Director General of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Dr Didacus Jules, says the Green Entrepreneurship Initiative aligns with the vision and goals of the sub-regional grouping and will serve as an important tool in confronting some of the existential threats facing the region.
“Importantly, the project aligns with three of the OECS strategic priorities: accelerating regional integration; reinventing the economy while valuing the environment; and protecting the vulnerable and empowering youth,” he said, adding that a project like this “signals the dawn of a new era that takes us closer to the economic reinvention and resilience”.
he OECS Commission has launched the Eastern Caribbean Greenpreneurs Incubator Programme in collaboration with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI).
“Teams or individual entrepreneurs with a green business idea or leading an early-stage green enterprise can now apply to be part of the Eastern Caribbean Greenpreneurs Incubator Programme; a free, carefully curated training program designed to support green entrepreneurs to build robust and sustainable business models by giving them the skills, tools, and confidence to implement them successfully,” the OECS Commission said in a statement.
It said the programme is part of the wider Eastern Caribbean Green Entrepreneurship Initiative, a three -year project supported by the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD).
“Importantly, the project aligns with three of the OECS strategic priorities: accelerating regional integration; reinventing the economy while valuing the environment; and protecting the vulnerable and empowering youth,— Didacus Jules, director general, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
The programme is opened to applicants from Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts- Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines and will run from October to January 2022 offering 12-weeks of virtual training, networking opportunities and the opportunity to participate in a business plan pitch competition to win grant seed funding of US$10,000.
The OECS Commission said that a mentorship programme will be a key element of the incubator whereby each Greenpreneur, based on needs and preferences, will be assigned a mentor who will act as a ‘sounding board’ to support them through the process of building out their business models.
“A call for mentors has been launched for dynamic and experienced business persons in the private sector, as well as knowledgeable persons within the public sector who are willing to share their time and experiences as mentors,” the commission said, adding that a separate Accelerator programme to be launched later this year as part of the same initiative will also offer interest-free loans in amounts up to US$50,000 and a structured program for connecting with investors.
CGGI Director General Frank Rijsberman said that investing in green makes general, macro-economic sense “but we also recognize that the majority of new jobs in developing and emerging economies are created by micro, small and medium enterprises.
“Such private sector small start-up enterprises are the engine of innovation and will be at the heart of a green transition. Through this Eastern Caribbean Green Entrepreneurship Initiative, we look forward to working closely with our partners to support such a new generation of budding green entrepreneurs, to help them realize their dreams and jointly build a more sustainable future for us all,” he added.