The Caribbean Climate Innovation Center welcomes newly appointed Chair, Lisa Harding

By: The Caribbean Climate Innovation Center

The Caribbean Climate Innovation Center (CCIC) is pleased to announce the recent appointment of Ms. Lisa Harding as its new Chair, by the Center’s management committee. She will serve for a one-year period with effect 13th September 2016.

Ms. Harding succeeds Dr. Marcia Brandon, Managing Director of the Caribbean Center for Excellence and Sustainable livelihoods, Barbados. CCIC is extraordinarily fortunate to have these two dynamic, accomplished and committed members of the entrepreneurship community to lead the Center through such critical stages in our development.

Dr. Brandon joined the committee in 2013 and became Chair in 2015 at a time when the Center was transitioning from its infancy into a professional organization. Under her leadership, the Board provided the strategic vision, governance structure, support and encouragement that enabled us to grow and thrive. During Dr. Brandon’s tenure, the Center’s full-time professional staff grew from two to three; the vision of our new modality began to bear fruit in significant ways, and our startup companies are expanding across the region. We have accomplished tremendous strides in the past year and, due in large measure to Dr. Brandon’s leadership, the Center is in a strong position to do even more important work in the coming years.

Thanks to great teamwork between Dr. Brandon and Ms. Harding, the management committee hasn’t missed a step during this leadership transition. As Chair, Ms. Harding will guide the Center as it realizes its objectives while developing its strategic plan for becoming a fully incorporated entity.

Ms. Harding is currently a Private Sector Specialist in the Private Sector Development Unit of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). With a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), along with her diverse portfolio of projects focusing on access to finance, business climate reforms, trade facilitation and business development; Ms. Harding brings valuable expertise that the Center will need as we continue to develop a regional ecosystem for accelerating Caribbean Cleantech startups.

Ms. Harding, who is an avid speaker on issues surrounding entrepreneurship and private sector development, serves as a guest lecturer for UWI’s Student Entrepreneurial Education Development program and the Caribbean Institute of Gender and Development. She is also CDB’s coordinator for the Compete Caribbean program- a USD $40m private sector development program that provides technical assistance grants and investment funding to support productive development policies, business climate reforms, clustering initiatives and SME development activities, in 15 Caribbean countries. The program is jointly funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Government of Canada.

The CCIC is deeply grateful for the tremendous amount of time, energy, and support that all of our management committee members, past and present, have devoted to advancing our mission to improve the lives of those affected by climate change and to lead this initiative in mitigating its effects through entrepreneurship.

1st place winners Team Local App from left : Andrew Watt, Seimone Joseph, and Elijah James

What better way to travel than being a local

Meet the Winners of CGSB Antigua & Barbuda

With entrepreneurship booming across the Caribbean cleantech-focused events such as this is novel to the region, but Caribbean GreenTech Startup Bootcamp proves that clean technology startups are providing the fuel for this explosion of creativity.

As part of our island-hop series, we have completely been blown away as we set out to find the next best clean technology startup in Antigua & Barbuda. We were inundated with top quality entries from aquaponics farms, retrofitted electric powered engines and innovative products that are all looking to disrupt and improve the way we address climate mitigation and adaptation.

After a fantastic response from entrepreneurs and startup founders, we would like to congratulate Team Local the winners of Caribbean GreenTech Startup Bootcamp Antigua & Barbuda. Their solution the local app is a one-stop go-to information source for everything and anything cleantech locally in any country.

The reasons Local App took the top prize are comprehensive. Primarily, the app is a great concept that founder, Elijah James has thoroughly thought out and researched and is committed to turning it into a viable business. Before starting to build his product Elijah has gone through the essential first steps – from identifying a clear market opportunity to validating the app’s initial concept with customer research and a wealth of supportive data and information. And of course, we also love that the idea is integrated, promotes linkages with various entities and targets people of all ages from all walks of life.

Photo: Local App founder Elijah James

Importantly for us, the Local team has a very clear view on what they need help with, when and how. As the winners, their reward inclusive of the grant of US$1000 includes automatic entry into the center’s Accelerator program.

