Tue | May 17, 2022

Earth Today | Global Water Partnership-Caribbean opens 2022 youth competition

Published:Thursday | May 5, 2022 | 12:08 AM
Jamaican Ajani Jacobs won the competition in 2020.
Jamaican Ajani Jacobs won the competition in 2020.

CARIBBEAN YOUTH have a fresh opportunity to be rewarded for pitching original water-related and wastewater project ideas as part of an entrepreneurial competition.

This has been made possible through the efforts of the Global Water Partnership – Caribbean (GWP-C) and the United Nations Environment Programme Caribbean Environment Programme, as well as the Cartagena Convention Secretariat, through the Global Environment Facility-funded CReW+ Project.

Other partners include the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre and Democratizing Innovation in the Americas. The partnership has yielded the launch of the 2022 Young Caribbean Water Entrepreneurs Shark Tank Competition.

“Through the GWP-C’s work and interaction with its youth partners and young people within water and related sectors, they often do not have access to funding or resources to easily advance their project ideas,” the entity said on April 25.

“Additionally, they do not always have easy access to technical support to turn their ideas into fully workable projects. It is therefore with great pleasure that the GWP-C announces the launch of its 2022 Young Caribbean Water Entrepreneurs Shark Tank Competition,” the GWP-C added.

The competition is open to young people, age 18-34 years, from the Caribbean. Their ideas are to support better water resources management in their community, country, or the region.

Competitors can win two seed funding awards valued at US$4,000 each – for the best project/idea under category one: ‘Water and Agriculture’, ‘Water and Climate’, ‘Water and Health’, ‘Water and Energy’, and ‘Water and Tourism’; or category two, called ‘Integrated Water and Wastewater Management’. Participants can only apply under one category.

The competition, which is in its third year, was previously held in 2019 and 2020. The 2020 competition was won by Jamaican Ajani Jacobs. Twenty-seven years old at the time, he delivered the winning pitch under the theme ‘Water and Climate’, and for his effort won 4,000 Euros.

This year’s application deadline is August 7.

“All finalists will be required to deliver a five-minute pitch on their project before a panel of ‘sharks’/judges. Finalists will be provided with relevant guidelines/criteria at least two weeks in advance of their final pitch to the sharks. The pitches to the panel of sharks will take place virtually,” the GWP-C said.

The sharks are drawn from a pool of private-sector representatives, water, wastewater and business development specialists, government officials, youth representatives, entrepreneurs and innovation strategies, among others.

The competition is being staged against the background of prevailing concerns over water security related to, for example, climate change impacts and threats. Climate change is anticipated to affect rainfall patterns across the region, while prompting more severe weather events, including droughts.