Caribbean Focused

Project Name:
Tourism and Innovation: Leapfrogging the Caribbean Private Sector

This report is aimed at recommending solutions that would assist the leapfrogging of the Caribbean private sector into the 4th industrial revolution. In doing so, this report aims to identify the challenges within the Caribbean tourism industry and the solutions that digitisation could provide. We use both quantitative data (firm-survey) to derive a Structural Gravity General Equilibrium Model, used to identify and calculate the effects of the biggest barriers to SME growth, as well as qualitative data (interviews) of real-life business cases, which can be used to tackle the said barriers.

Project Name:
The role of Fintech and Regulations in Enabling Caribbean MSMEs to Grow and Innovate

The purpose of the report is to understand the constraints in terms of costs, procedures and legal requirements that MSMEs face in accessing digital payment solutions, which includes online payment and mobile (e-wallet) payment for digital transactions. The report identifies the constraints that Caribbean MSMEs face in accessing traditional electronic banking payment products and newer FinTech digital payment solutions, highlights the magnitude of the problem, and estimates the impact of the current barrier that MSMEs face in conducting digital transactions.

Project Name:
Exploring Firm-Level Innovation and Productivity in Developing Countries

This publication sheds some light on innovation and productivity in the Caribbean. It begins this important discussion by providing a first-ever, comprehensive evidence-based analysis of innovation and productivity at the firm level. The internationally comparable and statistically relevant data used herein come from two first-of-their-kind micro-level datasets funded by the Compete Caribbean Program: the Caribbean Enterprise Survey (CES) and the follow-up Productivity, Technology, and Innovation (PROTEqIN) survey. The analytical findings confirm the relevance of innovation and productivity to the Caribbean region. Novel results expose how factors such as gender, finance, energy, competition, foreign direct investment, and, particularly, business development programs impact firm-level innovation, productivity, and therefore economic growth.

Project Name:
How can blockchain help to increase access to finance for Caribbean SMEs?

Block-chain has the potential to combine dimensions of digital identity like never before. Not only aggregating
alternative information, block-chain maximizes frictionless transactions, security, and individual autonomy.



Project Name:
Jamaica Intellectual Property Asset Workshop 2018

Get Up, Stand Up for Your Rights: Intellectual Property (IP) Rights. How IPRs Can Help Our Creators Access the Finance They Need to Innovate and Grow.

Bowie, James Brown, Motown, the Isley Brothers – these are all artists who were able to securitize their IP to varying degrees of success but is this the right strategy for the Caribbean? In this piece we explore how we can support our creators in using their IPRs to access the finance they need to innovate and grow.


Project Name:

Dear Researchers,

Our most sincere thanks to all applicants who showed an unparalleled level of dedication in participating in the call to address gender issues in the Caribbean.


Project Name:
Call for Cluster Proposals – Results

In November 2017, Compete Caribbean closed a competition for clusters projects across the region, which received 91 applications. Following a thorough, systematic and difficult evaluation process, the following eight finalists have been invited to pitch their project before an independent panel of judges on Friday, January 19th, 2018 from 8:30 am.


Project Name:
Call for Cluster for Proposals FAQs

1. What does the call for cluster proposal include:

1. The guidelines on the application process, timeline, eligibility, etc.

2. The application form – which must be submitted online via

3. The cluster datasheet to facilitate the collection of information about the project and organisations involved.

2. How can I get updates on the timeline and deadlines?

Make sure to sign-up to the newsletter and visit often for any updates on the timeline below.

3. What entities are eligible?

The following organizations are eligible to receive support from Compete Caribbean: private firms, both indigenous enterprises and international firms operating in the Caribbean, consortia led by private firms, including Universities, NGOs and community-based organisations. The entities that participate in a cluster project can be from one or multiple nations.

4. What are the eligibility criteria?

The eligibility criteria are as follows:

(i) Applicants must be private formally registered companies or business chambers or associations.

(ii) They must be located in the territory of the countries of the Caribbean

(iii) They must have been operating during the past year (12 months).

(iv) They may not have enforceable tax or benefits debt.

(v) The applicant must present documentation accrediting its legal status and validity.

(vi) The applicant must formally apply to the Program using the procedures and forms specified by the latter.

(vii) The applicant must present all required documentation.

(viii) They must submit a written letter expressing their commitment to finance the business contribution and accept the financial conditions of the contributions.

