Honourable Minister of Planning and Sustainable Development, Dr. Tewarie, other
Honourable Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Deputy Permanent Secretaries, i2i 2012
winners, other distinguished guests, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen: a
very warm welcome to the idea 2 innovation (i2i) 2013 launch.
In 2012, the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development, through its Council for
Competitiveness and Innovation (CCI) launched and managed the i2i competition. The
purpose of this programme is to start the process of building and promoting the
importance of innovation on a national level, which in turn will result in improved
competitiveness. i2i 2012 gave an opportunity to innovators and inventors to submit
proposals for innovative and creative ideas and if selected, they would receive
grants between $75,000 to $200,000 to take their idea to proof of concept in one
year or less. To qualify, projects were required to meet the criteria of:
The invention of a new product or service;
The improvement of a new product or service;
A new process of adding value to a Trinidad and Tobago-sourced raw
The products, services or processes should be able to find a market or use in
local or export market;
Project impact, driving social benefit and creation of sustainable, high quality
jobs- targeting critical areas of national recovery (renewable energy, health &
wellness, food security, creative industries).
Prospective participants/innovators were invited to submit inventions and creative
initiatives in the following activity areas, including, but not limited to:
Manufacturing and manufacturing related
Primary agriculture, bio-technology
Creative industries
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
Alternative/remedial energy and energy efficiency
Agro-industrial processing
Environment (clean technologies, eco-related activities)
Bio-waste and other waste (including recycling activities)
Approximately 400 submissions were received over an 8-week application period
and grants totalling $4.7 million were awarded to 50 projects submitted by a variety
of individuals, teams and companies. Ten grants were awarded to companies, 17 to
project teams and 23 to individuals. The beneficiaries of the i2i 2012 competition are
now actively implementing their projects with the aid of CARIRI, which serves in the
role of Technical Executing Agency to undertake ongoing technical, project
monitoring and evaluation. Our other partner, NEDCO, operates in the capacity of
managing the i2i fund. The CCI retains the overall responsibility for the programme.
The overall progress of the programme at the end of April – 7 months into the
execution phase –stands at 45%, measured according to specific milestones set and
agreed upon between CARIRI and each of the beneficiaries according to the
particular needs of each project. Many beneficiaries are planning completion of their
projects before the end of September, 2013.
Hopefully, you would have had the chance to see and hear on the screens in the
venue from some of our i2i 2012 winners, who discussed not just the progress of their
projects but the value of the process through the help they have received: financially,
technically and in general support. Those featured were Karisa Phillip (Creative
Industries – Animation), Christian Young Sing (Food Sustainability – Hydroponics),
Jomo Wahtuse (Manufacturing – Exercise Bike Mower), Cara Singh (ICT – Mobile App)
and Wesley Gervais (ICT – Mobile App – Online Market Place).
Another example of a 2012 beneficiary who is progressing well is Steven Edwards,
who, in March this year, launched his award-winning programmes, Transformation
through Theatre and Technology – Life in Laventille. The latter programme assists
troubled youths to find their inner genius and helps to turn their lives around. It utilizes
the glamour of the entertainment industry, coupled with the intrigue of new ICT to
engage participants on a journey to continuously and relentlessly pursue their goals.
At the launch, parents gave testimonies on the success of Steven’s programme. A
documentary on the programme is being produced to highlight the plight of some
Laventille residents and there are suggestions on how the problem of crime and
violence can be solved.
In April 2013, Wesley Gervais was a finalist and subsequent winner in the Best
Economic Entrepreneur award category of the Caribbean Innovation Challenge (CIC)
which was held in Barbados and was hosted by the Youth Americas Business Trust
(YABT) and the UNDP. Of the six winners in the various categories of the CIC finals,
two were from Trinidad. Wesley further developed his online outsourcing market
place idea and entered the Caribbean Innovation Challenge. As a result of winning
the CIC, he was made a finalist of the TIC Americas and will be required to travel to
Guatemala in June 2013 to compete at the hemispheric level.
Kevin Steeple, creator of Glitz Glamour and Goodwill, creates hand-made dolls,
promotes his products and is building markets both locally and internationally. Kevin
has designed dolls for Queen Elizabeth, First Lady Michelle Obama and the Miss
Universe and Miss USA 2012 winners. Kevin has worked alongside American business
magnate, Donald Trump, and is now partnering with the Miss High School America
and Miss Collegiate America Pageant. Kevin will custom design a doll for the 2012
High School America and Collegiate America winners and he will be showcasing
many of the dolls he has designed at the aforementioned Pageant’s trade show at
Walt Disney’s Swan & Dolphin resort in Florida in July 2013.
This past week, Kevin, along with other 2012 i2i beneficiaries, has attended the Exhibit
at the Lok Jack GSB BUSINESS SHOWCASE in collaboration with the Ministry of
Labour and Small and Micro Enterprise Development and the National Integrated
Business Incubator System (IBIS) to showcase their projects.
These are just some of the success stories coming from the 50 projects in i2i 2012.
The CCI has also been promoting innovation and competitiveness through the
sponsorship of two digital technology events hosted by Caribbean Ideas: Mobiworld
in November 2012 and Caribbean Digital Expo (CDX 2.0) in March 2013. Both events
were aimed at regional marketers, entrepreneurs and private and public sector
business leaders who wanted to learn how to better harness the power of digital
technology for their brands and businesses.
As we turn our attention to i2i 2013, we intend to retain the same great values as the
2012 programme, albeit with a new focus. This year, while the process remains the
same, we are shifting the focus from the idea itself, to all the elements which are
essential to the process of its implementation. Thus, the i2i competition has been rebranded as a “Toolkit for Success”, which can provide aspiring entrepreneurs with the
real tools to bring their business ideas to life; with specific tools designed to fit the
majority of projects, such as learning to write a business plan, providing workshops
and presentations; financial grants, and also opportunities to meet with key persons in
relevant industries, as demonstrated tonight at our speed networking session.
The i2i 2013 series of events will include new elements such as the speed networking,
Pecha Kuchas – which is a presentation methodology in which 20 slides are shown
for 20 seconds each (six minutes and 40 seconds in total). The format, which keeps
presentations concise and fast-paced, powers multiple-speaker events called Pecha
Kucha Nights – to be held in two locations in Trinidad and one in Tobago and also
Webinars to be hosted live online.
In closing, we would like to wish our i2i winners every success in the development of
their projects and for i2i 2013 we are expecting an even better entry response to this
year’s competition and looking forward to another tranche of great ideas that can be
developed for application.
Thank you