OECS – Compete Caribbean partner to strengthen entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems

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Kwesi Roberts

CASTRIES, St Lucia — The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission (OECS Commission) with the support of Compete Caribbean, recently hosted a Kick-off meeting for a project that seeks to strengthen the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems in the OECS.

The project, launched via video conference with stakeholders from across the OECS and wider Caribbean, will be implemented by the OECS Commission, with support from the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The initiative seeks to strengthen the ecosystem for entrepreneurship and innovation in six OECS Member States, namely Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The project is expected to foster greater collaboration between key stakeholders in the entrepreneurship ecosystem and to support OECS entrepreneurs in scaling their businesses. Over time it is also expected that the survival rate of OECS startups will greatly improve and firms will also access and utilise more digital financial technology solutions.

The implementation phase will comprise three components, the first of which will be the development of a Hybrid Business Incubator and secondly the development of a regional Hybrid Accelerator Programme for high-potential firms. Component three of the project will focus on Increasing access to digital financial services to SMEs in the OECS.

The project launch featured presentations from the OECS director general, Dr Didacus Jules; director of economic affairs and regional integration, Jacqueline Emmanuel-Flood; and other technical specialists from the OECS Competitive Business Unit.

The meeting also received presentations and remarks from the IDB Compete Caribbean team including Dr Sylvia Dohnert, private sector lead specialist, IDB and executive director, Compete Caribbean; Annie Bertrand, coordinator pillar one – productivity and innovation in the private sector, Compete Caribbean; and Dr Kieron Swift, project development consultant, Compete Caribbean.

The webinar allowed regional stakeholders to gain a better understanding of the:

  • Entrepreneurship development in the OECS – goals, activities, policy framework, focus areas, challenges, and opportunities;
  • OECS ecosystem study findings and overview of the project; and
  • Strategies for strengthening the ecosystem for entrepreneurship and innovation in the OECS.

There was also a question and answer segment which allowed stakeholders to provide feedback on the project and share their perspectives on entrepreneurship and innovation in the OECS.

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