The final of the TEECA Caribbean Entrepreneurship Challenge was held on June 6 at the Domaine de la Pagerie in Martinique. President Alfred Marie-Jeanne awarded 19-year-old Saint Lucian Sophie Klein with the winning prize, a EUR 10,000 grant to develop her project “JOIE” which aims to transform the world of education by integrating virtual reality.
The TEECA Caribbean Entrepreneurship Challenge is organised by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Martinique in partnership with the Territorial Collectivity of Martinique, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Caribbean Export Development Agency, as part of the TEECA project.
The Caribbean Entrepreneurship Challenge aimed to sensitise youth on cooperation in the Caribbean; encourage young entrepreneurs to mobilise their skills to serve their country; and promote entrepreneurial innovation.
As a result, companies involved in the TEECA programme played a major role in mentoring all young participants.
Philippe Jock, President of the Chamber of Commerce of Martinique, opened the closing ceremony of the challenge by congratulating the five finalists.
“[You have] presented innovative projects which respond to the needs and concerns of people in the Caribbean,” Jock said.
Gayle Gallop, representative of the Caribbean Export Development Agency, highlighted the extraordinary opportunity that has been offered to these five Caribbean women.
For Ricardo James, OECS Technical Specialist for Export Development, some key lessons were learned during the months of competition.
“We have a lot of talent and passion among our young people and we must encourage those who take risks and reward those who have dared and succeeded,” James noted.
In his speech, President of the Collectivity of Martinique Alfred Marie-Jeanne confirmed the commitment of the Territorial Collectivity of Martinique to youth, education and the development of entrepreneurship and excellence. He also praised the work accomplished by the finalists.
“In a climate of crisis and doubt, these young entrepreneurs, by their determination, show the way forward,” President Marie-Jeanne stated.
The President concluded his speech by addressing the finalists, “These prizes are not a simple reward,” he said. “This is to encourage you all to pursue your efforts, to make your ideas fruitful according to your abilities and talents. You are promoters and drivers of our Caribbean continent.”