- Small Island Developing States, such as Jamaica, are susceptible to the impact of climate change on their development.
- The centre is one of the three components of the World Bank/infoDev Entrepreneurship Programme for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC), and is part of a programme funded by the Government of Canada, through the World Bank.
- The project is being executed by a consortium comprising the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute, in Trinidad and Tobago, and the Scientific Research Council (SRC) in Jamaica.
Small Island Developing States, such as Jamaica, are susceptible to the impact of climate change on their development.
In order to meet the challenges posed by the phenomena, the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC) was created in 2014, with the aim of supporting Caribbean entrepreneurs and new ventures that are developing locally appropriate solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The centre is one of the three components of the World Bank/infoDev Entrepreneurship Programme for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC), and is part of a programme funded by the Government of Canada, through the World Bank.
The project is being executed by a consortium comprising the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute, in Trinidad and Tobago, and the Scientific Research Council (SRC) in Jamaica.
In an interview with JIS News, Chief Executive Officer of the CCIC, Everton Hanson, notes that under this initiative, focus is being placed on all CARICOM countries, excluding Haiti.
“Essentially, we focus on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and we see that as a major means of creating change, jobs, and increasing employment and therefore reducing poverty,” Mr. Hanson says.
During the first phase of operation, the centre sought to provide services and support to climate oriented entrepreneurs in various areas, such as sustainable agribusiness, resource use efficiency/recycling, energy efficiency, solar energy and water management.
The CCIC also provided targeted support, mentoring, training and funding to selected clean technology innovators/entrepreneurs in the CARICOM countries.
“What we have done so far is a proof of concept competition, where we invited applicants from all over the Caribbean, who want to go into climate related businesses to apply for grants,” Mr. Hanson tells JIS News.
Under the proof of concept competition, entrepreneurs and MSMEs were provided with an opportunity to receive funding of up to US$50,000 to develop and test innovative climate technology solutions.
Phase One of the project was highly successful, as 11 entrepreneurs were selected as proof of concept winners and awarded grants ranging from US$10,000 to US$50,000, totalling approximately US$425,000. The winners were from Jamaica, Antigua, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St. Lucia and Belize.
The four Jamaican winners are Shirley Lindo, Castor Oil Briquettes; Dr. Kert Edward, Fibre Optic Solar Indoor Lighting; Robert Wright, Pedro Banks Renewable Energy; and Harlo Mayne, for his H2-Flex Hydrogen Hybrid Project.
Speaking at a cocktail reception to highlight the work of the CCIC, held recently at the Scientific Research Council (SRC), in St. Andrew, beneficiary Shirley Lindo was grateful for the funding she received for her project, ‘Castor Oil Briquettes’.
Briquettes are slow burning high energy, eco friendly fuel source made from organic vegetable matter, paper and waste from the processing of castor oil. Briquettes are a simple efficient fuel, which burn efficiently, does not harm live trees and can easily replace charcoals as an economic fuel source for all incomes levels.
Ms Lindo notes that she and her partner have been in the business of castor oil for 13 years, with funding primarily “out of our back pockets.”
“I remember the days (of) hooking up my skirt to plough the fields to plant and to sift castor oil. Thankfully, we were saved by this grant. We decided to make something of the waste of our product, because we were having mounds of this smelly thing in our back yard and when we burnt it, it gave a lovely flame,” she says.
Ms. Lindo hopes to have her products on the market by December 2015.
Another grateful recipient is Harlo Mayne, who received grant funding for his innovation, ‘H2-Flex Hydrogen Hybrid Kit’.
The Kit converts water, aluminium, and lye into hydrogen gas for the transportation industry.
“This product… a $2,000 cartridge, would take you about 300 miles providing you are driving a 2000-pound vehicle. For just $2,000 you could go from Kingston to Montego Bay and back to Kingston and still could drive around a little bit and at the same time you are saving the environment,” Mr. Mayne says.
“This is a product that is going to be needed for the entire globe, not just for Jamaica, but for a world suffering from high oil prices. It’s a product that is close to being finalised. The only problem that we had, was to get a water pump to work the technology. That has been sorted,” he adds.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, is lauding the CCIC for its support of Caribbean entrepreneurs.
“This is a programme that encourages entrepreneurs to come up with solutions. You provide funding, so that they can build a solution which won’t necessarily just solve a problem in Jamaica, or the Caribbean, but which can solve problems globally,” Mr. Robinson says.
Meanwhile, going forward the CCIC is seeking to place focus on areas, such as energy and water management.
“If you look at the cost of energy in the Caribbean it can be as high as over 40 cents per kilowatt hour. So we feel we can have the greatest impact there,” Mr. Hanson notes.
Another Proof of Concept grant funding competition for new cohorts of entrepreneurs will also be held.
Mr. Hanson says information regarding this will be placed on the centre’s website: http://www.caribbeancic.org, in the next few weeks.
The centre will also, under this second phase, provide training (including access to financing, market development and business incubation training); mentoring and networking opportunities; and specific business incubation services for entrepreneurs or innovators.
“Climate change is here and we need to do as much as we can to mitigate and adapt,” the Chief Executive Officer emphasises.