Second place of US$500 went to AquaponicsAnu whose aquaponics solution aim to make organic food cheaper. Third place of US$250 went to team FruitGO whose innovation focused on preventing food wastage using solar energy to dry fruits.

Third place of US$250 went to team FruitGO whose innovation focused on preventing food wastage using solar energy to dry fruits.

These startups are opening up opportunities where before there were only obstacles. We will be following up with Elijah for a closer look at the Local App and why we’ll all soon be using it to find all things cleantech across the Caribbean. Next stop #GreenTechBdos!

See you on October 14th

1st place winners Team Local App from left : Andrew Watt, Seimone Joseph, and Elijah James
2nd place winners Team AquaponicsAnu from left:  Dr. Evelyn Weekes, Devin Odlum, and Jason Fleming
3rd Place winners FruitGo from left: Saran King, Vincent Derrick, and Lionel Walker

How to Maximize the Value of Your Mentors

Having a mentor is one of the most valuable resources to have in your career, and becoming one is can be a hugely rewarding experience. A great startup mentor is like a magician. In the midst of an ordinary conversation, they are able to amaze their mentees with valuable ideas and advice that seem to be pulled out of an empty hat.

In reality, there are a few successful management techniques, structures and models and memorizing them doesn’t guarantee the success for any startup. Mentors possess the skills to guide you, the entrepreneur, in selecting the correct model that best suits your business.

It is hard for any program to consistently bring the quality mentorship resource to the table. Mentors are extremely busy people, they have varying skill sets, and it’s unclear how structured or unstructured the mentorship component in an accelerator needs to be.

One of the most important things we will encourage in our programs after the initial Meet & Greet session is for founders to reach out to mentors directly. We encourage founders to build direct relationships with mentors., which will prove beneficial even after our program has ended

Startup founders: If you want to maximize the value of mentors in a program, it’s entirely up to you to do so.

Believe it or not, this will pretty much be the case with everything you’re going to do as a startup founder. At the end of the day, what you get out of any relationship, be it with investors, co-founders, staff, family, friends, support groups; is up to you.

When you enter into a program, before anything else, think about what your startups needs then go through the list of mentors provided to you with a fine-tooth comb.  Select the mentor that addresses that need, and reach out to them directly. Use the accelerator as the conduit for initial communication to build a personal relationship with your mentor.

Mentors are usually well connected, many of them are investors as well, and they can open doors. That’s the expectation. But if there are no personal relationships between founders and mentors, I don’t see many doors getting opened. People are always careful with their Rolodex and they should be. It’s one of their most precious assets. They’re not going to open it up willy-nilly, just because they’re listed as a mentor for an accelerator. It still comes down to personal relationships and trust.

If you want to maximize the value of mentors inside an accelerator, it’s your job to build that trust.

It’s our job running an accelerator to create opportunities for trust building to occur but it’s your job to maintain it.

As an entrepreneur and founder, you have to remember that you’re competing for attention. That means you need to be extremely strategic and aggressive (within reason) in absorbing as much as you can from the accelerator experience. Don’t sit around waiting for another to tell you what is of value or what values you can acquire from the program; you need to leverage your participation in the program to get what you possibly can.

Here are a few pointers on how to maximize the value from mentors:

1.       Understand their specialties. Mentors all have different skill sets and experience. Do your homework and figure out which mentors are the best ones for you to engage with at specific times or work with the accelerator time to peer you with the mentor that meets your needs. When it’s time to raise money, go to the mentors with that expertise. When it’s time to focus on user acquisition, get closer with the appropriate mentors. You have to build the relationships early, though, but time your use of mentors properly.

2.       Be clear and to the point. Remember mentors are extremely busy individuals, avoid wasting their time and get to the point. Make sure when you connect with mentors that you know why you’re doing and what you’re looking for; Mentors will appreciate that. Asking for “general feedback” is a death trap; Mentors won’t know how to help you, they’ll get frustrated, and you’ll be frustrated as well. 

3.       Engage with them on social media. Mentors are people too many of which are actively working on their own startups. Engaging with them online is a good way of building relationships. Tracking what they’re doing is a smart way of showing that you care.

