“There is value in being branded ‘Green’”, Minister Gaskin

DPI, GUYANA, Sunday, 20 August, 2017

“There is a lot of green in the air and the green state is slowly taking shape and so much so that many people are now in the correspondence of various governments officials. They are now including some aspect of greening to demonstrate the synergies that exist between what they are seeking to do and the Government’s Green Agenda”.

Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin

This was stated by Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin this evening as he delivered the key note address at the closing ceremony of the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC) in collaboration with the Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED) for the Caribbean GreenTech Startup Bootcamp, which will be held at the Tower Suites Guyana Incorported, 74-75 Main Street, Georgetown.

The Caribbean GreenTech Startup Bootcamp is a 54-hour event that will challenge participating startups to hone their skills in an intense, high-pressure weekend, and is one of the flagship programs of the CCIC which focuses on identifying and supporting Caribbean entrepreneurs and new ventures that are developing locally appropriate solutions towards climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The objective of CCIC’s initiative is to identify, build capacity and provide a supportive ecosystem for a pipeline of clean technology entrepreneurs in the Region. With over 200 entrepreneurs already trained in the new business knowledge, the three-day event bought together climate-related experts to drive discussions on the challenges of Climate Change to inspire more participants to generate business ideas, as climate change-related solutions.

First Place Winner Plant Max Solar Powered Agricultural Bio- Tech Farm Facility team

Through this bootcamp, startups focused on the respective areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, water/waste management; sustainable agriculture/agribusiness and resource use efficiency will receive opportunities for further development. Startups will additionally have the opportunity to network with like-minded young startup companies, industry experts & mentors along with gaining invaluable insights and lesson on developing a successful green business. The Centre’s regional hubs will also be provided training at the bootcamps to equip them with the know-how to better conduct such CCIC programs in their respective countries.

Minister Gaskin noted that Guyana is on a ‘Green Mission’ and that mission has many components. He noted that these include “conservation and protection of large areas of our habitats, there are greenhouses gases like Carbon Dioxide that we are trying to prevent from escaping into the atmosphere and raising global temperatures, there is green energy which we are seeking to introduce into the energy mix in order to reduce our Carbon Dioxide Emissions”.

Minister Gaskin added that “There are green foods which are being produced without the use of environmentally harmful fertilizers which are deemed to be healthier for us to consume, believe it or not there is also green gold. There was a green gold pilot project that was launched in Guyana by Conservational International a few months ago which is seeking to create a demand driven premium on gold products that have been produced with gold that have been sustainably mined.”

Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin giving out certificates to participants

The Business Minister told participants of the Bootcamp that “Perception” is a very important factor in a growing economy. “Where investors perceive value that is where they will direct their interest. The fact that we are all talking about ‘Green” these days shows that there is a perception out there that ‘Green ‘has value. Perception can be a valuable thing and people who understand how to leverage perception to create value and understand how to make big profits (will be successful)”.

Minister Gaskin explained that the Green State has a value because globally there is growing awareness of Climate Change and how more environmentally friendly practices can mitigate the impacts of Climate Change. He said that this new awareness places greater value on things like conservation and protection of the environment.

“We need to finds ways to leverage the value of our natural surroundings that is the Green Mission ,we know that somehow our standing forest is worth more  than the gold and timber that we can extract from them but we still need to find ways to turn these into money and profits”, Minister Gaskin said.

Touching on Eco-Tourism or Nature Tourism, the Minister noted that these are important and the Guyana and businesses can profit tremendously under the ‘Green Brand’. “We have to develop a tourism product that is based in our hinterland where we have this huge green asset and we need to create a network of Eco-Lodges throughout the hinterland so that we can have easy access between Tourism hotspots”.

Minister Gaskin identified three ways in which Guyana and Business can become Green and continue to improve on the ‘Green Brand’

  • Becoming Green through the use of Greener Energy , technology and living practices
  • Preserving and protecting our natural greenness
  • Finding ways to sell our greenness to the rest of the world

Minister Gaskin noted that “Startup Business” is important to a growing economy. He said the “‘Green Brand’ is a good brand for promotion, for us to promote its positive and very much align with consumers’ trend and awareness globally, so now is a good time to be Green and this creates opportunities for Start Ups. Start Ups have to be ambitious, they thrive in economies where there is venture capital available for which startups can complete their projects and these are generally available from investors to fund investments that will see high returns”.

The Minister noted finally that, “Long term approach doesn’t mean that there is no space for startups today. Startups can blaze the trail for future success and having and an Education System that will cultivate young minds to be creative and teaches students on how to use innovation to create economic opportunities in an Education System that will foster that Culture Entrepreneurship and will transform Guyana’s Economy into one that is driven by innovation rather than by the exports of unprocessed commodities.

At the Bootcamp startups were exposed to the rudiments of developing a startup team and will be provided mentorship from business & greentech experts to improve their business concepts. At the end of the event, each team will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges who will select the top three startups.

The first place prize of US$1000 went to Plant Max Solar Powered Agricultural Bio- Tech Farm Facility.

The Second Place prize of US$500 went to WoodNex, (RE Build it Green and the Third Prize of US$250 went to Eco Fertilzer, A City’s Problem, A Farmers Solution.

By: Gabreila Patram