‘Change Dah Story’ seeks to stimulate social entrepreneurship in Belize

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BELMOPAN, Belize – The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) with its partners in the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility (CCPF) — the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, the Caribbean Development Bank and the government of Canada, is conducting a new social innovation challenge in Belize known as ‘Change Dah Story’.

Change Dah Story, which is also supported by the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) and the department of youth services, was launched on October 10 at the Best Western Plus Belize Biltmore Plaza in Belize City and seeks to support the development of innovative technology solutions to solve pressing social and environmental problems impacting vulnerable youth in Belize, including crime and violence.

The launch marked the start of a call for proposals that are open to individuals and organizations including students, professionals, entrepreneurs, private-sector companies, academia, NGOs, community groups and the wider Belizean populace, including citizens living abroad and foreigners with legal residence in Belize. Using innovation and social entrepreneurship as transformative tools, the challenge will engage these potential solvers to harness their collective knowledge, experience, and creativity to generate innovative business ideas and new business models.

“Innovation and digital technology are transforming economies and societies in profound ways. We hope that through this challenge and the successful implementation of the business models developed, that vulnerable youth and their communities across the country will be empowered to transcend barriers and to contribute more effectively in a digital world to the social and economic development of Belize”, says Dr Cassandra T. Rogers, IDB’s country representative in Belize.

The challenge is the first iteration of a social innovation lab methodology that has been used by the IDB in the region and is now being piloted in Belize under the theme ‘Ideas for Change’ by the CCPF in collaboration with the IDB’s country office in Belize.

“With this approach, social problems are perceived as opportunities that can provide the impetus for creative and entrepreneurial solutions,” says Dr Sylvia Dohnert, executive director of the CCPF and private sector development lead specialist at the IDB.

“Belize was chosen as the locus of this pilot due to its entrepreneurial dynamism and creativity. At the same time, social problems that Belize experiences are similar to those of other countries in the Caribbean and even in the Central American region, which creates conditions for potential scalability of such solutions,” she said.

Proposals can be submitted in one or more of four pre-identified categories: education, recreation, parenting and employment, and up to three winning proposals will be selected to receive US$10,000 each in training, mentoring and initial funding to put their ideas and prototypes into work.

The deadline for submission is December 1, 2019. For more information and/or to submit a proposal, please visit www.iadb.org/changedahstory.

The launch event coincides with the celebration of the IDB’s 60th anniversary. Belize joined the IDB in 1992 and this year marks the country’s 27th year as a bank shareholder.

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