Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, February 2, 2023-Shaping the Future of Innovation, Building the Innovation Network, held part two of the Design Sprint Workshop and a Design Sprint Networking Event on February 1 and 2, 2023, at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre.
The objective of this component of the project is to develop a network model that links and connects local actors as well as external regional and international accelerators, incubators, academic institutions, venture capitalist and company builders to create an innovation network that can support continuity and expansion of the innovation thrust in Trinidad and Tobago.
As part of the project implementation, a series of Design Sprint workshops were hosted, and they were administered in two parts. Part one was held last November 30th, December 1st, and 7th 2022, virtually via the zoom platform. The resulting output from part one of the workshop was the identification of three (3) top initiatives to support and cultivate the ecosystem by the ecosystem stakeholders. Part two of the Design Sprint activities was focused on prototyping and testing these initiatives, after two days of intensive teamwork and collaboration the following three initiatives were pitched at the Networking event: An in-school Innovation Entrepreneurship Program, An online platform to analyse an entrepreneur’s business and share information among and between ecosystem stakeholders called Best FiTT and a National Development Initiative through a National Schools Innovation Intercol Competition. These initiatives are symbolic and illustrative of the starting steps of a longer process to attain the improved coordination of the wide range of actors that form part of the Trinidad and Tobago Innovation ecosystem.
The Innovation Ecosystem stakeholders are comprised of key representatives from the following organisations: American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago( AMCHAM T&T); CARICOM, Generation Wealth; Ministry of Planning and Development; Ministry of Public Utilities; Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI); National Institute of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (NIHERST); The College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT); The Leadership Lab Limited; The National Export Facilitation Organization of Trinidad and Tobago (ExporTT); The Trinidad and Tobago International Financial Centre (TTIFC); United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); University of the West Indies (UWI); University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) and Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago ( YBTT).
The networking event was well attended by key stakeholders from the public and private sector organisations and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). Dr Marcia Brandon, Innovation Co-ordination, Shaping the Future of Innovation during her presentation stated, “Trinidad and Tobago now has three (3)solid ecosystem solutions developed jointly by three (3) teams of engaged and enthusiastic ecosystem stakeholder sunder the project, which can only improve the state of innovation in the country. She added that ecosystem building is a team sport. She issued a call to action for stakeholders and other partners to get up, stand up and help shape the Future of Innovation in Trinidad and Tobago.”
The Honourable Pennelope Beckles-Robinson, Minister of Planning and Development in her address urged to, “Stop working in silos and support the coordination of the wide range of actors in the ecosystem. This is where a coordinated innovation ecosystem can make a difference, by allowing players to collaborate toward a more coordinated environment through ongoing dialogue and sharing of lessons. These are the elements required for progress in building an innovation ecosystem and for enhancing the competitiveness of the country’s small to medium enterprises. This particular section of the programme, Component 3, has no grants, no awards, no incentives, yet we have a room full of participants placing serious effort behind designing a landscape where innovators can thrive and bring serious economic benefit to themselves and their country.“
Ambassador Peter Cavendish, Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago commented, “We are proud to be financially supporting this programme and extremely happy with the positive and productive exchanges that have taken place during the course of this event. We see it as a recognition of the forward-looking steps that need to be taken to move this country forward. Trinidad and Tobago, under the Economic Partnership Agreement, has access to the largest single market in Europe– and one-third of the world’s trade passes through the Caribbean via the Panama Canal. These are business opportunities not to be ignored. We know that it is the dreamers that do, the entrepreneurs and the innovators who will shape the future, and we are very pleased by what has been started here today. Rest assured that the EU will continue to support this process as it moves forward.“
Finally, Mrs Denise Ferguson, Project Chief, Shaping the Future of Innovation reiterated, “Spending an investment in innovation including research and development supports competition and progress towards sustainable economic growth through higher productivity where you have the same input, but the output is magnified. This economic growth leads to further innovation and therefore we have a circular process. This project is very timely and crucial, the time is now, it is important to CARIRI, the Partners, Trinidad and Tobago and to the region as a whole.“
About the Shaping the Future of Innovation Partnership
Shaping The Future of Innovation is a partnership among the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, through the Ministry of Planning and Development, the European Union ( EU), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI). The primary project initiative is intended to contribute to the development of a national innovation ecosystem and an innovation mindset through three Components: The Innovation Challenge Facility (ICF); Building Industry and Academic Linkages; and Building an Innovation Network.
More information: https://future.cariri.com/