(ix) They must be willing to draft the contracts required by the Program.

(x) They must be willing to provide all information required by the Program for its monitoring activities and the close of projects as well as the evaluation of results and impact and audits that are carried out by the Program administration or parties assigned to said task.

(xi) Any additional non-refundable support to be received by the partners in the project must have been stated prior to the signing of an agreement with CC and agreed as a part of the CCIP.

5. What can and cannot be funded through the program?

The following activities can be financed by the Program:

(i) Organizational and/or institutionalization of clusters, including:
– Coordinating their formation
– Legal advice regarding the creation of the alliance
– The process of hiring an alliance manager

(ii) Expenses associated with the operation of a management unit for the cluster:
– Remunerations
– Office rental
– Purchase of basic equipment (furniture, computers, telephony, etc.)
– Basic services (water, telephone, light, electricity, mail, etc.)
– Staff travel expenses

(iii) Specialized consultancies, advising services and studies

(iv) Technical assistance and training in areas such as:
– Process and product development
– Improvement of quality and design of products and services
– Improvement in commercial, financial, environmental and strategic management
– Assessment and implementation of quality systems
– Access to markets and market intelligence, including attending international fairs and participation in international missions

(v) Attending fairs, expos, workshops and fora

(vi) Legal expenses associated with the project

(vii) Shipping and importing of samples

(viii) Acquisition of books and specialized journals

(ix) Generation of knowledge

The following activities may not be financed through the Program:

(i) Payment of companies’ debts and taxes

(ii) Operating expenses

(iii) Working capital for the operation of the companies

(iv) Activities that the applicant regularly implements with its providers.

Additionally, the CCPF does not grant funding for projects or companies involved in the production, trade or use of products, substances or activities set forth in the list below:

1. Those that are illegal according to the laws and regulations of the host country, or pursuant to international conventions and treaties ratified by this

2. Weapons and ammunition

3. Tobacco & Alcohol

4. Gambling, casinos and equivalent companies

5. Animals and wild plants or products derived from them are regulated in accordance with the convention on international trade in endangered species of wild flora and fauna (cites)

6. Radioactive materials

7. Not caked asbestos fibres

8. Projects or forestry operations that are not consistent with the environmental policy and observance of safeguards of the bank (document gn-2208-20)

9. Compounds of bifenilopoliclorado (pcbs)

10. Pharmaceuticals products subject to phase-out or international ban

11. Pesticides and herbicides subject to phase-out or international ban

12. Ozone-depleting substances subject to phasing out or international ban

13. Fishing in the maritime environment with drag nets exceeding 2.5 km in length.

14. Transboundary movements of waste and waste products except non-toxic waste intended for recycling

15. Persistent organic pollutants

16. Breach of the fundamental principles of workers and rights at work

6. What is the timeline?


5 Sept. 2017Announcement – Call for cluster proposals

8 Sept. 2017Email to express interest in the Q&A session and receive the link/calling instructions

13 Sept. 2017 11am-noonQuestions and Answers (Q&A) session on the application and selection process.

15 Sept. 2017Email to express interest in receiving constructive feedback on your application and receive the email of the independent consultant.
Note: The purpose is to increase the quality of proposals received. This process will not affect the competitive process for selecting the projects to be financed.

2-20 Oct. 2017One-on-one feedback process between the consultant(s) and the clusters applying.

31 Oct. before midnightProject Concept Note (PCN) of maximum 5-pages submitted online with the information required, along with four appendices:
1. Cluster Project Details (objectives and activities)
2. Cluster member details
3. Signed Letter of commitment
4. Evidence of legal status of the lead institution
Optional information can include:
– A 5-minute video pitch for your project with the most important details about the product or process, its potential for export and it impact on your country.
– A Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis or other relevant information.

15 Nov. 2017Announcement of short-listed projects. Additional information may be requested as part of the due diligence process.

20-30 Nov. (TBD)Investment Panel. Live presentation before a panel of independent and diverse judges expert in private sector or economic development.

Dec. 2017Announcement of selected projects for funding, subject to compliant delivery of the Cluster Capacity Improvement Plan, partnership agreement, counterpart financing, etc.

Jan. 2018Contracting agreement.

Feb-April 2018Development of the Cluster Capacity Improvement Plan (CCIP) with the support of a dedicated consultant.

