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Support to Clustering Initiatives

The objective of the Support to Clusters Window (SCI) is to enhance the competitiveness of the productive sector by supporting clusters and value chains to compete in regional and global markets. Clusters operating in or across the fifteen CARIFORUM states are eligible and invited to apply for funding of up to US$ 500,000 through the competitive bidding process of the Challenge Fund.

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Application, Assessment and Selection Process

The SCI Window operates in two funding stages:

Preparatory stage

The first stage is the submission of an initial application form or Project Concept Notewhere applicants have the chance to tell the program about their cluster and how Compete Caribbean can assist their cluster to develop. This is an opportunity to share the excitement and passion for the cluster and to convince Compete Caribbean about the viability of the project the cluster wants to implement. Here the cluster will signal its commitment to the initiative by providing counterpart financing of at least 20% of the cost of the project. The cluster can submit an application only when there is an announced call for proposals. Applicants will typically have two to three months to submit their proposals for consideration before the call closes. Shortly after the call closes, a specialized panel of experts will select the best applications based on the window’s selection criteria (see below). If the cluster is successful here, it will qualify for technical assistance in the form of a facilitator to work with the cluster to develop a Cluster Competitiveness Improvement Plan (CCIP).

Funding Stage

The second stage considers which of the projects from the clusters assisted in the first round would make the best investment for Compete Caribbean.

Once the CCIP is developed and approved by the cluster, applicants will be invited to submit the plan to Compete Caribbean for consideration for investment funding under the implementation phase. The CCIP must be presented using the program’s template and include a clear diagnostic of the cluster, an action plan and specific activities to improve the effectiveness and profitability of the cluster.

An Independent Investment Panel will review each CCIP and make a recommendation to the Program Executive Committee on the best cluster investments for the Program. Compete Caribbean will award grants of up to US$500,000 to finance the hiring of a specialized consultant(s) to manage and implement, together with the cluster participants, the specific activities identified in the CCIP.

Selection Criteria

Projects will be assessed and selected based on the following criteria:

  1. Degree of importance (existing/potential) to national/regional economies;
  2. Strength of the cluster’s linkages to global markets;
  3. Impact of the intervention;
  4. Coherency between the activities and budget required to achieve stated objectives;
  5. Strength of the cluster to carry out/ sustain collective action;
  6. Evidence of a platform/ mechanism for consensus building.
Learn the Process

How do we select our winners?

 

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