4.  Take professional development sessions seriously. Most accelerators have some structured components to the program. Some founders may feel like this is a distraction, but that’s the wrong way to look at it. Think of it like a crash course in all the elements of running a startup. That’s an educational component that others aren’t receiving. But also realize that these sessions are an opportunity to build better relationships with mentors. These sessions will help you if you have ready questions with which to engage your mentors. Be engaged and take it all in.

In the end, the experience of mentorship is somewhat magical, but the more the entrepreneurs understand the ‘tricks of the trade’, the better off and more successful they will be. And that is the whole point of mentorship.


Until next time,
Cashyaka McDonald
Marketing Officer
Caribbean Climate Innovation Center


Applications are now open for CCIC’s LaunchIT GreenTech Accelerator Program until September 9. If you have specific questions about your company and whether you would benefit from our program, please contact us.


Congratulations Eze Green Company  Winners of #CGSB St. Lucia

Castries, Saint Lucia – The Caribbean GreenTech Startup Bootcamp island hop series recently concluded its stop in St.Lucia at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center.

Participants came from all over Saint Lucia, with ideas ranging from products to help efficiency in rural farming and Eco building materials to energy consulting services, energy efficiency and remote controlled greenhouses.This intense three-day event brings together climate-related experts to drive discussions on the challenges of Climate Change to inspire participants to generate business ideas, as solutions to the impact of climate change. Participants are exposed to the rudiments of developing a startup team and are provided mentorship from industry experts to improve their business concepts.

During the Boot Camp participants learned a lot through examples, experiences, and advice from industry experts from the idea generation session and throughout the mentorship segment. The start-ups lead by trainers from Launch Rocket based in Trinidad and Tobago were thought how to address the business aspects of their solutions and converting their climate impact idea into a fruitful and healthy business.

On the second day, the energy from the teams was still booming. With discussions and laughter being mixed with working with their mentors on improving upon their idea for their final pitch to the judges.

“I was bowled over by the ideas presented” exclaimed mentor Mrs. Barbara Jacobs-Small

At the end of the event, each team pitched their ideas to a panel of judges who selected the top three startups. The first place winner will receive an award of US$1000, while the second and third place winners will receive US$500 and US$250 respectively by the CCIC.

Congratulations to the Winners of the Caribbean GreenTech Startup Bootcamp Saint Lucia 1st place team Eze Green Company, 2nd place AgriTech and 3rd place EcoCarib Inc.I hope the enthusiasm and passion remain in each of the start-ups while they develop their companies for the next stage.

Next stop ANTIGUA & Barbuda!

54 Hours to Launch: CCIC’s Caribbean GreenTech Startup Bootcamp kicks off island hop-series

The Caribbean Climate Innovation Center kicks off preparations for its GreenTech Bootcamp Island hop series in July with its first stop in St. Lucia.

The bootcamp is perfect for entrepreneurs or startups whose climate saving solutions focuses renewable energy, energy efficiency, water/waste management, sustainable agribusiness and resource use efficiency and desires it their idea to the next level.
This event is a fantastic opportunity for participants to broaden their skills and knowledge.

We encourage anyone who is pitching for funding to come to this Bootcamp. You must apply by August 18 to be considered.

Bootcamp dates
22 August – 24 August 2016

Click to apply

Photo: Scene from Caribbean GreenTech Startup Bootcamp in Trinidad


CCIC Launches First Cleantech Accelerator in the Caribbean

“Innovation and technology have to be at the heart of progress,” said Mr. Sylvain Fabi, The High Commissioner of Canada

On 29th June 2016, the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center (CCIC) officially launched its flagship proof of concept accelerator program dubbed Launchit GreenTech at the Scientific Research Council in Kingston Jamaica. This innovative accelerator will assist in addressing the Caribbean’s need for scalable clean technology enterprises.

Launchit GreenTech selected entrepreneurs will benefit from a six-month curriculum which includes mentorship, business education, grant funding, prototype development, access to a regional network of cleantech experts and organizations and other forms of support designed specifically for early-stage cleantech startups. Further details on the accelerator program are available at

Due to the overwhelming demand received for such a program, the CCIC has reopened the call for applications on July 14, 2016, for a further intake of successful applicants.

