Caribbean Idea Marketplace Sparks Diaspora Entrepreneurship



 

Caribbean Idea Marketplace (CIM) – Program Overview

The Caribbean Idea Marketplace (CIM) is a business plan competition that encourages local and diaspora entrepreneurs to forge partnerships around innovative projects that generate employment and economic opportunities in fifteen Caribbean countries. CIM awarded US$100,000 in matching grants to four winning projects. New applications are not being accepted at this time).

CIM is a dynamic funding initiative that seeks to:

    • Connect Caribbean entrepreneurs with Caribbean diaspora and other entrepreneurs in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. to encourage the development of new and innovative business ideas;
    • Promote entrepreneurship and business development in emerging industries;
    • Create learning networks with and among diaspora communities to share best practices, tips and resources.

Initiated by IdEA, CIM is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, the United Kingdom Department of International Development, and the Canadian International Development Agency. Additional sponsors are the United States Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Digicel, Scotiabank, and Compete Caribbean. Compete Caribbean managed the 2012-2013 initiative.

On Monday, February 25-26, 2013, CIM culminated in Kingston, Jamaica with the Diaspora Engagement Technical Roundtable, Startup Bootcamp, and Caribbean Idea Marketplace and Awards Ceremony. The Diaspora Engagement Technical Roundtable brought together key experts on diaspora engagement to generate knowledge and identify strategic interventions that can positively impact the Caribbean region. The discussion focused on four thematic areas:

    • Institutional capacity for managing migration
    • Brain circulation
    • Channeling of resources: remittances and beyond
    • Doing business with the diaspora.

The twelve finalists of the Caribbean Idea Marketplace Business Plan Competition (CIM) had the opportunity to participate in a Startup Bootcamp during both days of the conference. Developed by the World Bank’s infoDev, Startup Bootcamp is a  hands-on training that helps entrepreneurs turn their ideas into business success. During the marketplace and conference, a team of entrepreneurship experts from infoDev coached the finalists on accessing additional opportunities for funding, investment, and opportunities to partnering with an angel investor.  Startup Bootcamp provided these entrepreneurs with the opportunity to strengthen their entrepreneurial and business development skills through additional training and mentorship.

The live Caribbean Idea Marketplace took place on Tuesday, February 26 at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica. During the live marketplace, the twelve CIM finalists had the opportunity to present their innovative business ideas to an audience of potential partners and investors and receive feedback from a panel of business experts. The conference concluded later that evening  with the Caribbean Idea Marketplace Awards Ceremony where DFID and CIDA announced the winners of the CIM grants that have been made possible through the Compete Caribbean program and also the special CIM Excellence Award; while IdEA and infoDev announced the winners of the trips to the Global Forum on Innovation and Technology in South Africa in May 2013.

The event brought together key experts on diaspora engagement, entrepreneurs, leaders in business and government, and other prominent members of the Caribbean’s diverse communities. Please click here to download the conference’s agenda.


Press Releases

The Caribbean Idea Marketplace (CIM) culminated in February 2013, and you can learn more about the event and the winning business plans by reading these press releases:

CIM was officially launched on March 1, 2012 by Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who sent a video message, at the Invest Jamaica Forum in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Click here to download a press release announcing the launch of this competition.

Click here to read a full transcript of Secretary Clinton’s remarks from March 3, 2012.

Click here to read a full transcript of Secretary Clinton’s remarks from June 28, 2011.


Winners & Finalists

Over 160 applications were received from across the CARIFORUM  region (Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, St. Kitts & Nevis, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago).  After a rigorous review process, twelve entrepreneurs were selected as finalists in the Caribbean Idea Marketplace (CIM) competition. The finalists received technical support to develop business plans were be presented to an independent panel of experts and competed for US $ 100,000 in cash awards.

Finalists presented their concepts in agriculture, renewable energy, and information and communication technologies and service sector development. The winners were announced at a special awards ceremony on February 26, 2013 in Kingston, Jamaica and received matching grants based on merit, innovation, and need.

