The National Commission on Science and Technology (NCST) and the Scientific Research Council (SRC) are galvanising their resources to help local innovators develop their ideas for commercialisation.
The objective is to increase the role of science, technology and innovation in achieving sustainable social and economic development.
As a first activity, the entities hosted a workshop at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on January 24 for winners and shortlisted candidates in the 2014, 2016, and 2018 national innovation competitions.
The event provided an opportunity for the participants to benefit from support aimed at strengthening their capacity for developing and launching their inventions, and to benefit from information-sharing and network-building.
In attendance were representatives of innovation support centres at the University of the West Indies (UWI), University of Technology (UTech), Northern Caribbean University (NCU), and Caribbean Maritime University (CMU).
Agencies such as the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (JMEA), Bronson Centre, Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), and Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) were also on hand to engage the innovators.
Director General for the NCST, Professor Errol Morrison, in his remarks at the opening ceremony said that the workshop provides an “excellent opportunity to bring innovating minds together to show off and improve on what you are doing. Much of what we are doing will help you to improve in presenting your business and innovations”.
He noted that the structure of the innovation awards has changed to now include pre- and post-awards capacity-building activities in order to “identify outstanding potential projects and take (them) to that next step”.
Marketing Manager at the SRC, Carolyn Rose Miller, emphasised the importance of developing the ideas and innovations unearthed by the awards into viable businesses.
“What really needs to happen is an institutionalised post-award programme to ensure that these innovative, great ideas are not only recognised but provide hand-holding support, coaching, financial support to take the innovation successfully to commercialisation,” she said.
“It is only in this way that our economy will grow; by providing innovative solutions and also exporting these ideas. The SRC, along with the NCST is committed to making this process a success,” she added.
A committee has been established, chaired by the SRC, to design activities to engage participants of the innovation competition in order to build their capacity to take advantage of the potential of their innovations and ideas, and connect them to available local resources.
The workshop introduced participants to a programme developed by the California-based innovation management corporation, The Vault, used to facilitate consultations with enterprises of various sizes, to scale and expand their businesses.