CHRIST CHURCH, BARBADOS, JANUARY 19, 2018 – Eight finalists representing cluster projects from across the region vied for funding from Compete Caribbean on Friday, January 19, 2018 during an Investment Panel at the Inter-American Development Bank (IBD) Barbados Country Office.
The Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility (CCPF) is a private sector development program funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The CCPF executes projects in 13 countries across the Caribbean, working with a broad mix of private, public and not-for-profit organizations to deliver innovative and practical solutions that stimulate economic growth, increase productivity and foster innovation and competitiveness.
To make recommendations on which projects should receive funding, an independent panel of judges evaluated the cluster projects’ potential impact on employment creation, including for women and marginalized groups, and on the generation of revenue and foreign exchange. Clusters are defined as three or more private sector firms collaborating to produce and sell new or better products/services at competitive costs on the regional or international market.
Compete Caribbean’s call for cluster project proposals, which closed in November 2017, received 91 applications from 13 Caribbean countries. Forty-one percent of the proposals were from the agriculture, agro-processing and aquaculture sector; 17% were related to the creative/cultural industry; 17% were related to the tourism sector; and 16% to the service sector.
The Investment Panel heard pitches from one finalist from Grenada (Hidden Treasures – North East Cluster), two finalists from Suriname (Promotion and Enhancement of the North Commewijne Tourism Destination and Suriname High Value Natural Products Cluster), two from Belize (Belize Shrimp Biosecurity Aquaculture Zone and Enhancing Six Small Tourism Enterprises in Toledo) and three from Jamaica (Digitization of Jamaica’s Outsourcing Industry, Pepper Supply Chain and JBU Grow Castor Bean Project) whose projects span the tourism, agro-processing and service sectors.
Compete Caribbean will grant the selected cluster project(s) 80% of the total budget for the proposed project, to a maximum of USD$400,000. The winning cluster(s) must, in turn, contribute a minimum of 20% of the total project cost, half of which can be provided in-kind. Professional consultants will also be available to support the project development process.
Executive Director of Compete Caribbean, Sylvia Dohnert, highlighted that Phase One of the CCPF was successful in creating nearly 12,000 jobs, increasing the revenue of participating firms by 41% and increasing their exports on average by 23%. Indicating that this prompted the donors to approve a Phase Two, Dohnert noted that in addition to continuing their work with governments and private sector, in this second phase Compete Caribbean will be focused on transferring knowledge to business support organizations (BSOs) of the region.
Accordingly, the Investment Panel was preceded by a two-day regional workshop for Capacity Building of Business Support Organizations. This workshop formally marked the start of Compete Caribbean’s Cluster Capacity Building in Small and Vulnerable Countries project, which Dohnert explained “is a project to increase the capacity of these business support organizations to identify very good cluster projects, to develop the strategies for them and to help implement them.”
The workshop was attended by 10 BSOs – Grenada Investment Development Corporation, Jamaica Manufacturers Association, Jamaica Business Development Corporation, BELTRAIDE (Belize Invest), Centre for Economic Development (St Vincent and the Grenadines), Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana, Dominica Export Import Authority (DEXIA), Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association, St Lucia Trade Export Promotion Agency, as well as the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
For other information about Compete Caribbean initiatives to aid private sector development, visit www.competecaribbean.org.