The Cleantech Cluster Barbados (BLOOM) today awarded grants of BDS$20,000 to five companies from its incubator programme. Launched in 2018, BLOOM is a landmark initiative for the Barbados Industrial Development Corporation, currently trading as Export Barbados (BIDC), that seeks to promote cleantech entrepreneurship and the commercialization of new cleantech innovations. The Cleantech Incubator Programme is a project of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) jointly funded by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Ministry of International Business and Industry (MIBI), Export Barbados (BIDC), and the CleanTech Cluster Barbados (BLOOM).
The manager of the BLOOM, Jari Aaltonen, said that he was pleased that all the companies entering the incubator have completed most of the assignments from the pre-incubator agreement signed with the BIDC and Bloom in 2020. He said that the incubatees “demonstrated commitment, discipline and ability to learn new business and management skills.” Although there is still some work to be done to complete all obligations, the UNIDO and BLOOM have decided to provide them with incubator awards.
Receiving awards were Simera Crawford, Executive Founder of Caribbean Environment Management Bureau; Robert Goodridge, COO and Aria Goodridge CEO of Goodridge Power Inc.; Joshua Forte, CEO of Red Diamond Compost Inc.; Deandra Crawford, Owner of The Green Collective 246, and Leiska Evanson of Healing Grove Container Farm.
CEO of Export Barbados (BIDC) Mark Hill thanked the incubatees for reaching this stage of their startup development. He said that BLOOM sits as a central component of Export Barbados’ life sciences sector expansion plan. “The data has indicated that our economy’s greatest potential and competitive advantage lies within the life sciences. Our labour resource orientation, comparative wage competitiveness, and untapped export potential paint a clear picture of opportunity. This opportunity is well-positioned within our policy environment, as the Government of Barbados has set the 2030 transformation goal of being 100% renewable energy powered and carbon neutral.” Hill said that with this in mind, Export Barbados is seeking to expand the BLOOM brand further to include the establishment of industrial-scale bio-energy projects.
Representing the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (BCCI) Green Committee, Chairman Andy Armstrong said that the issue of sustainability and green economy had been a primary focus for the BCCI as it sought to respond to the climate change crisis. The well-known entrepreneur said that the BCCI sits on several boards and collaborates with several agencies toward helping Barbados achieve the ambitious goal of attaining all its energy from renewable sources by 2030. He, therefore, commended the incubatees on their businesses and offered all the companies in the programme a free year’s membership to the BCCI.
This is the second round of awards presented by BLOOM. The first round was presented in June 2021. The Cleantech Incubator provides business advisory services, including business planning assistance, coaching, and mentoring, matchmaking services, and access to grants, projects, and private financing to select startups. In addition to this incubator grant BLOOM will issue another grant meant solely for R&D purposes including prototyping, development of Minimum Viable Product (MVP), product validation and testing etc. Another prototype capital award ceremony is planned for March for select startups. With that third round, the total grant amount released will be BDS$200, 000. The Bloom Cleantech Incubator currently has agreements with 11 startups.