April – …Implementation

May 2020Closing

7. What is an anchor firm of a lead institution?

Eligible anchor organisations include cluster management offices, destination management offices, industry associations, trade and investment authorities; regional association organisations; small business development centers; NGOs and universities.

8. I am a service based entity (tourism, music, creative industries, etc), would I qualify for support?

Yes. According to the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), the modes of supply for international services include the below four modes:

(1) Cross-border supply: services flows from the territory of one country into the territory of another country (i.e. banking, architectural services transmitted by ICT or mail; charges for the use of intellectual property)

(2) Consumption abroad: refers to situations where a service consumer (i.e. tourist or patient) moves into another country’s territory to obtain a service

(3) Commercial presence: a service supplier of one country establishes territorial presence in another country to provide a service

(4) Presence of Natural Persons: persons of one country entering the territory of another country to supply a service (i.e. accountants, doctors, teachers, musicians performing live in another country, etc.)

9. What is the value of the grant being offered by the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility (CCPF)?

The maximum amount funded by CCPF is USD$400,000. 20% (minimum) of the total budget for the Cluster Capacity Improvement Plan (CCIP) must be financed by the firms in the cluster – half of which can be provided in kind. For example:

Total CCIP budget:USD$500,000

Amount funded by CCPF:USD$400,000

Cash contributed by the cluster:USD$50,000

Estimated value of contribution by the cluster in kind (eg: staff time, vehicle, etc.):USD$50,000

Project Name:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Clusters


1. What is a Cluster?


IDB defines a cluster as “A productive agglomeration aiming at exploiting local linkages to generate and strengthen competitive advantages” (Pietrobelli and Stevenson 2011).

Michael Porter defines a cluster as a “A geographically proximate group of interconnected companies and associated institutions in a particular field, linked by commonalities and complementarities” (Porter 1998).

The image below illustrates the different stakeholders involved in an Agri-business cluster.

Source: World Bank’s Practical Guide – Clusters for Competitiveness

2. What is a Cluster Initiative or Project?

Cluster initiatives foster collaboration and sophistication of diverse stakeholders in a value chain. They also support organisations such as regulatory bodies, quality standards, academic and training institutions, research and testing centres, economic development organisations, etc.
According to the World Bank, “A cluster initiative offers a comprehensive assessment of a cluster’s markets, products, linkages, externalities, and synergies to help identify regulatory and business constraints, tap new and wider market opportunities, and develop sound business strategies to tackle its main competitors. Strategic initiatives vary by country and cluster, but often focus on improving market Information, workforce development, supply chain improvements, quality standards, branding, forward integration, and process improvements.”


3. What is the purpose of a Cluster initiative?

The main purpose of cluster project is to drive PRODUCTIVITY and INNOVATION over time, which are driven by a great mix of cooperation and competition at the micro level. More specifically, the objectives tend to focus on:

  1. Joint marketing and regional/national co-branding to access larger markets and more value per customer
  2. Solving coordination problems
  3. Establishing relationships with government and partners
  4. Training – co-investing in human capital
  5. Research and Development (R&D)


4. What are the benefits of cluster initiatives?

The value of clustering for the Caribbean’s small and medium private sector organisations lies in the opportunity to become more competitive through cost savings, cost sharing, co-branding and innovation. The combined efforts of networking and strategic alliances can lead to a stronger international profile.
Cluster initiatives contribute to comprehensive national competitiveness efforts that include policy reform, trade capacity building, a private-public dialogue, regional economic development, workforce development, etc.

Ultimately, business clusters generate employment and revenues. Clustering is proven to help upgrade the sophistication of diverse stakeholders involved in a cluster such as suppliers, wholesalers, regulatory bodies, government/NGOs, as well as university and training institutions. Overtime, collaborative approaches in business development, applied research, ICT, and R&D foster the relationship between the alignment of the supply with the needs of the private sector, which in turn drives innovation and productivity at the country level.

Other benefits include:

  1. The multiplication of economic growth through spillovers: the diverse and disperse activities in the value chain used to reduce risk, access cheaper inputs, or better serve particular regional markets.
  2. Enables countries to shift policies from cost cutting (tax incentives / subsidies) to promoting growth and innovation.



