Honourable Portia Simpson Miller Launches Caribbean Idea Marketplace Initiative

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Today in Montego Bay, in the context of the Jamaica Investment Forum 2012, the Honourable Portia Simpson Miller launched the Caribbean Idea Marketplace initiative (CIM), a business plan competition platform that encourages local and diaspora entrepreneurs to forge partnerships around innovative projects that will generate employment and economic opportunities in the Caribbean region.
At the launch, Mr. Steven J. Puig, Vice President for the Private Sector & Non-Sovereign Guaranteed Operations, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) emphasized the important role the diaspora plays in development, through remittances, investments and imports. He further underlined the commitment of the IDB in supporting initiatives like CIM in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Mr. Kris Balderston, US Secretary of State’s Special Representative for Global Partnerships, introduced a video message from US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, highlighting US Government support for CIM. Special Representative Balderston explained that CIM is part of the International diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA), an innovative platform for public-private partnerships designed to engage diaspora communities, the private sector, and public institutions in a collaborative process. He stated that the goal of IdEA is to support the development of diaspora-centered partnerships that promote trade and investment, volunteerism, philanthropy, diplomacy, entrepreneurship, and innovation in countries of origin.
Present at the head table were other sponsors of the program: Graham Glover, United Kingdom’s Deputy High Commissioner to Jamaica; Marie T. Legault, Counsellor and Head, Development Cooperation, Canadian International Development Agency-Jamaica Office; Mimi Alemayehou, Executive Vice President, Overseas Private Investment Corporation; Mark Linehan, Chief Executive Officer, Digicel Jamaica and Michael Thompson, Senior Vice President, Corporate and Commercial Banking, Scotiabank Jamaica. The sponsors said they were pleased to be involved in a programme which has the potential to bring significant and positive benefit to the Caribbean region. They also confirmed their commitment to this innovative initiative and praised Compete Caribbean for leading the implementation of the program.
Mark Linehan, CEO of Digicel Jamaica, commented: “As the number one mobile operator in the region, Digicel is committed to – and has been instrumental in – creating employment and opportunities for Caribbean people and to driving innovation and economic growth. As such, we are delighted to be a part of this fantastic programme.”
“Scotiabank is proud to support the CIM because we believe it has the potential to create economic opportunities through the creation and expansion of small and medium enterprises,” said Claude Norfolk, Senior Vice-President for the Caribbean Region, Scotiabank. “We have been supporting trade and businesses in the region for 120 years and know first-hand the benefits these partnerships create.”
Mr. Jose Jorge Saavedra, Executive Director of Compete Caribbean and Melissa Martinez-Nadal, Caribbean Idea Marketplace Coordinator delivered a special presentation on the new initiative.
Compete Caribbean will manage the initiative and will provide US$100,000 grant funding for winning projects. Compete Caribbean is a program that provides technical assistance grants and investment funding to support private sector development in the Caribbean region. The program is jointly funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United Kingdom Department of International Development (DFID) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The Program supports projects in 15 Caribbean countries in partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank.
Mr. Saavedra said that “CIM is an opportunity for entrepreneurs on both sides of the Atlantic to upgrade and expand their businesses and increase revenue. At the same time, this initiative can also help to solve some of the Caribbean region’s most pressing challenges by increasing investment, employment and the availability of goods and services. It is therefore fitting that we launch CIM at this Jamaica Investment Forum where public and private sector actors from across the region have come together to discuss investment opportunities in Jamaica, and we thank the Jamaican Government and the organizers of the Forum for the opportunity.”
Ms. Martinez-Nadal invited local and diaspora entrepreneurs to submit applications for CIM funding. She stated: “CIM will award grants on a competitive basis. Individuals and firms in CARIFORUM countries wishing to participate in CIM are invited to submit a Project Concept Note at www.caribbeanidea.org. Ideas must be submitted in partnership with a Caribbean diaspora entrepreneur or business located in the USA, Canada and the UK. The application window will be open from today until May 31st , 2012.”
More information about the initiative can also be found on the website, www.caribbeanidea.org, or by contacting Compete Caribbean at diasporacim@iadb.org.
About Compete Caribbean
Compete Caribbean is a private sector development program that provides technical assistance grants and investment funding to support productive development policies, business climate reforms, clustering initiatives and Small and Medium Size Enterprise (SME) development activities in the Caribbean region.
The program, jointly funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United Kingdom Department of International Development (DFID) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), supports projects in 15 Caribbean countries.
The program’s estimated value is US$40.0 million, of which DFID and CIDA contributed US$32.55 million.
Projects in the OECS countries are implemented in partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank.
For more information on Compete Caribbean, please visit the website: www.competecaribbean.org.
About Digicel
After ten years of operation, Digicel Group Limited has over 11 million customers across its 31 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific. The company is renowned for delivering best value, best service and best network.
Digicel is the lead sponsor of Caribbean, Central American and Pacific sports teams, including the Special Olympics teams throughout these regions. Digicel sponsors the West Indies cricket team and is also the title sponsor of the Digicel Caribbean Cup. In the Pacific, Digicel is the proud sponsor of several national rugby teams and also sponsors the Vanuatu cricket team.
Digicel also runs a host of community-based initiatives across its markets and has set up Digicel Foundations in Jamaica, Haiti and Papua New Guinea which focus on educational, cultural and social development programmes.
In 2004, Digicel developed Digicel Rising Stars – an annual talent show to support aspiring young music artists in the Caribbean. The show has spanned the Eastern Caribbean, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago ranking as one of the top-rated shows.
Digicel is incorporated in Bermuda and its markets comprise: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, El Salvador, Fiji, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Nauru, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, St Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos and Vanuatu. Digicel also has coverage in St. Martin and St. Barts in the Caribbean.
Visit www.digicelgroup.com for more information.
About Scotiabank
Scotiabank has been part of the Caribbean and Central America since 1889. It is now the leading bank in the region, with operations in 27 countries, including affiliates. The Bank has more than 15,500 employees in the region, including affiliates, serving more than two million customers, with 450 branches, kiosks and other offices, more than 1,000 ABMs.
Scotiabank is one of North America’s premier financial institutions and Canada’s most international bank. With more than 75,000 employees, Scotiabank Group and its affiliates serve some 19 million customers in more than 55 countries around the world.
Scotiabank offers a broad range of products and services including personal, commercial, corporate and investment banking. With assets above $575 billion (as at October 31, 2011), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto (BNS) and New York Exchanges (BNS). For more information please visit www.scotiabank.com.
Contact Us:
Melissa Martinez-Nadal
Enterprise Innovation Challenge Fund
Caribbean Idea Marketplace Coordinator
Compete Caribbean Program
Inter-American Development Bank,
Mervue House, Marine Gardens,
Hastings, Christ Church,
BB14047 Barbados.
Office: (246)227-8507
Email: diasporacim@iadb.org or melissama@iadb.org

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