CARICOM Development Fund Grants Support to the OECS Global Startup Hub

The content originally appeared on: The Barnacle News

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission is thrilled to announce its collaboration with the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) for the 2024 cohort of the OECS Global Startup Hub.

This partnership will create the opportunity for ten entrepreneurs who qualify to attend the Draper University five-week Hero Training Program in Silicon Valley.

As the entrepreneurial landscape in the OECS continues to evolve, the OECS Commission recognises the critical role of fostering innovation, building capacity, and driving economic growth in entrepreneurship. Through this collaboration with the CDF, a partner with shared values of transforming the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the OECS Global Startup Hub will drive innovative solutions in the region.

Dr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the OECS, commended the CDF for this vital contribution to the success of entrepreneurs:

“This agreement between the OECS and the CARICOM Development Fund represents a pivotal step in bolstering regional entrepreneurship. For the OECS, this grant is an investment in the potential and dreams of our region’s most talented entrepreneurs. It is an avenue to convert their innovative ideas into tangible impacts, ultimately paving the way for a more prosperous and dynamic Eastern Caribbean.”

One of the CDF’s focus areas is small and medium enterprise development in the Caribbean and contributing to “reducing intra-regional disparities through effective partnerships”. The CDF’s contribution to the OECS Global Startup Hub is a testament to its commitment to closing existing gaps in entrepreneurship across the region. The CDF is a longstanding partner of the OECS Commission, and continues to collaborate to advance the development agenda for the Eastern Caribbean region.

Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Rodinald Soomer, spoke on the CDF’s contribution to the OECS Global Startup Hub:

“The CDF is extremely delighted to partner with the OECS in support of the OECS Global Startup Hub, the aim of which is to provide young entrepreneurs across various sectors with the opportunity to gain a firsthand understanding of early-stage and innovation development while fostering collaboration with potential investors and partners, globally. We believe that supporting entrepreneurship and innovation in the OECS will help to cultivate a culture of resilience, creativity, and adaptability, and we are very happy to make this investment in the Caribbean’s collective future, which will ultimately foster job creation, technological advancement, and a thriving OECS and wider CARICOM economy.”

The application period for the 2024 OECS Global Startup Hub remains open until January 31, 2024. Technology and technology-enabled MSMEs in the OECS are invited to apply and up to 150 successful candidates will be accepted to participate in the free, two-week Virtual Accelerator Program. Participants from this program will also get a chance to move onto a second immersion experience in Silicon Valley for the Draper University Hero Training Program.

Eligibility requirements: 

Startups from OECS Member States are eligible to applyStartups must have high growth potential, with scalable ideas, and operate in the technology industry or in other industries that are interested in introducing technology to scale their business operations. Entrepreneurs with tech-based and tech-enabled startups less than 5 years in operation are strongly encouraged to apply.Deadline for applications: Wednesday, January 31, 2024. 

For more information and to apply for the Virtual Accelerator Program, visit: https://forms.gle/Bmyvya8QKFkgZi4s6  

For more information and to apply for the Draper University Hero Training Program: https://forms.gle/f3n4F57BGNx5vGSPA 

Entrepreneurs must participate in the Virtual Accelerator Program to qualify for the Hero Training Program.