  • Access to specialized human resources and suppliers,
  • Improve quality and productivity
  • Workforce development
  • Knowledge spillovers as a result of collaboration and networking with diverse stakeholders
  • Innovative products/services or processes (better ways of doing same or different things)
  • Costs reduction and operational efficiency
  • Risks mitigation
  • Performance improvement due to international or competitive pressures
  • Supply chain improvements/ Reduction or elimination of bottle-necks in the eco-system
  • Improvement of market information and access to larger markets
  • Branding and market penetration (new or diversification)
  • Access to research & development (R&D)

“Through dialogues at the cluster level, new partnerships can be forged between cluster leaders and various public sector organizations (e.g., organizations working on industrial development, infrastructure development, research, innovation and training, etc.) that can help expedite policy reforms. Better coordination between the public and private sectors on addressing productivity bottlenecks.”



  • Improve competitiveness on the global market
  • Enable countries to shift policies from cost cutting (tax incentives / subsidies) to promoting growth and innovation
  • Increased exports (more foreign exchange obtained domestically from tourists/expats or abroad)
  • Sustained market-oriented reforms
  • Multiply economic growth beyond the cluster through its linkages, externalities, and synergies
  • Higher value/quality standards adopted
  • More effective policy and regulatory environment
  • Faster technology adoption
  • More investment in research & development from the private firms
  • Innovation and competitiveness

“A cluster-based approach is a realistic way to identify the policy and institutional impediments to competitiveness and can be an effective vehicle for catalyzing reform. The growth of a cluster is often the catalyst for complementary development in areas such as the provision of specialized infrastructure and additions to the country’s technology and knowledge base. It also may result in the foundation and expansion of training and science institutions, and agencies for export promotion, setting standards and regulations, etc.”



  • Better coordination enables the identification of value-added services leading to the creation of more and better jobs
  • Obtain better understanding of the economic reform agenda
  • Access to educational and training programs that are more aligned with market demand
  • Greater quality of products and services available

5. What are the key success factors for effective clustering?

Based on to a survey of 500 clusters worldwide described in the The Cluster Initiative Greenbook, some trends can be identified:

  1. It is of vital importance that stakeholders reach a consensus on top priorities for the cluster to grow, based on a SWOT analysis
  2. Cluster Initiatives (CIs) can be initiated and funded by the government, industry or both
  3. CIs are selected through a competition process perform significantly better on the international level
  4. CIs have 10 active members or more
  5. The members are self-selected (not picked by government)
  6. CIs limited to domestic companies tend to perform worse than those not limited
  7. CIs have a dedicated facilitator and budget funded by cluster members
  8. Companies remain the decision makers and most influential parties, even if the CI is funded or facilitated by the government/NGOs
  9. Adequate time and effort must be allocated to building a framework of shared ideas about why the CI is beneficial and how it operates
  10. Failure is strongly related to a lack of consensus, highlighting the importance of the credibility and skills of the facilitator
  11. CIs must have a M&E system with performance indicators to track both progress and impact of activities over time

The most successful clusters are important in terms of job creation or foreign exchange and in time become a priority for economic development at the national (and almost always regional) level.


6. Where can I get more information on clusters and cluster initiatives?

7. What are some examples of cluster initiatives in the region?

Examples of successful export oriented clusters that benefited from Compete Caribbean support in 2016:

8. Which types of organisations are involved in a cluster?

A cluster initiative usually starts as a network of firms and support organizations in a territory with a common goal. In addition to the firms, other stakeholders may include:

  • academic and training institutions
  • institutions involved in research and testing
  • regulatory bodies
  • institutions that develop or monitor quality standards
  • economic development agencies and NGOs
  • investment promotion agencies
  • sector associations

9. What are the three types of clusters?

  • See application form for anwers

Project Name:
Building Institutional Capacity for Strengthening Business Clusters; Call for Applications Extended to September 15th, 2017

If your mandate is to foster the productivity and growth of micro, small, or medium enterprises (MSMEs), you may be interested in supporting business clusters. The purpose of clustering initiatives is to encourage collaborative actions to improve the competitiveness of a sector or industry.

Eligible Countries

  • Antigua & Barbuda;
  • Belize;
  • Dominica;
  • Grenada;
  • Guyana;
  • Jamaica;
  • St. Kitts & Nevis;
  • St. Lucia;
  • St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

Eligible countries may access the application package here (Download; 1 Document)