Current and prospective entrepreneurs in community-based tourism in Barbados and other Caribbean islands are about to get a significant boost, as they compete for an opportunity to cash in on valuable assistance valued up to BD$12,000.
On Tuesday, officials of Compete Caribbean in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus officially launched the Regional Business Plan Competition, which will see a number of entrepreneurs benefiting from a range of services including technical assistance and networking opportunities.
Individuals or groups interested in entering the competition are required to register at www.open.uwi.edu/compete-caribbean , upload a business plan and submit a five-minute pitch in English, to be assessed by a panel.
Businesses do not have to be registered in their country to enter the competition, which opened on Tuesday, January 25 and will close on Friday, March 11, 2022.
The competition is opened to current and potential entrepreneurs in community-based tourism in the Compete Caribbean member countries of Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname.
Jody Grizzle, Project Coordinator in the Business Development Unit and the UWI Open Campus, said the competition was one way of helping to guide entrepreneurs and to highlight, recognise and reward innovation and potential impact of new or existing business.
“We support economic and social development. It is in that vein that we are providing both technical and/or cash assistance to entrepreneurs. Sometimes entrepreneurs need the direct guidance and business skills and business direction and not so much all the oodles of cash. So that is one of the reasons we want to do this competition,” said Grizzle.
“We also want to promote the community-based tourism toolkit and consumer research which was prepared by Compete Caribbean along with some of its partners. This is very useful information which provides consumer insights and guidance for the pricing of goods, services and experiences. It is actually what visitors would pay for the services you have to offer
“The competition also is an opportunity to facilitate access to a support network for entrepreneurs. So when you are stressing and things are not going well you can reach out to this select network and you get the support you need for your business venture,” she said.
The winner will receive technical assistance up to a value of US$2,500 while the second place competitor will receive technical assistance up to a value of US$2,000. Third place carries technical assistance prize up to a value of US$1,400. Each winner will receive a certificate of participation from Compete Caribbean.
There will also be spot prizes of Amazon gift cards to two attendees at each webinar to be held on February 8 and February 22, 2022.
During the online launch of the competition on Tuesday, Wayne Elliot, Productivity and Innovation Coordinator at Compete Caribbean, said he believed community-based tourism was a “powerful channel” for sustainable and inclusive economic development in the Caribbean.
Pointing out that over the years Compete Caribbean had provided some of the necessary insights and advice to policymakers and business operators who seek to diversify their tourism offerings, Elliot revealed: “We are also making investments valued at just about US$1 million to pilot three community-based tourism cluster initiatives as we continue to demonstrate the power of collective action.
“We have partnered with many practitioners and stakeholders within and outside the region to develop research, a toolkit and to begin discussion and chart the future for community-based tourism initiatives,” he added. (MM)