Tuesday, July 16, 2024

IDB and Compete Caribbean’s ‘Change Dah Story’ Social Innovation Challenge to fund three Belizean projects

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Three Belizean initiatives to benefit the future of vulnerable youth will receive up to US$10,000 each to accomplish their plans and turn them into practical business models. The winners were among the 15 teams that participated in the ‘Change Dah Story Social Innovation Challenge,’ commissioned by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility along with its partners. The challenge victors were announced via a virtual event on Compete Caribbean Facebook page on Saturday, June 6th, when all teams pitched their projects. The three teams selected are Animation Graphic Design Learning Center, Full Circle Belize, and Tribz.Eco/Kiyokayo Compass Center.

At 4PM on Saturday, each team had the opportunity to give their presentations virtually via the live broadcasting pitch hosted by an IDB representative. Judging each project was a panel of judges comprised of Dr. Cassandra Rogers – Belize Country Representative – InterAmerican Development Bank, Dr. Leroy Almendarez – Chief Executive Officer – Beltraide, Virgilio Murillo – Chief Executive Officer – Kolbe Foundation of the Belize Central Prison, Alisson Brown-Mackenzie – Director – Department of Youth Services, and Sonia Ceballos – Chief Technology Officer – Belize Telemedia Limited. The winning projects that captured the approval of the judges and promise to improve the future of the many Belizeans who feel hopeless and are becoming vulnerable to criminal activities.

One of the winners, Animation Graphic Design Learning Center, is an animation design social business model aiming to train young Belizeans on how to develop animated graphic content that generates income in both local and foreign export markets.

Full Circle Belize has an economical approach. It is an economic, social business model, which trains youth on how to operate a social and eco-friendly business that sells products. Some of these products would be furniture made entirely from recycled plastic.

Tribz.Eco/Kiyokayo Compass Center is a conservation-focused social business initiative aiming to build the capacities of vulnerable Belizean youth in Integrative Terrestrial Conservation and Exploration and Biodiversity Research of protected areas in the country.

Prior to the announcement of the three winners, the audience watching the live streaming of the event was given the opportunity to select their favorite pitch. The proposal from Ting Pay, a project focused on innovation, creativity, and customer-centricity, garnered 1,084 votes, winning the People’s Choice Award. They were awarded US$500, and they will also count with technical support.
The social innovation challenge sought to identify ideas and models related to issues of crime and violence in Belize and find a way to change their ‘story.’ The winning teams are expected to accomplish this goal with the funds awarded and the technical support the teams will count with.

The IDB announced this competition in October 2019. They partnered with Compete Caribbean, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, the Caribbean Development Bank, and the Government of Canada – in partnership with the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (Beltraide), and the Belize Department of Youth Services. A total of 77 proposals were received following the launching of the project via an online portal. After a thorough deliberation by panelists that utilized predefined criteria, 15 proposals were short-listed to participate in a four-week virtual Digital Boot camp that aimed at helping the finalists strengthen their social innovation business models and pitching skills.

The finalists shared social innovation experiences that inspired them and allowed them to better understand the limitations undermining youth’s fulfilment of their dreams in Belize. As time went by, the judges engaged in a two-part evaluation process to determine the feasibility of the initiatives in terms of innovation, social impact, and financial sustainability. Proposals submitted and evaluated prior to the pitch weighted 60% of the total score, and the live pitch session weighted 40%.

For more information about the three winners of the Change Dah Story Social Innovation Challenge, visit www.iadb.org/changedahstory. The San Pedro Sun congratulates the winners and wishes them the best in their endeavours.

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