The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI), backed by Inter-American
Development Bank (IDB) recently concluded its 3-year project, Bridging the Gap to
Commercial Application of Innovation, aimed at encouraging the innovative spirit of the
national community by helping individuals and firms turn their ideas into reality.
At its inception, the project was a novelty locally and regionally and has significantly
contributed to the development of the National Innovation Eco-system of Trinidad and
Tobago by filling a notable gap of harnessing and transforming the creativity that abounds
into commercial endeavors capable of producing widespread employment creation and
income generation and has served to consolidate CARIRI’s role as a National Focal Point
and Regional Hub for Innovation driving economic diversification.
The project has provided support not only for existing businesses but also allowed
citizens to realize their entrepreneurial dreams, thereby providing an outlet for national
economic transformation. The project has screened over 1000 + ideas from a multitude
of sectors and has successfully assisted in supporting individuals and enterprises in the
development and monetization/commercialization of business innovations and in applying
innovation for increased competitiveness and sustainability.
On Wednesday 30th November 2022, CARIRI hosted an event entitled, “The Power of
Dreams: A Celebration of Entrepreneurship and Innovation” at the Centre of Excellence,
providing an opportunity for the project recipients to showcase their products and services and to hear from and interact with business leaders, mentors, and successful
entrepreneurs. The event consisted of 85 exhibitors and roughly 220 participants from the
following sectors- food and beverage, cosmeceuticals, health and wellness, art and
pottery, agriculture and pets, fashion and clothing, and lastly the service industry.
The Honourable Pennelope Beckles-Robinson, Minister of Planning and Development,
Ministry of Planning and Development provided the Opening remarks and Mr. Derek
Alexander Chin, Chief Executive Officer of Dachin Group of Companies delivered the
Feature Address. The celebration boasted a wide array of speakers including:
Here’s what happened at the event:
- Attendees gained valuable knowledge and insight from some of Trinidad’s top entrepreneurs such as Derek Chin, Gabrielle Agostini, and John Hadad. Feedback
from the attendees included, “Wow! Hearing their stories and learning about how much they sacrifice gives me hope that my hard work would come to fruition one day.“
- We welcomed our youngest exhibitors, 6-year-old Steffon Bernard from J’s Learning Resources, 11-year-old N’ki Mc Kenzie from Nick’Electronics and 13-year-old Christiano Ronald from Green Army
- Exhibitors were privy to the SME Resource Centre where they gained valuable knowledge on business registration, financial resources available for entrepreneurs, the basics of exporting as an SME, and the legal requirements for operating as an SME ● CARIRI’s Food Technology department was on hand providing technical advice and assistance on scaling up, food safety management, food safety training, and other services.
- The Intellectual Property Office representative Mr. Richard Aching visited each booth and provided invaluable advice to several entrepreneurs on Intellectual Property for SME’s, patents and trademarks
- The Supermarket Association of Trinidad and Tobago partnered with us and provided representatives from Massy Distribution, Xtra Foods, and Tru Valu who assessed each exhibitor on their readiness to hit the grocery shelves and tailored recommendations on what steps they could take. CARIRI and The Supermarket Association of Trinidad and Tobago joined forces for a Flood Relief effort that resulted in the donation and distribution of cleaning and food items courtesy Trinidad Brushware Limited, Hollis Avenue Drugs Limited and many other kind corporate and individual donations.