. This corresponds to rust growth, which can break concrete cover.

These stages are described as follows:

 A first stage involves the transfers of aggressive agents (mainly carbon dioxide and chloride) of water and of oxygen, inducing the corrosion initiation (de-passivation of reinforcement)

 A stage of corrosion growth, leading to concrete damage, to spalling, cracks, etc. This stage starts when the contents of aggressive agents are high enough to reinforcing steel.

To describe steel corrosion in concrete, it is advisable to define, on one hand, the penetration of the aggressive agents through concrete and, on the other hand, the conditions of depassivation of reinforcement, then the dissolution rate of metal and the rust growth.

For more information, please contact the Metallurgy Unit at CARIRI at 285-5050

Why is Calibration So Important?

Calibration quantifies the risk associated with a measurement. It provides a user with an unbroken chain between the instrument in use, and its corresponding SI unit. Calibration also evaluates how an instrument drifts from the true value with time; thereby providing a means of determining if a device is stable or approaching the end of its useful life. There are two distinct types of calibration. “As Found” or “Post Adjust” (sometimes referred to as “As Left”).

“As Found” calibrations report the deviation of the unit under calibration (UUC) from the true value, in its existing, unadjusted state. This gives the end user a sense of how well their in-service equipment is performing, and is usually done when the UUC cannot be adjusted, or by client request. The “Post Adjust” calibration seeks to reduce the deviation between the UUC and the true value – thus the UUC has a more “accurate” state at the end of the calibration. “Post Adjust” calibrations are usually desirable; however, certain instruments simply cannot be adjusted. Some of these include: liquid in glass thermometers, reference masses, dial indicators and some self calibrating electronic instruments. In such circumstances, the end user will have to manually correct measured data using their calibration certificate. Thus the calibration certificate is not simply evidence of calibration and traceability, but a tool that the user must employ to attain accurate measurements.

To get more information on calibration, its philosophy, and to learn more about CARIRI’s Metrology Services, check out our interactive, on-line presentation:

 

http://prezi.com/v1qdzfqj1k5d/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share.

 

CARNIVAL & FOOD SAFETY

Food safety may be compromised around Carnival time for various reasons. Many of the causes stem from improper cleaning and sanitation practices as well as poor personal hygiene. This Carnival, keep these tips in mind to ensure that you and your family consume safe food:

Hot foods should be held at 60oC or above and cold food should be kept at 5oC (refrigerator temperature) once prepared

Do not pack hot foods together with cold foods

When transporting food, keep perishable foods on ice. Fried chicken, potato salad, ham, beef and fish, egg or chicken sandwiches need to be kept cold. You can also freeze meat sandwiches the night before

Be careful about ice - separate ice for consumption from ice to be used for cooling in different coolers

Foods should also be bought freshly prepared and should be piping hot. Salads and vegetables are supposed to be kept on ice

Take plenty of moist towelettes or baby wipes and instant hand sanitizer with you to clean your hands before touching food.

If you depend on street vendors for food, be alert of the following:

Their food handlers badge should be current and displayed

Their immediate surroundings are clean, free of litter, pests and other contaminants

The vendor’s attire – they should on have hair nets, closed-toe shoes and not be wearing jewellery whilst handling food. Coats/aprons and gloves should also be clean

The vendor should have facilities that include a supply of clean, potable water in addition to liquid antibacterial soap, hand-drying paper towels and a covered waste receptacle that allows him/her to practice regular hand-washing

Foods should be in temperature controlled devices, such as food warmers and other insulated containers that keep foods out of the temperature danger zone (5-60oC)

All equipment and utensils are clean, functioning, well maintained and made of food grade material (e.g. stainless steel)

If food is being sold from a vehicle, the vehicle should be clean and well maintained

The vendor’s personal behavior does not compromise food safety (e.g. he/she is not eating, drinking, chewing gum, smoking or chattering excessively whilst preparing food)

Food packaging materials such as boxes, paper and bags are properly sealed and kept away from airborne contaminants, chemicals and any other hazards that can pose a food safety risk

The vendor is not showing signs of illness such as excessive sneezing, coughing, vomiting, having to use the washroom often and other such symptoms

If you would like to learn more, contact the Caribbean Food Safety Centre (CFSC) at CARIRI at 299-0210 Ext. 5172 / 5053 or you can log on to our website www.cariri.com. Like us Facebook at www.facebook.com/caribbeanindustrialresearchinstitute or follow us on Twitter @cariri_tt

You have just bought a new thermometer to measure the temperature of a solution you prepare for clients. The solution needs to be a specific temperature and you assume that the new thermometer you bought gives an accurate measurement. However, there is a possibility that this thermometer gives an incorrect measurement, or is “off” by one or two degrees. To ensure that you get a correct temperature measurement from your thermometer, you should get it calibrated.

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