The Government signed a grant funding agreement for a development aid programme with the European Union (EU) under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) for EUR8 million (TT$64 million).
The programme called, Support to a Competitive and Innovative Economy in TT, was developed through a partnership between the Ministry of Planning and Development, the EU and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), with the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) as the key implementing partner. The programme is in line with the National Innovation Policy 2017-2020 and is designed to drive economic growth and jobs in a socially and environmentally sustainable way.
Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis said, “This Innovation Programme is a key element in the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which form the building blocks of the National Development Strategy, Vision 2030... Innovation forms one of eight medium-term priorities of the government for the period 2021 to 2025 in order to stimulate the economy and secure lives and livelihoods of our citizens.”
Robinson-Regis said the grant resource will be available to civil society and the public and private sectors and will specifically target organisations that developed and are bringing new and innovative products and services to the market.
The grants will benefit the business sector by assisting those who developed a new product or service that is market ready and has the export potential necessary to generate foreign revenue. “The Government is therefore seeking to monetise our innovative capacity as a nation by supporting those who are willing to invest in the research and development necessary to create 21st century products with the ultimate goal of stimulating new economic opportunities.” Speaking about the programme on behalf of the EU, Sanjin Soldatic, charge d’affaires of the EU mission in TT, said the funding forms part of Team Europe – the global EU response to covid19 supporting partner countries – as the need to drive growth has become even more urgent now due to the impact of the pandemic.
“It is fortunate, therefore, that a main component of the programme – the Innovation Challenge Fund – targets SMEs, the group that has been especially hard-hit. The EU is very happy to able to assist TT in its efforts to attain the next level of growth and development and we are very much look forward to seeing this programme being rolled out in the coming months.”
Further information on the grants will be updated on the websites: https://www.planning.gov.tt/ or https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/trinidad-and-tobago_en.