BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Caribbean firms looking to increase productivity, boost exports, expand employment and contribute more to economic diversification and growth, stand to benefit from non-repayable grants ranging from US$100,000 to US$500,000 to support these efforts.

An initiative of Compete Caribbean, a five year private sector development programme involving 15 Caribbean countries, the newly launched Enterprise Innovation Challenge Fund (ECIF) is providing matching grants to encourage innovation by Caribbean firms and support their implementation of such projects.

Grants will be awarded through an open, competitive and transparent process.  To apply, firms are first required to submit a brief Project Concept Note (PCN).  If they prequalify, the next step involves the submission of a detailed Innovative Business Project (IBP) for consideration by a distinguished panel of Caribbean business executives. The panel will recommend grant recipients.

“The Caribbean private sector is facing a challenging and changing environment in which success depends on international competitiveness and the ability to respond quickly to changes in the market place,” observes Jose Jorge Saavedra, Executive Director of Compete Caribbean.

“Compete Caribbean aims to enable the private sector to succeed by supporting the development of effective policies and strategies, creating the right business environment, and helping companies to develop new markets and approaches,” Saavedra adds.

Located at the Barbados Country Office of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Compete Caribbean is a US$40 million programme benefitting Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, The Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, St Kitts & Nevis, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago.

The IDB, in partnership with the United Kingdom Department of International Development (DFID) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), established Compete Caribbean to provide technical assistance and investment funding to support productive development policies, business climate reforms, clustering initiatives and SME development activities.  CIDA and DFID have together contributed the lion’s share of US$32.55 million.

Noting that innovative ideas exist in every sector, the Compete Caribbean team says it is looking forward to receiving Project Concept Notes from firms engaged in all areas of business activity in the 15 eligible countries.
Questions and inquiries should be sent to dfs@comptetecaribbean.org.  Full details about the Enterprise Innovation Challenge Fund are available at www.competecaribbean.org/EICF.