Castries, January 13, 2016; The Government of Saint Lucia, through the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) at the Ministry of Commerce congratulates three (3) Saint Lucian firms for seizing the opportunity to participate in The Challenge;
1. Eco Carib – A Green Energy Savings Company which promotes renewable energy solutions for residents and businesses across the Caribbean. This is a sole trader entity owned and operated by Mr. Denell Florius, a tenacious Gros Islet youth and career entrepreneur.
2. Wavemaker Photography – A digital photography start-up promoting positive imagery and artwork depicting Caribbean lifestyle. As the name suggests, this enterprise has been making waves in the local market with its principal, Mr. James Adjodha, using his communications and networking skills to beat the competition. It is a partnership entity operating in Castries, Saint Lucia.
3. Promoting Health Community Clinic (PHCC) – A private health clinic offering advice and treatment to local residents who are unable to travel to public hospitals or meet the costs of other private doctors. This social entrepreneurship initiative presents a workable and scalable model that can perhaps be replicated in developing nations across the globe. It was conceptualized by Dr. Prisca Regis-Andrew, a nurse by profession and a resident of Marisule, Gros Islet.
This is testament to the entrepreneurial spirit that they possess, and also the opportunities available to those who are SBDC clients. The event was promoted via social media, on the SBDC website, and emailed to SBDC Clients. Only four (4) business owners applied. The Ministry of Commerce is pleased to announce that it will be sponsoring fifty percent (50%) of the participants’ expenses to facilitate their participation at the event in Trinidad, while ongoing technical support will be provided through the SBDC. Only three (3) start-ups will be chosen from the Region to move to the next round which takes place in New York City in March 2016. We wish our participants success. Regardless of the outcome they will emerge from the competition better and stronger.
A representative of the Ministry of Commerce will also be attending the event in Trinidad. This move is intended both to provide assistance on the ground for this year’s participants as well as to allow us to better prepare future participants of the Challenge Cup. The event’s organizers, 1776 in collaboration with the Caribbean Returning Nationals Foundation (CRN) hope to make this an annual event with Saint Lucia being considered as a future host nation.
The first annual Challenge Cup-Caribbean to promote regional innovation will be held on Friday, January 15th, 2016 in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Each year, “1776”, a global incubator and venture fund headquartered in the US, hosts a worldwide innovation tournament termed the Challenge Cup. The event is for promising, scalable start-ups to win cash prizes, make international connections and share their vision on a global stage.
Although the Challenge Cup events have previously taken place across the globe, including the US, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, etc., this will be the first time an event takes place in the Caribbean. This Caribbean participation is being spearheaded through The Caribbean Returning Nationals Foundation (CRN) a non-profit organization that supports economic development in the Caribbean to reverse the effects of brain drain by reinvesting financial resources and technical skills from the Diaspora back into the region.
CRN has paired up with 1776 to bring the Challenge Cup to the Caribbean region. As previously mentioned, this Regional leg of the Challenge Cup competition will see three winning start-ups being selected to represent the Caribbean region at the Challenge Cup Finals to be held in the US later this year.
Despite only three (3) eventual winners from this regional round of competition, all participants at the event will benefit from informative programming, access to potential partners and investors, and networking opportunities with international colleagues and agencies.