On Wednesday 20th February, 2019, The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) signed a General Technical Cooperation Agreement at CARIRI’s Head Office in St. Augustine.

Cognizant of their key roles and responsibilities in the overall development of the region; this agreement seeks to provide a unique environment for collaborative efforts on agribusiness development, inclusive of value chain and cluster development; food safety; technology transfer; innovative capacity building; data analytics and productivity and competitiveness of the agricultural sector in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean.

Both institutions have a long and mutually beneficial relationship working on many regional projects together and with the formalizing of this relationship, both parties expect to continue and strengthen this affiliation.

Signing the Agreement on behalf of CARIRI, Mr. Meghnath Gosein, Executive Manager – Corporate Services, stated that CARIRI was ready to work with IICA to fast track and promote the agribusiness sector, ‘It is timely and a privilege, since the institutional working relationship has existed for over a decade throughout the Region and hence the Agreement will serve to strengthen this relationship and ensure that it continues for a long time for the benefit of the economy’ he added. Echoing this sentiment, Mr. Gregg Rawlins, IICA’s Representative in Trinidad and Tobago said that “formalizing this association will ensure that more structure is put in place as we move forward and the skills and competencies of both institutions will complement each other, as we work towards strengthening agri MSMEs, not just in Trinidad and Tobago, but in other countries of the Caribbean Region as well’.

CARIRI’s mission is to be a national and regional focal point for technology and innovation, playing a leadership role in providing value added technological solutions to the manufacturing and service sectors, as well as public sector entities, designed to enhance efficiency, competitiveness and visibility, foster new business creation, improve the quality of life and promote sustainable economic development. These services will complement and enhance IICA’s technical cooperation in the areas of Bioeconomy and Production Development, Territorial Development and Family Farming, International Trade and Regional Integration, Climate Change Natural Resources and Management of Production Risks, and Agricultural Health, Safety and Food Quality. With the signing of this Agreement, CARIRI and IICA are well positioned to share and learn from each other as well as to offer technical assistance for the well being of the region.

It is with this in mind that there are plans and discussions for collaborative ventures between both organizations which will ultimately benefit the agricultural sector in the region. Both institutions are looking forward to great, meaningful and practical work that will benefit the agriculture sector in general, and specifically the farmers and agro-processors. 

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Mr Meghnath Gosein (l) of CARIRI and Mr Gregg Rawlins of IICA signing the Agreement

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Mr Gosein (l) and Mr Rawlins looking forward to future collaborations between CARIRI and IICA

On Friday 16th November 2018, the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) hosted the PitchIT Caribbean’s Alumni Network Launch at the Trinidad Hilton and Conference Centre, which represents an important next step in promoting a vibrant regional mobile Start Up community.

The hosting of this event in Trinidad and Tobago represented an opportunity to bring the stakeholders in the mobile app development community together, with the aim of building strong networks among entrepreneurs and business development entities, thus contributing to the promotion of the development and enhancement of the mobile app ecosystem.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Planning and Development, Ms Joanne Deoraj delivered the feature remarks and stated “The Government welcomes and fully supports this PitchIT Caribbean initiative, recognizing that the key tenets of ICT, Innovation and Entrepreneurship encapsulated in the Project constitute developmental planks that are central to the achievement of economic transformation objectives of Sustainable Growth and Diversification”.

Additionally, she went on to say that “Mobile technology, in particular, offers a potential platform for economic growth and high quality jobs in the mobile industry, while mobile software and apps also have the potential to catalyze other sectors such as healthcare or government. Apps are now being developed at virtually the speed of light. The potential therefore exists through Innovation in ICT to not only build competitiveness, but also create a virtual explosion of entrepreneurial activity in Trinidad and Tobago”.

Ms Golda Lushington, Technologist at CARIRI and Project Lead for the local leg of PitchIT Caribbean stated “with the domestic economy only now beginning to emerge from the grip of recession and economic rightsizing leaving in its wake a contracting job market, CARIRI considers it opportune, and indeed an imperative, to intensify the focus on Innovation and Entrepreneurship on a national scale and across diverse sectors, inclusive of the mobile app development industry. CARIRI has long recognized that the achievement of a diversified, internationally competitive economy is contingent, on according primacy, in the developmental planning agenda to the promotion of Innovation and Entrepreneurship as key drivers of sustainability. Towards this end, the Institute has taken the lead by putting in place pertinent infrastructure and embarking on a number of initiatives to foster innovation facilitation, entrepreneurship development, new business creation and business expansion; all of which form core constituents of our Centre for Enterprise Development, located at Freeport. “

Ms Melissa Johnson, Project Lead at Lumin Consulting Incorporated in Jamaica joined us at the event and expressed her pleasure at the progress that was made by all the regional hubs stating her excitement that the Alumni network was now being formed as it would create new opportunities for these mobile app entrepreneurs.

The evening also saw another first for CARIRI as it launched its first 100% in-house built mobile app for its client, Sookhai’s Diesel Service Ltd (SDS). The CARIRI Data Analytics team has been working with SDS over the last few months to create an integrated customised solution for the Management and clients of the company. This solution included dashboards which generate relevant information for the Management of SDS to make more timely and informed decisions. The next part of the solution includes an app called the SD STAR app for customers; who will now be able to track their vehicles at every point in the service system. This innovative app is the first of its kind in the country and we expect it to change the face of the service industry.

PitchIT Caribbean is designed to strengthen the Caribbean Mobile Innovation Ecosystem and foster the growth of sustainable and competitive mobile enterprises through activities that will target early stage Innovators, and guide them to market readiness. PitchIT Caribbean is administered by a University of the West Indies Consortium led by Lumin Consulting Incorporated in Jamaica, formerly UWI Consulting Incorporated. The project is funded by the Government of Canada and executed by the World Bank Group. It spans 14 Caribbean Community countries, in five of which mobile hubs, referred to as mHubs, have been established under a project partnership arrangement.

