Country

Overall project value

Proportion carried out by BKP Development (%)

No of staff provided

Name of client

Origin of funding

Dates (start/end)

All Caribbean countries

USD 98,550

81

3

World Bank infoDev

CIDA

05/2012 – 11/2012

Detailed description of project

Type of services provided

The Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC) is designed to create and grow competitive micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) across the Caribbean region. This will be achieved by, among other components, using business incubation to provide a sustainable portfolio of services for start-up entrepreneurs comprising advisory services, mentorship, and access to infrastructure. The 7-year EPIC program was launched in 2011; the objectives of the study were to:

  • Assess the needs of the entrepreneurial community, and particularly potential start-ups, in the Caribbean with special attention to sectors that are likely to have a high impact on employment and competitiveness. Among these sectors, three priority areas had been pre-identified by infoDev, i.e. mobile innovation, climate technology, and women entrepreneurship development. The study’s purpose was to assess ex ante if the situation in the Caribbean justified the targeting of the three priority sectors and/or if other sectors would constitute a more appropriate choice; and

  • Examine the incubation models through which those entrepreneurial constraints might be overcome to maximize start-up success. The original idea had been for EPIC to establish six physical incubators in various Caribbean countries. However, other incubation models might be more appropriate or effective, in particular in view of the priority sectors and the regional scope of the EPIC program. In response, the study aimed at establishing the appropriate types of EPIC incubation support, services and implementation arrangements. Also, the geographical focus of EPIC activities, initially confined to six Caribbean countries where the incubators would have been established, needed to be re-considered.

The result of the assignment was a needs assessment and feasibility study with the following main findings and recommendations:

  • The three EPIC priority sectors constitute a relevant choice of Caribbean sectors to be supported through incubation services. However, the priority sectors should be considered as clusters (or value chains, depending on the context) rather than as sectors in a strict sense. This would allow focusing incubation services on those clusters or value chains for which a country has a comparative advantage, reflecting the intra-regional differences in the Caribbean. Clusters and value chains which were identified included innovative agriculture and agro-processing (based on horticulture, fruits and vegetables; creative industries/IT; health and wellness services; and green technologies.

  • It was recommended to launch cluster-networking activities both at the local and “cross islands” level. Such activities would further facilitate the creation of a critical mass of information, firms, education, research institutions and universities, and thus further support entrepreneurship and innovation and pave the way for new firms and strengthen linkages across the region.

  • Another entrepreneurial group should be targeted by EPIC, i.e. youth entrepreneurs.

  • The study presented detailed recommendations regarding implementation structure and modalities, activities and services to be provided by EPIC.

  • Needs assessment and feasibility study on business incubation;

  • Development of typology of business incubation;

  • Identification of good practices in business incubation, in particular in other small island developing states (SIDS);

  • Assessment of demand for business incubation services in the Caribbean;

  • Review and assessment of supply of business incubation and related support services to start-up firms and MSMEs in the Caribbean.