The Caribbean Innovation Challenge (CIC) is an international entrepreneur competition and business start-up accelerator for young people in the CARICOM Member and Associate States. The CIC differentiates itself from other existing business model competitions by incorporating “before and after“ stages, focusing on training and mentoring as preparation for the competition, and providing follow up services that include access to finance, networking activities, visibility and promotion opportunities.
The CIC started in 2012 as a part of the Youth-IN Programme of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Barbados and the OECS, designed and implemented, since its creation, by the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT); the CIC follows the ten-year hemispheric model of the Talent and Innovation Competition of the Americas (TIC Americas). In 2015, in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and The University of the West Indies, the CIC operated as part of the Caribbean Regional Entrepreneurial Asset Commercialization Hub (REACH).
Since its inception, the CIC has had an exclusive and special focus of creating support networks for entrepreneurs in the Caribbean, the 2017 – 2018 edition, supported by the World Bank, will take place, for the first time, as part of the VIII Summit of the Americas youth-focused events: the V Young Americas Forum and its implementation component, TIC Americas.
To date, the CIC has supported the creation of 447 business proposals in 18 CARICOM countries.
CIC participants and finalists benefit from the program through of access to:
• Business network
• Content and knowledge
• Development markets
• Finance sources and angel investors
• International visibility and recognition
• Mentors and technical support
The program relies on a collaborative, regional support network of national partner institutions and stakeholders that have been supporting the CIC efforts from its beginning. This network is confirmed by over 150 collaborators that include Governments, National Ministries, NGO’s, private and public sector institutions, universities and young people in the countries participating.
CIC participants are also able to participate in the Young Americas Forum. The Fifth Young Americas Forum will be held in conjunction with the VIII Summit of the Americas, in Lima, Peru, in April 2018.