Jamaica Dominated CCIC Boot Camps in 2016

Photo: Contributed Caribbean Climate Innovation Center (CCIC) Project Manager, Carlington Burrel.

Story Highlights

  • Approximately 40 green technology start-up entities have been established through the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center’s (CCIC) seven boot camps held across the region in 2016.
  • Project Manager, Carlington Burrel, says that of these, 16 were Jamaican companies, with 10 coming from Trinidad and the remainder from other Caribbean islands.
  • The Project Manager says the boot camp has brought together engineers, developers, marketers and industry experts as well as start-up enthusiasts to identify current climate problems. These participants form teams and launch start-ups.

Approximately 40 green technology start-up entities have been established through the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center’s (CCIC) seven boot camps held across the region in 2016.

Project Manager, Carlington Burrel, says that of these, 16 were Jamaican companies, with 10 coming from Trinidad and the remainder from other Caribbean islands.

He notes that Jamaicans are super-competitive with a strong entrepreneurship spirit, and argues that this could account for their dominance in the camp.

The CCIC, which is based at the Scientific Research Council (SRC) in Kingston, administers the Caribbean green technology start-up boot camp programme that empowers entrepreneurs to bring innovative inputs to market in an effort to address climate change.

The CCIC’s focus areas include: agriculture and agro-business; solar energy; water and waste-water management; and the efficient use of energy and resources.

Mr. Burrel says energy is the most dominated field with the highest number of entrepreneurs focusing on this area, while agriculture and agro-processing have been getting the second highest level of interest.

However, he says that there are a few companies which also focus on efficient use of resources.

The dominance of the energy field, Mr. Burrel notes, may be attributed to the fact that it is “one of the greatest challenges we face in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean.”

“We consume a lot of energy, and the rates for electricity are very high. So our start-ups are really focusing a lot on the efficient use of energy, solar energy and other alternative forms of energy,” he adds.

The Project Manager says the boot camp has brought together engineers, developers, marketers and industry experts as well as start-up enthusiasts to identify current climate problems. These participants form teams and launch start-ups.

He explains that prior to the start of each camp, “there are ideation sessions where a panel of experts from various sectors assists with the brainstorm to find ways to mitigate issues involving climate change.”

Mr. Burrel explains that the aim is to “foster regional entrepreneurship, strengthen our community and to enable start-ups to have access to global markets.”

To date, he says the boot camps have been executed in seven countries including of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize and Dominica.

From these, a number of winners have matriculated to the CCIC’s Accelerator Programme which, he explains, “allows entrepreneurs to get access to financing, access to a global mentorship network; as well as global markets.”

Mr. Burrel points out that persons can participate in the Accelerator Programme either by attending the boot camps or applying directly to the programme.

The CCIC currently has 14 hubs across the Caribbean region and over 100 mentors.

In the meantime, Mr. Burrel says the CCIC is in the process of executing boot camps for 2017.

He says that the entity have partnered with the Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurship Programme (CTEP), and will be executing camps in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Barbados and Haiti.

For Jamaica the CCIC head says that they will also be partnering with a number of organisations, including the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), to strategise with a goal of minimising waste, achieving energy efficiency and creating solutions to mitigate climate change.

“The CCIC is climate-driven, and we are here to find innovative ways, to give Jamaicans and the rest of the Caribbean the business education, through our programmes,” Mr. Burrel adds.

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