Implementation Country
Project Name
Synopsis
Jamaica Isocon-Jlb International Ltd* Create a centralized specialist ISO-tank container cleaning facility of ISO standards within the port of Kingston providing cleaning, repairs, testing and certification services to Caribbean users
Jamaica GrOganic Sustainable Farming Solutions Establish a self- sustainable low-input farming solution comprised of greenhouse farms, complemented by pig and poultry farms and a smokehouse
Guyana Plympton Farms* Develop a commercial produce farm in Guyana that uses greenhouse and drip irrigation technology to cater to Caribbean and US markets
Haiti Mache.A* Offer an agricultural platform that aims to make Haiti’s  agricultural sector profitable by connecting  farmers with vital agriculture information as well as creating a virtual commodities market
Jamaica Jamaica Agricultural Exchange (JAE) Provide a virtual market exchange for agricultural products using existing infrastructure and administration of the Jamaican Stock Exchange and with distributed locations connected by wireless technology for trading
Jamaica GSW Animation Offer a full service animation production company offering outsourcing services primarily to North American and European clients.
Jamaica Mobile Money for Microfinance*** Offer a mobile money platform to facilitate financial transactions
Barbados Genius Jack & His Tropical Friends* Create an animated episode detailing the adventures of Genius Jack and friends
Jamaica Caribbean Digital Media Academy*** Create an Academy and managed eco-system for developing the film industry in the Caribbean
St. Lucia Caribbean Environmental Solutions, Inc. Recycle and export waste products to China and India for use in manufacturing
Trinidad & Tobago Commercial Solid Waste Recycling*** Provide recycling services to industrial and commercial businesses using globally accepted standards
Dominican Republic Santo Domingo Waste Recycling Plant** Create a recycling plant to process 90% of Santo Domingo’s waste

* Grant recipient

** Received the non-monetary Award for Excellence in Innovation

*** Selected to attend the Global Forum on Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship in South Africa in May 2013


 Eligibility Criteria

The project concept note had to demonstrate how the proposal would develop either a new product/service, or a new export market for an existing product/service. CIM supports projects that have the potential to create employment and increase and diversify exports. Projects had to be able to leverage on the firms creativity and ambition to innovate. Projects were assessed and selected base on the following criteria:

    • Importance or potential impact of cluster to national economy
    • The degree of depth of cluster and value chain
    • The potential contribution to actual or potential export
    • The degree of increase to employment/income generation
    • The value added contribution to national or regional development
    • The potential contribution to the development to intra-regional trade

All commercially viable ideas were be considered, however, CIM is particularly supportive of ideas for business ventures working in “productive sectors” including but not limited to: agribusiness, handicrafts, textiles, tourism, environmental services such as waste management, construction and infrastructure, logistics and transportation, manufacturing and assembly, fisheries, and information and communication technologies (ICT).

The project concept note had to demonstrate how it will develop either a new product/service, or a new export market for an existing product/service. The project must have had the potential to create sustainable jobs for Caribbean men and women. Firms were required to have financial and/or in-kind resources available to at least match the grant amount of US$100,000. The business must be established in one of the following CARIFORUM countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haití, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The diaspora partner needed to meet the following requirements:

    • Must be a diaspora entrepreneur or other entrepreneurs who are citizen or legal resident of the USA, Canada or the UK and have a demonstrated relevant connection to, or experience in, the Caribbean.
    • Interested in establishing a new business or expand an existing business in the Caribbean.
    • Submission of a Project Concept Note with a partner who is of Caribbean origin and who resides in a CARIFORUM country.
    • Must have a Caribbean partner committed to contributing at least 25% of the funding to the proposed venture.

The Caribbean partner needed to meet these requirements:

    • Must be a citizen of one of the following CARIFORUM countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haití, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
    • Must own a legally registered business, or intend to establish a business in a CARIFORUM country.
    • Have an innovative idea of how to expand a business or introduce new goods or services to the local community.
    • Submission of a Project Concept Note with a partner from the Caribbean diaspora or other entrepreneurs who are based in the U.S., Canada, or U.K and have a demonstrated relevant connection to, or experience in, the region.
    • Must have a diaspora partner committed to contributing at least 25% of the funding to the proposed venture.

Key Dates 

March 1, 2012 Call for project concept notes opened
July 31, 2012 Extended deadline for submission of project concept notes
July 1, 2012 Announcement of selected projects to receive technical assistance
October 31, 2012 Deadline for the twelve selected projects to submit an innovative business plan
November 1-30, 2012 Evaluation of innovative business plans
February 25-26, 2013

Diaspora Engagement Technical Roundtable, Startup Bootcamp, and the Caribbean Idea Marketplace and Awards Ceremony


Video Archives

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3


Disclaimer

The statements about the Caribbean Idea Marketplace refer to a project that is being implemented by the Inter-American Development Bank. The points expressed do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Inter-American Development Bank its board of directors, or the technical advisers or the official positions of any of the other institutions that might be mentioned.