The mHub partners of PitchIT Caribbean are all focused on building mobile innovation communities in their respective countries by engaginga variety of local stakeholder groups. CARIRI is the mHub partner in Trinidad and Tobago and plans to further engage the mobile app community via various initiatives in the coming year.

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Ms Joanne Deoraj, The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Planning and Development

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Ms Melissa Johnson, Project Lead at Lumin Consulting Ltd, Jamaica

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Mr Richie Sookhai of Sookhai’s Diesel Service Ltd and Ms Lynette Akong of CARIRI’s Data Analytics discussing the SD STAR App.

 

The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) has launched a new project which aims to encourage the innovative spirit of the national community. This 3-year project is backed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and will target the various communities, individuals and companies across Trinidad and Tobago. Aptly called ‘Bridging the Gap to Commercial Application of Innovation’, this project aims to move your idea to reality.

The objectives of the project are:

  • To support individuals and firms in the development and monetisation / commercialization of business innovations;
  • To support local enterprises to apply innovation for increased competitiveness and sustainability.

The project will be executed under CARIRI’s Idea Advisory Service (IAS) which has been operational over the last 2 ½ years and has screened over 300+ ideas thus far. Screening is completely free and so is the advice given. The IAS provides an opportunity to bring your ideas to life and CARIRI’s team has been internationally trained and possess varying backgrounds and capabilities to execute this service locally.

Benefits of the IAS:

  • Idea Generation and sensitization sessions to spur creative thinking and quality ideas;
  • Confidential, independent and objective assessment of ideas submitted;
  • Access to CARIRI resources, networks and strategic partners;
  • IAS Team members provide guidance to applicants from conceptualization to commercialization;
  • Free access to CARIRI’s Intellectual Property Clinic with convenient location and parking at our Centre for Enterprise Development, Freeport;
  • Upon completion of the core IAS programme, applicants receive a Certificate of Participation/Completion;
  • Be part of an elite network of idea generators with opportunity to collaborate with peers

Who is eligible?

  • All citizens of Trinidad and Tobago with the passion, commitment and determination to taking their ideas forward to market;
  • Students and graduates;
  • Working professionals;
  • Transitioning professionals who are interested in leveraging their professional experience to develop and commercialize an innovation in their respective fields;
  • Microenterprises and Small and Medium Enterprises.

For more information on this project and to find out how you can benefit from this free service, please visit our website at www.cedcariri.com/ias or contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us at 299-0209 ext 2110.

 

This was the theme of the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute's (CARIRI's) mega Conference entitled Innovating with Emerging Technology which was held on Wednesday 18th April at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad.


Chief Executive Officer of CARIRI, Mr Liaquat Ali Shah, gave the Opening remarks and stated 'As part of our strategic approach, we are seeking to contribute to the building of capacity for Innovation on a national scale and position the Institute as a Focal Point for Innovation and Technology, not just nationally, but in the region as a whole. In this context, we have recognized, based on past experience, the imperative of instituting the appropriate infrastructure to develop the areas of Innovation and ICT, as part of our capacity building efforts. Our approach, I should hasten to add, takes cognizance of the importance of establishing a platform for sustainable economic transformation over the medium to long term, as an integral part of the diversification thrust.'

The sold out event saw the Minister of Trade and Industry, the Honorable Paula Gopee Scoon deliver the Feature Address in which she reiterated the government's commitment to diversify the economy, and this includes strengthening the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector.


As part of the thrust to include technology in every aspect of our lives, and to showcase how small the world has become with this technology, CARIRI was able to set up a live stream to the Embassy in Washington D.C., U.S.A. for members of the Diaspora. Additionally, His Excellency Brigadier General (Ret'd) Anthony Phillips-Spencer, Ambassador of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago brought greetings to the audience here in Trinidad.


CARIRI was able to secure internationally recognized speakers in various areas of the 4th Industrial Revolution and the day started off with a bang as Professor Anthony Clayton of UWI Mona, Jamaica was able to speak in depth about Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. Right after this, Mr Nelson Mac Quhae, Chief Technical Officer at Microsoft LATAM spoke about the Internet of Things and how we can expect to communicate in the future. The Intellectual Property Office of Trinidad and Tobago then presented on the role of intellectual property in the future.


Ms Thelma Britton, the Senior Operations and Logistics Manager for Panama and the Caribbean of UBER gave wonderful insight into the operations of her company in T&T and the Caribbean and then was able to speak to the future of urban mobility. Daniel Poliquin of IBM Corporation in Canada discussed at length smarter cities and how we can go about shaping the region. Marla Dukharan, Caribbean Economist brought home the point of e-Government and Digital settlement networks and the day wrapped up with Dave Landry, co-founder of Datawheel which is a spin off of MIT, Boston.


After such a full day, participants were well informed and had the chance to interact with the speakers via an application in which they could ask their questions via their mobile devices, once again incorporating technology into the Conference.


Our region stands on the threshold of a technological revolution that will essentially alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, this transformation, which has been taking place for a while, will be unlike anything that we have experienced before. Although we do not yet know just how it will unfold, one thing is clear: our response to it must be integrated and all-inclusive, involving all stakeholders from the public and private sectors to academia and civil society.


Cognizant of the anticipated transformative impact of this technological development, and mindful of the need for an integrated and all-inclusive response, involving all stakeholders from the public and private sectors, as well as academia and civil society, CARIRI wanted to bring the spotlight to bear on this potentially disruptive development. At the end of the Conference, it is clear that CARIRI was able to achieve its goal.