TIV pioneers the development of a landmark start-up and entrepreneurship facility through the “Caribbean Regional Entrepreneurial Asset Commercialization HUB” (REACH)

In a multi-year effort under the Regional Public Goods (RPGs) initiative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), TIV CEO, Ravi Gupta, and former Lead Innovation Specialist at IADB, Dr. Ignacio De Leon, spearheaded a project to foster an entrepreneurship and start-up center in the Caribbean. The regional facility, the “Caribbean Regional Entrepreneurial Asset Commercialization HUB” (REACH), was designed to sow the seeds of competitive and innovative ventures, with invaluable spillover effects and shared benefits for the region. Furthermore, integrated into the design of REACH was a center for Intellectual Property (IP) Management, an unprecedented source for IP protection and monetization in the Caribbean.

The most substantial activity of REACH was the “Design, Development and Implementation of a Pipeline of Innovative and Sustainable Ventures in the Caribbean” for which IADB hired TIV to execute the project within the REACH program framework. The engagement was: to scout for, evaluate, and support/mentor a selected number of high value, competitive ventures (SMEs/inventions/new tech-based firms) and make them bankable. As part of this initiative, TIV empaneled an evaluation committee comprised of industry experts (impact investors, researchers and venture capitalists) on the following evaluation criteria (not exhaustive).

  • Innovativeness of technology and established superiority over other options

  • Minimal development to pilot or demonstration/prototype stage                                   

  • Strong barriers to entry into the targeted market segment

  • A known and growing market for the product/clear distribution channels

  • An above average Return on Investment               

  • Known risk factors so that a risk mitigation strategy can be designed  

  • Potential for employment creation      

  • An achievable investment requirement with minimal debt

  • Meets the requirements of the venture/impact investment community

The highlight of the Pipeline project involved a “Shark Tank”-style pitching contest, with participation of the short-listed firms. The judging panel included the likes of prominent international investment bankers, such as Alan Beard of Interlink Capital and the US Commerce Department’s Trade Finance Advisory Council, in addition to a star of England’s Dragon’s Den. The competition concluded with a selection of winners, who received cash prizes and were enrolled in a mentorship program. The mentorship program involved competition winners working hand-in-hand with successful venture capitalists, investors; and embarking entrepreneurs towards a path of sustainability and profitability. In the years since its inception, the REACH program has served as a fertile ground for start-ups and small businesses in the Caribbean, fostering the development of entrepreneurs.

 

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