The National Development Foundation of Dominica (NDFD) has launched its Green Innovations Summit which is aimed at empowering entrepreneurs with the skills and tools relevant for operating in an environmentally friendly business.
The event was launched virtually on Saturday 27th March and is being held in partnership with the Dominica National Youth Council (DNYC) and the Dominica Youth Business Trust (DYBT).
“We are specifically aimed at empowering entrepreneurs with the skills and tools that are relevant to operating a sustainable business, an environmentally friendly business,” Marketing Assistant of NDFD, Annasha Laronde said.
According to Laronde, the initiative will be conducted through a 54 hour intense workshop which is geared towards building innovative green technology businesses.
“The event will provide entrepreneurs with access to mentors, business development training, peer to peer learning, team formation and development, along with its partners,” she stated.
The thematic areas will be in water management, waste management, energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and recycling.
The process of registration will include a 250 word essay or a 3 minute video on, “who are you? Why are you interested in participating? What thematic areas are you interested in? What environmental problem are you addressing? What solution will you provide for this problem?” The entrepreneur’s name, contact information and address will also be included.
Executive Director of NDFD, Cletus Joseph described the initiative as an opportunity and platform for NDFD clients and non-clients to innovate, “ but we are just giving it a green theme.”
He continued, “It’s a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide and why not? Why don’t we get part of it?”
Joseph said the idea emanated from the concept of the 3Ps of environmental sustainability that organizations use to lead their strategy in terms of business development “and so you talk about People, you talk about Planet and you talk about Profits.”
One of the objectives of going green, Joseph said, is to preserve mother earth, “and we need to ensure that we preserve her in our very small way in Dominica which will have a good impact.”
He said in an effort to drive this project, the NDFD is introducing a specific loan product – green loans- at special rates to clients and prospective clients, to encourage them and other business people “to think green, be green; let’s do green in order to improve efficiencies and profitability.”
Longest serving Chairman and Director of the NDFD, Dr. Damien Dublin said NDFD has always been concerned about the environment as well as the nature of the loans that the Foundation provides.
“Some of the loans were also geared towards persons involved in herbal medicines,” he stated. “NDFD has always linked to the environment from the beginning and it continues up to this present time.”
Dr. Dublin believes that the NDFD is unique in the sense the fact that the institution is a household name and it has touched almost every aspect of life in Dominica.
He said another unique feature of the NDFD is its technical assistance service, “which, you do not give a loan but the project and loan officers, they actually go on the ground and assist the recipients into helping them to ensure that the business is successful…to me, that is one of the aspects which stand out,” he stated.
Meantime, current Chairman of the NDFD, Nicholas Bruno said NDFD, which started with the idea of supporting the development of small micro businesses and using funds to increase the level of productivity among these businesses, has evolved beyond just providing financing.
“I believe we have taken NDFD to its initial stages where we provided support at the micro and small level, now we are supporting not just at the micro small level, we are supporting at the innovative nature as well, which I believe this is exactly where we want to be,” Bruno added “…And going forward I believe this is something we are going to pursue and this launch today is testimony of that.”
People who are interested in participating are asked to call the number 448-3240 and 275-525 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and a staff member will lead them to the process of registering.
Registration opened on Saturday 27th March and closes on May 14th.
Idea lab day will be on June 1st and the 3-day session is carded for Thursday 3rd to Saturday 5th June.