BRIDGETOWN- 2020 was a year of unprecedented challenges. Nevertheless, Bloom Cleantech Cluster was determined to not only survive, but to thrive. In September 2020, the Bloom Cleantech Cluster launched an extensive online capacity building training program, which was focused on skills development for project staff and start-up owners. The training covered topics such as fostering green business growth, validating business ideas, business modelling, how to finance your start-up, with and without venture capital (VC), and circular economy and circular business models. Online training courses were delivered by University of New South Wales, University of Maryland and London Business School and The International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ILOITC). Most of the courses were delivered through the Coursera platform. The inclusive and innovative approach of the Bloom Cluster has increased the commitment of local start-ups to scale up, validate and commercialize their business ideas.
Working with young start-ups and new business development projects has great economic and job creation potential. At the moment, the Bloom Cleantech Incubator is established with 10 incubatees, whose business models and business plans are under development, in cooperation with the Cleantech Cluster members. Three of our start-ups have shown remarkable progress during the incubation program and gained international recognition.
Kerri–Ann Bovell, EcoMycö
Bloom Cleantech incubatee Kerri-Ann Bovell has raised remarkable international visibility in global start-up competitions, calls and global pitching events and has already won many international awards including the Bloom Cleantech Incubation award 2021 and the CIBC First Caribbean SEED Business plan award (winner) in 2021. She was successfully accepted into the UNDP’s Blue Lab and went on to win a UNDP Blue Lab Accelerator Award in 2020. Prior to that, in 2019, Bovell participated in the ClimateLaunchpad[i] Barbados boot-camp and was the national runner-up at the ClimateLaunchpad (CLP) Barbados finals. She was among 2 teams selected to represent Barbados at the CLP Global Grand Finals in the Netherlands in 2019.
Simera Crawford, Caribbean Environmental Management Bureau (CEMBI): BiteGreen Market web platform
Bloom Cleantech Incubatee, CEMBI CEO, Simera Crawford and her BiteGreen Market web platform app won a $50,000 USD grant from the GEF small grants program in 2020. The BiteGreen Market web platform and app is aimed at enhancing the Circular Economy for overall operational efficiency of businesses and integrating environmental preservation, and other sustainable actions, into mainstream society through everyday activities.
Joshua Forte, Red Diamond Compost
Joshua Forte, Founder of Red Diamond Compost, has achieved remarkable international recognition with his start-up that is developing green agrochemicals for organic farmers and growers. His latest awards include a British Commonwealth Innovation award winner in 2021 and a 2020 TIC Americas Caribbean Innovation Competition (CIC) win. Out of 2085 registered teams, Red Diamond Compost emerged the number one champion with their Climate Adaptation Ecosystem Initiative. In 2019, Red Diamond Compost also participated in the CLP Barbados boot-camp and final pitching competition. Red Diamond Compost was awarded a 1st place victory that qualified them to represent Barbados at the CLP Global Grand Finals in the Netherlands.
Bloom has supported incubatees by providing them with certified training and individual coaching services where business modelling and validation have been the focus.
30% of the Bloom Cleantech incubatees including CEMBI, EcoMycö and Red Diamond have demonstrated excellent resilience and determination in their pitching and commercialization efforts in highly competitive global forums in the Caribbean region and Europe.
Other Bloom Cleantech incubatees, like Green Collective 246 and OnSolar Solutions, have demonstrated excellence and determination in completing their first product development pilot projects and have demonstrated their product and market know-how to their customers. According to international incubation standards, Bloom incubatees have managed very well in global competitions in raising visibility and international grant financing. In less than 2 years, 3 of our startups have won 5 international awards from the British Commonwealth, GEF SGP, UNDP Blue lab accelerator, First Caribbean bank and Caribbean Innovation Competition executed by Young Americas Business Trust. This is an important success indicator for the Bloom Cleantech Incubation Program.
Barbadian entrepreneurs, especially startups, have been limited in their ability to develop, plan, install and maintain new, green technologies. With a focus on sustainable energy technology innovation, industrial development and entrepreneurship, Bloom is building partnerships between the Barbados government, local businesses, citizens and the academic community. Through these partnerships, Bloom is positioned to help Barbadian cleantech projects and entrepreneurs flourish.
[i] The Climate Launchpad (CLP) is the world´s largest green business ideas competition. CLP´s mission is to unlock the world´s cleantech potential that addresses climate change. The competition creates a stage for those ideas. Climate Launchpad is part of the Entrepreneurship offerings of EIT-Climate KIC.