UWI Open Campus, Compete Caribbean launch business plan competition
Wayne Elliott, Compete Caribbean productivity and innovation coordinator

The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Open Campus and Compete Caribbean regional business plan competition is now open for submission.

Targeting entrepreneurs who are operating or wish to operate within the Caribbean community-based tourism (CBT) industry, the competition will run from January 25, 2022 to March 11, 2022.

CBT refers to the platform for local community to generate economic benefits through offering their products to tourists that range from the local communities, lifestyles, natural resources, and cultures.

The Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility is a private sector development programme delivering innovative and practical solutions that stimulate economic growth, increase productivity and foster innovation and competitiveness, while promoting economic inclusion.

The competition is open to entrepreneurs from Compete Caribbean member countries. This includes Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname.

Speaking at the online launch yesterday, deputy director of commercial operations in the open campus country sites, Dr Cheryl Sloley, said the business plan competition's objective is two-fold.

“It is intended to harness potential and the energy of Caribbean entrepreneurs in the community-based tourism market but it will also foster exponential growth in one of the top performing sectors in the region's economy. We all do appreciate that entrepreneurs are important to any economy as they're often credited with being responsible for the development of new business ideas in response to needs and gaps in the marketplace. Let the competition begin and may the best man or woman win,” she said.

Interested individuals can apply at www.open.uwi.edu/compete-caribbean, where they will be required to upload business plans and deliver a five-minute pitch to a panel of judges.

Prizes will be awarded to participants in technical support, with the first prize valued up to US$2,500, the second valued of US$2,000, and the third at US$1,400. Additionally, the top three entrepreneurs will be given a Certificate of Participation from Compete Caribbean.

To support entrepreneurs in entering and preparing for the competition, a business pitch workshop webinar will be held on February 8. The first one was held yesterday during the competition launch on how to write a business plan for CBT.

Compete Caribbean productivity and innovation coordinator Wayne Elliott added, “At Compete, we believe that community-based tourism is a powerful challenge for sustainable and inclusive economic development in the Caribbean. CBT enables greater market opportunities for broad-based of local entrepreneurs, which in turn creates employment opportunities”.

He pointed out that Compete Caribbean is currently making investments valued at some US$1 million to pilot three CBT cluster initiatives as it continues to demonstrate the power of collective action.

SLOLEY... we all do appreciatethat entrepreneurs are importantto any economy as they're oftencredited with being responsiblefor the development of newbusiness ideas in responseto needs and gaps in themarketplace

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