Over the past 5 months young entrepreneurs have been battling it out to secure a place in the final of the Caribbean Entrepreneur Challenge (CEC), a component of the Trade Enhancement for the Eastern Caribbean (TEECA) project, hosted by the Martinique Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the CTM, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and supported by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export), with funding by the European Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG Programme.
CEC was an initiative which aimed to raise awareness amongst the younger Caribbean people on regional cooperation and to encourage entrepreneurial innovation. Students initially applied to the challenge online where they gave a presentation of their business idea in one of the following areas: fashion, agro transformation, ICT, environment or music.
The top 10 presentations were selected to attend workshops on marketing, management, creativity, innovation and pitching to help develop enhanced business plans. The five most realistic innovative projects were then invited to pitch their ideas to a Caribbean panel in the final, where they could win a prize of between â‚¬1,000 to â‚¬10,000.
Nineteen-year-old Sophie Klein from Saint Lucia grabbed the top prize at the CEC final held on Wednesday June 5, 2019 in Trois-Ilets, Martinique for her business plan to transform education through incorporating greater virtual reality and gaming. The top prize of â‚¬10,000 and technical guidance will be used to kickstart her business.
With her project titled â€œJOIEâ€ and in keeping with the ethos of her school Sir Arthur Lewis Community College â€œThe cure for poverty is not money but knowledgeâ€ she set out a business plan that unlocked the utilisation of virtual reality and gaming to enhance the learning experience.
Other finalist included Miah Scott from Grenada with a range naturally made skin moisturisers and hair products under the name Shea Miahâ€™s Way; Kenna Questelles from St. Vincent and the Grenadines with her project Linkup an online directory of restaurants menus and events; Leona Melius also from Saint Lucia presented Lilyâ€™s Healthy Eats â€“ an organic and local food delivery service for schools and workplaces; and Tehillah Bannis offered cosmetics products that are safe and of good quality for the skin from Dominica with her project Herbie Care.
â€œCaribbean Export is pleased to support a project which encourages young people to be innovative and develop solutions for their immediate communities. We are looking forward to seeing how these business ideas turn in to realityâ€ expressed Gayle Gollop, Special Advisor â€“ Trade and Legal Affairs, Caribbean Export.