The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) on Friday last announced the award of US$ 100,000 grants to seven cultural projects through an initiative that will provide emergency relief to the creative industries (CI) sector in the wake of COVID-19.
According to the CDB, the grant will assist CI entrepreneurs who demonstrated loss of income from music, festival and carnival events that have been cancelled as a result of COVID-19. The CDB disbursed the funds under a special Emergency Relief Grant, an output of the its Cultural and Creative Industries Innovation Fund (CIIF)
“CIIF received over 300 applications from 17 of CDB’s 19 Borrowing Member Countries,” Lisa Harding, coordinator, Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) Development at CDB noted.
After perusing the applications, the bank selected entrepreneurs from Barbados, Belize and Jamaica based on the potential of their projects to provide resources and benefits to a wide cross-section of CI stakeholders across the region.
Kingston Creative from Jamaica, who recently re-fashioned its monthly Artwalk Festival into a virtual event after closure due to the pandemic, received a grant of US$8,000.
Managing Director Andrea Chung, in her response to the award stated: “Kingston Creative is thrilled to be a recipient of the CDB-CIIF Emergency Relief Grant. This grant will allow the organisation to host the Downtown Kingston Art District Virtual Artwalk in 2021 — a festival that keeps our local artistes showcasing their talent, earning and creating new work. It is great that the CDB-CIIF has found a way to respond to the crisis in the Caribbean and support creative people.”
Out of Barbados, ticketing and event management entity TicketLinkz received a grant for US$ 5,000 to assist in audience building to increase reach while working toward building capacity for larger streaming audiences. The company also plans to expand its service to include a wider range of event types and regional projects which will benefit CI stakeholders.
The other grant recipients were Barbados Innovative Media TV (US$15,000); broadcast production company MarNiko Media out of Barbados (US$12,000); Headline Entertainment and CaribTix Jamaica Limited (US$18,000); Barbados-based Operation Triple Threat (US$20,000); and Belize Music Agency (US$12,000) to support its COVID relief efforts.
James Sanker, the owner of the Belize Music Agency, emphasised that thise grant is timely, since “COVID-19 has forced us to be more innovative [and] we needed to execute some of our plans to stay in the game”.