The UWI Ventures Limited, a spinoff company of The University of the West Indies (UWI), and the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to actively collaborate in several areas, including professional education; research and development, innovation and entrepreneurship development; training and branding. The signing took place at the Office of the Campus Principal on Monday, March 1, 2021.
UWI Ventures Limited and CARIRI share the common objective of fostering innovation and entrepreneurship as a mechanism of enhancing wealth creation, employment generation, and accelerated value creation in the I&E ecosystem. Both institutions have focussed attention and efforts on the areas of innovation facilitation and entrepreneurship with the likeminded goal of the economic diversification of Trinidad and Tobago. Mr. Gerry Brooks, Professor of Practice at The UWI and Executive Chairman of UWI Ventures Limited, pointed to several nationally significant and investment worthy innovation projects currently being developed at The UWI that UWI Ventures and CARIRI can collaboratively develop into globally competitive enterprise. These include innovations in chemical engineering, ICT, high-value agriculture, medicine and music.
Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Brian Copeland emphasized that The UWI’s commitment to the positive transformation of the Caribbean has been a constant theme and mission for more than 70 years.
“Twenty-first Century needs and trends”, he said, “require that The UWI prepare students differently; that we work even more diligently with Industry for greater efficiency, effectiveness, and growth. To that end, the St. Augustine Campus developed an innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, a strongly interconnected and well-coordinated network of functional units that creates an effective pipeline to transform ideation to product. This ecosystem is meant to promote and sustain economic innovation and is an ideal complement to our traditional academic, research, and outreach activity.”
UWI Ventures has a separate and independent governance structure to The UWI, given the need for agility and flexibility as a commercial sector entity. UWI Ventures collaborates and works closely with The UWI, through its Entrepreneurship Unit and the St. Augustine Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (StACIE), to provide comprehensive and integrated support for selected start-ups, including grant funding, IP protection, and a full suite of entrepreneurship services including but not limited to business planning, coaching, mentorship and commercialisation of innovative entrepreneurial opportunities. UWI Ventures is also designed as a holding company for UWI spin-offs and start-ups.
CARIRI’s Executive Manager, Corporate Services Meghnath Gosein, expressed their delight at this partnership which will “purposefully drive the innovation and digital transformation so critical to the future of Trinidad and Tobago and so necessary for the sustainable development of the Caribbean”. He also spoke at length about CARIRI’s innovation and entrepreneurship programme initiatives that, together with the UWI and the UWI Ventures, will enable a national innovation and entrepreneurship hub for advancing new and relevant technologies in line with the country’s economic development aspirations.