$4m in grants for novel ideas
DOUBLES production machinery, a carnival GPS, a multifunctional drill and teaching through theatre and technology were some of the 50 ideas which received more than $4 million in grants from the Planning Ministry yesterday.
Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie, speaking at the "Idea 2 Innovation" (i2i) competition award ceremony held yesterday at the Hyatt Regency hotel, Port of Spain, encouraged the winners to use the grants to achieve their goals and to be a "small incentive" to spark more ideas.
He said the country cannot compete with mass producers like China and India on the basis of price alone but "instead, we must develop products and services of higher value and compete on the basis of quality, value and innovation".
The competition, launched on May 11, through the Council for Competitiveness and Innovation (CCI), received more than 380 entries.
It is meant to promote business creativity, to improve economic and social development in the country and to create sustainable and high quality jobs.
The grants totalling $4,385,000 were awarded to 11 ideas in the manufacturing area, five in services, six in creative industries, 13 in ICT, six in agro-processing, five in food and beverage, and four waste management and green industries.
The competition was open to individuals, enterprises and the non-profit sector and it may become an annual event. The grants, of up to $200,000 each, are distributed through CCI's innovation funding facility and the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute will serve as technical and adminstrative support to recipients.
CCI chairman Chanka Seeterram said the organisation's deliverables for 2012-2014 included improving the country's global competitiveness rank 20 places and doubling non-energy exports.