Basseterre, St. Kitts (April 9, 2014) — The World Bank’s infoDev Group is providing opportunities through grant funding of up to US$50,000 for innovation and entrepreneurship to persons and businesses in the area of climate change.
The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is set to benefit with the naming of Quintessence Consulting Inc as the local hub for the World Bank-funded Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC).
“Climate Innovation Centres is an initiative of infoDev which is a part of the World Bank Group which focuses on supporting entrepreneurship and innovation,” explained Ms Telojo ‘Telly’ Valarie Onu, CEO of Quintessence Consulting Inc, which has offices in St. Kitts and Nevis at the Sands Complex in Basseterre, and also in Kingston, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
There are currently three Climate Innovation Centres, the first which was set up in Kenya, followed by the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC), while the third one has recently been launched in Ethiopia.
“The Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre is actually an initiative of a consortium between CARIRI Trinidad and Scientific Research Council (CRC) Jamaica,” observed Ms Onu. “As a consortium they decided to launch this centre.”
The partnership between Quintessence Consulting Inc was announced recently with the visit to the Federation of Mrs Mona Whyte, facilitator of the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre, from the 1st to the 4th of April.
Quintessence Consulting Inc promotes the growth and development of emerging and growth stage companies by providing access to financing, connections and consulting as well as supporting transformation of organisations.
The firm has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Agreement with CCIC to act as the Country Hub to support in-country activities of the CCIC’s services geared towards supporting commercialisation of novel technologies and business models to address local climate challenges which include the creation local networks and support infrastructure such as; business development services, investment advisory services and investment facilitation and syndication, including online platforms, networking, mentoring, training and facilitating trade/export opportunities.
According to Ms Onu, this comes after a recently concluded market demand survey of both private and public sectors which took place in the Federation in the months February and March this year facilitated by Quintessence Consulting Inc.
The purpose of the study was designed to assist CCIC in identifying the needs of its potential client base in order to better tailor the services to satisfy their needs. The survey covered 54 businesses both on St. Kitts and Nevis
“During her visit, Mrs Mona Whyte met with key stakeholders to sensitise the Federation on the potential services that will be offered and grant funding that would be made available over the next five years including but not limited to the current Proof of Concept Grant Funding Scheme,” said Ms Onu.
“Through this grant scheme, up to US$50,000 is being made available to entrepreneurs with concepts or prototypes that fall within five thematic areas; (a) Resource use Efficiency/Recycling, (b) Water and Waste Management, (c) Sustainable Agribusiness, (d) Solar Energy, and (e) Energy Efficiency.”
According to Ms Onu, the Proof of Concept Grant Programme is focusing on not just existing businesses but also potential businesses, people with an idea in the five thematic areas that can demonstrate innovation, not necessarily invention, but innovation meaning they could be doing something else that is applied somewhere else but be appropriated to the context within which they are doing.
“The deadline is April the 20th so there is not much time,” advised the CEO of Quintessence Consulting Inc. “Actually the programme had been launched since November but then we did not get any applications from St. Kitts and Nevis. It is a grant, it is not a loan and it is up to US$50,000.
“There is an application process, and at this time we have the forms available on the website www.caribbeancic.org and on the site one can see the Proof of Concept Grant application process. We ask persons to download the forms which they will have to email to us.”
Quintessence Consulting Inc office which is situated at Unit C20 at the Sands Complex on Bay Road Basseterre is open from 9:00am to 4:00pm every day, Monday to Friday, is ready and willing to assist entrepreneurs in terms of how they structure their applications.
“We will probably give them some guidelines if they are having some difficulties in putting together their application and to go over the application format so that they are fully aware,” said Ms Onu.