Photo Above: (left) Mr. Sylvain Fabi, The High Commissioner of Canada, Mr. Yekini Wallen- Bryan, CEO, Preelabs (accelerator startup), Mrs. Marcia Henry, Interim Project Manager, CCIC

Could Aquaponics be the future for growing food in Jamaica?

“Being able to see my hard work paid off at the end of the day when I see those crops is really a blessing.”Alicia Williams, CEO, Aquaponics Jamaica

It has been called the future of farming because of how much water it saves.  Aquaponics is the marriage of aquaculture — fish farming — and hydroponics — vegetable farming without soil. This technology, used for raising fish and plants together in a recirculating system, is gaining attention around the world and now in Jamaica thanks to a self-driven young farmer and entrepreneur named Alicia Williams.
Although not a new process Williams and her team has tailored the system to fit Caribbean farming. This model allows users to exhaust fewer resources such as land and water while capitalizing on other climatic conditions that are good for crop production. With a compact packaging system in mind, the complete aquaponics system can be purchased and installed for use in both urban and rural areas.


Illustration of how a small Aquaponics system works

We are indeed blessed to reside in a country where its summer all year round, however, there is a downside to this tropical luxury one of which affects the livelihood of farmers daily, from lengthy periods of drought resulting in low-quality crops to pests along with non-farming periods due to farming superstitions.

Williams, who’s been a farmer all her life became tired of the climatic challenges, daily tedious farming activities associated with crop growing and waiting for the stars to align decided to research a process that would make farm life simpler while generating higher yields.

“Ever since I have known myself I have wanted to start a business of my own,” said Williams.

With the desire and drive to start her own business coupled with her love for agriculture, an aquaponics system which provided a solution for higher yield, good quality crops while remaining organic was a perfect fit for Williams.

As with many small businesses aiming to grow there are many challenges on the road to success. To compensate Williams has been on the hunt entering as many competitions and applying for as much grants as she can to raise capital. Team Aquaponics Jamaica placed second in Jamaica’s Caribbean GreenTech Bootcamp competition and its sub-division counterpart Rabb-Eats; recently placed fourth in the national business model competition.

Williams, who currently successfully juggles both running a business and a regular day job, have not allowed the pitfalls of being a small business owner deter her dream of helping to stabilize the Jamaican food industry by limiting the importation of agricultural goods.

As a younger person building a career, you have to be cognizant of the fact that even though your business is growing; you need an income you can expect every month said, Williams.
Alicia encourages upcoming entrepreneurs to follow their passion and not to be intimidated by the business world or the current economic climate. She pleads for them to keep searching and always reach out to the various networks.

When I entered into aquaponics, I didn’t know much about the technology but I knew about farming much of Aquaponics success to date is due to the support received from my team said, Williams “Don’t enter into business because you want to start a business. Be sure of what you want to do, be confident about it, do a lot of research and form a team around you that can help you with your shortcomings. Then go for it! The world is your oyster as they say”.

Team Aquaponics from left: Dr. Stephen Rhoden, Alicia Williams, Karima-Deen SupriaO’Brian Clarke, Kimar Edwards and Shae Tongee Stewart

Aquaponics is a cool idea. There’s something appealing about using the waste from the fish to feed the plants. Producing food near to where it is consumed sounds logical; the food will be fresh, and you save money on transport.

Could our current agricultural dilemma present an aquaponics moment? Thanks to technology, demand, and entrepreneurial ambition, that wouldn’t surprise even the skeptics.
For more information on Aquaponics Jamaica and your hands on one of these systems visit:
Facebook: AquaponicsJamaica
Twitter: AquaponicsJm

Until next time,
Cashyaka McDonald
Marketing Officer
Caribbean Climate Innovation Center




Applications are now open for CCIC’s LaunchIT GreenTech Accelerator Program until June 14th. If you have specific questions about your company and whether you would benefit from our program, please contact us.