A business which makes waste into wearable fashion accessories, paid off big for Tamara Prosper of Grenada.
Tambran by Tamara, an eco-friendly business which transforms waste materials into trendy adornments, earned the young entrepreneur the top spot in the environmental category of the inaugural Caribbean Innovation Challenge (CIC) finals held last week in Barbados.
“I am very proud and happy. Ecstatic!,” Prosper said moments after she was announced a winner.
“I am looking forward to going to Guatemala. I will call my mother and tell her now she will be so happy,” the excited young business woman said.
In addition, five winners, two from Trinidad and Tobago, one from Barbados, Antigua and St. Vincent and the Grenadines were awarded top awards in the three business categories – economic, environmental and social.
They were each awarded US$5,000 and one member of each team will be headed to Guatemala to compete for additional funding for their businesses at the Talent and Innovation Challenge of the Americas in June.
Trinidadians Wesley Gervais won in the economics business category for his online outsourcing marketplace business, Hivesource, while Michael Parris and Jonelle Jones of Mr. Tallyman’s Sun Dried Bananas won one of two top prizes in the social category.
In the social category, Bookline, a textbook rental and loan company run by Barbadians
Kevin Bishop, Rochelle Walrond, Ian Cox and Chenika Moore also came out on top in the social category.
Young Vincentian engineer Kamara Jerome won in the environmental category for his wind and solar powered boat prototype built by his business Emerald Energy.
Antiguans Jermaine Paul, Winston Laville and Dominic Chastanet won the top award in the economic category their agro-processing business LCP Industries.
The finals, which took place on April 26 at the Barbados Hilton hotel was the culmination of months of intense workshops and other business development activities organised by sponsors the United Nations Development Programme’s Youth-In Project in conjunction with the Young Americas Business Trust with support from the Italian Government.
The 20 finalists beat out over 490 over teams from throughout the region to gain a place in the two-day event in Barbados, where under the guidance of experienced businessmen and women they honed their skills and learned the finer points of entrepreneurship.
Barbados’ Ambassador to Washington John Beale who congratulated the finalist on their creative and innovative ideas said he was certain participants will have a positive impact in their communities and the region.
Beale noted that Governments cannot mobilise all the resources needed to employ their people and that fostering entrepreneurship among young people “was the way to go”.
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Young Americas Business Trust, Roy Thomasson, said the “true winners” were those who whether they “win or lose will continue”.
“This is not about winning or losing but learning from the experience,” he told the entrepreneurs.
Organisation of American States Executive Secretary for Integration Development Sherry Tross, pledged the hemispheric body’s continued support to the region’s young business persons.
She told the participants the OAS was “committed to working with you to make your dreams a reality”.
Program Manager with the UNDP, Paula Mohammed, said the event had “reaffirmed” the wealth of youthful business talent in the region.
All finalists received certificates of participation.