By Linda Straker
With an objective to focus heavily on employment creation and provide alternative to our traditional sources of economic growth and national development — the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Programme (CARCIP) will be making available US$2.2 million to innovative business ideas using ICT platforms.
The grant funding for innovators and entrepreneurs will support approximately 60 ICT businesses related ideas, or accelerate existing businesses by infusing technology into their operations. The greatest amount that will be made available to any one project will be EC$150,000.
This was disclosed on Tuesday by officials of the CARCIP project office, during CARCIP Awareness Day. The day was observed as part of the effort to enlighten the general public about CARCIP, and the funding opportunities that will be available later in the year. According to officials of the Ministry of ICT, the process will be a workshop for innovators and then a call for proposal.
Steve George, Chairman of the CARCIP National Steering Committee, said at the opening ceremony at the awareness day, that the project will drive the development of local content, because content is what drives people through the Internet.
CARCIP is a regional project, but according to George, at the local level Grenada will implement broadband services which are expected to provide connectivity support for government offices, health facilities and schools.
“The network will support the development of the Government IT platform which will facilitate the provision of online government services, thereby making it easier for citizens and stakeholders in general to do business with government,” explained Permanent Secretary for ICT, Jacinta Joseph. “There will also be the Internet Exchange Point (IXP) to further lower the cost of bandwidth and improve internet access,” she added.
“By its very nature, CARCIP will play a major role in realising Government’s vision of a sustainable knowledge-based society that maximizes the use of ICT, for greater competitiveness, economic development, and improved quality of life and work for all our people,” said ICT Minister Alvin Dabreo, as he explained that Government’s vision is to creative an atmosphere where every house benefits from technology intelligence.
The CARCIP Awareness Day revealed various opportunities available under the program, through presentations from a slate of technology experts, who shared perspectives on the potential of telecommunications technology to transform regional business, government and society. “Technology is a cross-cutting sector and has implications for all individuals and businesses. The fact is that the Internet is growing rapidly, and no one should be left behind,” said Alice Bain, CARCIP Project Coordinator.
Funded by the International Development Association of the World Bank and coordinated by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, CARCIP seeks to help governments and the private sector to harmonise the development of critical telecommunications infrastructure across three participating Eastern Caribbean countries — Grenada, Saint Lucia, and St Vincent and The Grenadines. It is designed to bridge the gaps in the national and regional ICT Structure, and enhance the connectivity of participating countries.