Export Barbados, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Ministry of International Business and Industry (MIBI), the Barbados Investment & Development Corporation (BIDC) and the Clean Tech Cluster Barbados (BLOOM) are jointly implementing the Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded project “Strategic platform to promote sustainable energy technology innovation, industrial development and entrepreneurship in Barbados”.
The project contributes to the implementation of the National Strategic Plan 2005-2025, which aims at making Barbados a “green circular economy” and the “most environmentally advanced green country in Latin America and the Caribbean”.
As a part of the GEF-6 project, Bloom Cleantech Cluster is managing and facilitating the Bloom Cleantech Incubation Programme which aims to promote cleantech entrepreneurship and commercialization of new cleantech innovations. The Cleantech Incubator provides various business advisory services for the selected start-ups, including business planning assistance, coaching, mentoring, matchmaking and access to grant, project and private financing. With the incubation programme having been running for 18 months, the Bloom Cleantech Incubator currently has agreements with 11 start-ups.
Examples of Start-up Cases
Kerri-Ann Bovell is the founder of BioMaterials/EcoMyco in Barbados. Her innovation involves the creation of biomaterial packaging, utilizing microorganisms, accessible natural materials, and agricultural waste in an effort to eliminate plastic waste and fight the plastic crisis in the Caribbean. Made of products such as Sargassum seaweed, coconut husks, sweet potato and cassava peels, and manufactured to be used in injection moulding machines and 3D printers, the biomaterial packaging also offers new economic potential to the agricultural community on the island, unlocking new sources of revenue for farmers. Kerri-Ann was the winner of the UWI SEED CIBC FirstCaribbean Business Plan Competition in 2021. She was also selected for the Bloom Cleantech incubation programme and UNDP´s Blue Economy Accelerator in 2020.
Iron Charging Solutions
Founder Andre Murrell created an online platform that allows owners of electric vehicle charging infrastructure to share their chargers with electric vehicle drivers. The aim is to build the first virtual EV charging network in Barbados that can be scaled in other countries later. ICS is currently the Bloom pre-incubatee.
Kerri-Ann and Andre were selected recently for the Leaders in Innovation Fellowship (LIF) Programme funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering in the United Kingdom.
Caribbean Environment Management Bureau (CEMBI)
Simera Crawford has developed the BiteGreen market web platform for waste streams that can be reused or recycled. Through the use of the BiteGreen app, potential customers will get updated information about reused and recyclable materials and suppliers that are available in the market. BiteGreen Market web platform and app is aimed at enhancing the Circular Economy for overall operational efficiency and integrating environmental preservation and other Sustainable Development Goals into customary activities.
CEMBI´s BiteGreen technology platform has been developed through the technical assistance provided by the UNIDO/ Bloom Cleantech Incubation programme and UNDP´s Small Grants Programme in 2020-2021.
Red Diamond Compost
Joshua Forte is a sustainable environmental management practitioner and the founder and CEO of Red Diamond Compost Inc, a biotech social enterprise that focuses on research, development, and commercialization of clean and green agrochemical solutions.
Red Diamond solutions are made from organic waste and invasive plants. The chemicals support fragile soil organisms responsible for building soil structure, storing carbon, cycling nutrients to plants, and protecting pollinating insects. The company has won several international awards, including the British Commonwealth Innovation award in 2021; and the Caribbean Innovation Competition (CIC) award 2020, out of 2,085 applicants.
Promotion of Cleantech Policy Instruments
The Bloom Cleantech Cluster project also aims to support the Government of Barbados in the promotion of cleantech policy instruments, incentives and regulations for the cleantech supply side sector and to strengthen the country´s cleantech and renewable energy quality infrastructure in testing, certification and quality assurance. In fostering this effort, Cluster has recruited international consultants that are helping us to strengthen cleantech policy and quality framework in Barbados.
UNIDO´s role and services in Barbados are illustrated in the diagram below. UNIDO´s role is mainly focused on improving the innovation ecosystem through strengthening institutional capacity of Export Barbados and GoB to provide high quality business support services for the tech entrepreneurs and start-ups, such as business planning assistance, access to financing, promoting investment & quality infrastructure, matchmaking, international networking and coaching.
The Bloom Cleantech Cluster Set-up in Barbados
Bloom Cluster is an entrepreneurial cluster where the key actors are entrepreneurs. At the moment Bloom has about 20 members from the public and private sector, including 11 start-ups, the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, University of West Indies, Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute, and from ministries such as MIBI, MoENB, MoESB, and the Ministry of Science, Innovation and New Technology.
Mr. Mark Hill, CEO, Export Barbados, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Jari Aaltonen, Cluster Manager, email@example.com
Update September 2022:
BLOOM CleanTech Cluster presented as a global role model, with the potential to be scaled up globally. Read more here.