Celebrating Youth Entrepreneurship
27 Youth Entrepreneurs received seed funding to support their Innovation and Entrepreneurship Projects
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, and Washington, DC: November 18, 2022 – The DIA Youth Innovation Lab Trinidad and Tobago (DIA Lab TT) is a collaboration among the Trust for the Americas, Organisation of the American States (OAS), Citi Foundation, and CARIRI as the implementing partner. The DIA Lab TT held its DIA Pitch Tank Awards Ceremony on Friday, November 18, 2022, at the Centre for Enterprise Development Freeport.
At the Awards Ceremony, twenty- seven (27) Youth Entrepreneurs and Innovators from the DIA Pitch Competition received seed funding to support their business innovation. The Pitch Tank Competition and the Pitch Tank Awards Ceremony were part of the DIA Lab TT contribution towards the Global Entrepreneurship Week Trinidad and Tobago and the DIA Summit 2022, which is the annual celebration of the programme. The following are some of the key Ministries and Agencies represented at the event: Mr. Quimey Del Rio, DIA Senior Project Officer at The Trust for the Americas; Ms. Marlene Andrews, Director Planning Division at the Ministry of Planning and Development; Mrs. Patricia De Leon Henry, National Director at the National Social Development Programme of the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services; Mr. Sean Ram Rattan, Director Youth Affairs at the Ministry of Youth Development and National Service; Mr. David Sookharry from the Ministry of Sport and Community Development; Mr. Richard Aching, Manager Technical Examination at the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, Intellectual Property Office; Ms. Nicole Kistow, Operations Manager of the Civilian Conservation Corps; Ms. Kemby Ross Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Rent My Tutor; Mr. Shedron Collins, General Manager at Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago; Mr. Brennon Patterson, Councillor for Tumpuna; Mr. Darren Winchester, Councillor Petit Bourg/Champs Fleur/ Mt. Lambert and Mr. Meghnath Gosein, Executive Manager of Corporate Services at CARIRI.
In his address, Mr. Quimey Del Rio, expressed:“Our mission is to promote economic, educational, and social opportunities for young people across the Americas. The DIA programme seeks to empower young minds to design, develop, co-create, and implement social and economic ventures. In this sense, the Pitch Tank Competition is an important element of the DIA Programme.”Mr. Del Rio, additionally stated: “The United Nations 2020 figures on the global human population reached 8.0 billion in mid-November 2022, requiring the need for solutions to live an thrive together, solutions in water management, climate, and the creation of job opportunities. Therefore, the notion of technology, climate action, and creative economy guided this year’s summit conversation.”
Ms. Kemby Ross-Jones, one of the Pitch Tank Competition judges, emphasised: “Use the funding wisely, use these funds not only to make profit but to also achieve a social impact within your communities.” Moreover, she advised the young entrepreneurs to: “Keep working hard and being persistent in selling your passion, and the doors that were once shut will begin to open. Develop innovative and sustainable projects, and new opportunities will come your way. Eventually, people will want your product or service, and you would stand out from the rest.”
In his part, Mr. Miguel Andrew, Unit Leader Calibrations Manager at CARIRI, another Pitch Tank judge, urged the youth entrepreneurs to study: “as studying is important to be able to build a strong business and to develop two streams. The working experience one which requires getting qualified and the other, the entrepreneurial stream which requires one to be risk tolerant. Take chances. With every “no,” you are one step closer to a yes.” In his closing comments he shared his motto: “Who dares wins,” stating that all the DIA Pitch Tank participants are winners, as they dared and tried.
Finally, Mr. Meghnath Gosein encouraged the winners to: “use the information shared, the knowledge gained, and the funding received to move to the next level. Sometimes the lack of resources is an opportunity to showcase creativity and innovation in ensuring that your business does succeed.”
To learn more about the DIA Innovation Lab Trinidad and Tobago, visit: https://dialabtt.cariri.com/
About The Trust for the Americas:
The Trust for the Americas is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization affiliated with the Organization of American States (OAS). It was established in 1997 to promote public and private sector participation in social and economic development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. Our initiatives, implemented through local partner organizations, seek to improve access to economic opportunities as well as to foster innovation in vulnerable communities in the hemisphere. To this end, The Trust also promotes social inclusion and good governance. The Trust has offices in Washington, D.C., Colombia, and Canada.