Barbados has joined over 50 countries in participating in the global green business competition, Climate Launchpad, which highlights innovations in renewable energy, food and agriculture, energy efficiency, water, transportation and industrial technology.

The local leg of the competition which was launched last evening is being executed by the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC).

BIDC CEO Sonja Trotman said the competition has the potential to bring ideas to the forefront that will generate business with the potential to transform the productive landscape of Barbados.

“Our attention to a sustainable future is critical not only in the global context of increasingly prevalent super-storms, earthquakes and other weather phenomenon that can quickly wipe us out in the blink of an eye, but also within the context of the current challenges that we’re facing as a tiny island, relative to our transportation, management of our water resources, waste, coastal zones, energy resources, and other blue-green socio-economic concerns that have direct implications for a sustainable future for Barbados,” Trotman said.

She added that the conversation around innovation, climate change, the green and blue economies, has been of significant importance to the BIDC over the past few years.

Minister for Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce Dwight Sutherland noted that the competition is not only an innovative way to tackle climate change but an opportunity for the development of the participating businesses and individuals.

He added that the Government is pleased to be associated with this initiative as it is aware of the vulnerability of Barbados and other Caribbean islands to the effects of climate change.

“The effects of climate change, if left unchecked, with no efforts to address or adapt, could potentially devastate our eco-system, damage our physical infrastructure, cripple both our air and seaports and set us back economically for years to come,” he said.

In that regard, Sutherland added, the Government has committed to several initiatives to protect the island against such disasters, including ensuring that the Department of Emergency Management is located in an appropriately equipped building that is capable of withstanding a Category 5 hurricane.

Government has also instituted a rapid roof replacement programme to support homeowners replacing non-hurricane resistant roofs, and carry out other hurricane proofing of their homes.

“However the Government of Barbados is under no illusion that the fight against the devastating effects of climate change is one that we are equipped to handle on our own

“We believe that there is a wealth of ideas and resources among the people of Barbados. We are confident that the highly-skilled, well-trained people of this small island are more than capable of producing the excellence that will realize the ream of a respected, world-class country in which our economy is strong, sustainable and resilient,” Sutherland said.

The BIDC is partnering with the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre, which is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank.

Participants began a two-day boot camp on Thursday. They will then engage in coaching sessions, leading up to the national final on August 23, before joining international entrepreneurs in the global final in the Netherlands in November.

The companies participating in Climate Launchpad are Solar Fruits; Fuerza; Oasis Laboratory; Recycle It; Red Diamond Compost, and Solar Secure. (MCW)