Monday, November 15, 2021 — The inaugural OECS Island Ideas Challenge welcomed over 750 ideas from across the Caribbean in the areas of business, agriculture, technology, sustainable development and education.
Held as part of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Sustainable Development Movement (SDM) 2021, the Island Ideas Challenge sought to support regional development by providing an opportunity for Caribbean nationals around the world to secure up to $5,000 USD for a programme, event, project, or business idea.
Following a multi-phased and rigorous selection process – which included online voting and deliberations by a panel of experts – WePlanet, an environmentally conscious social enterprise based in the Commonwealth of Dominica, emerged as the winner.
WePlanet is an app developed by Eco-Defenders, an enthusiastic group of young women striving to protect and improve the natural environment in the Caribbean for present and future generations by making small positive changes. One of the first problems the WePlanet app tackles is the use of disposable plastic bags in supermarkets across the Commonwealth of Dominica. Through partnerships with businesses from small local vendors to regional companies, WePlanet provides rewards to consumers for shopping with reusable shopping bags through its loyalty points programme.
"WePlanet is more than just an initiative," the company said. "It seeks to build a more environmentally conscious society focusing on Sustainable Development Goals 12-15."
Online voting for the Island Ideas Challenge peaked at approximately 7,000 votes highlighting the people's choice for the top 20 regional ideas.
Lisa Taylor-Stone, Head of Development Cooperation at the OECS Commission, congratulated all participants in the inaugural Challenge, remarking specifically on the quality and diversity of the ideas submitted.
"We were blown away by the ingenuity and resilience of the Caribbean region. The judges had a difficult time selecting the top ideas and this is a testament to the level of planning and due diligence presented in the proposals."
The top four ideas selected by the OECS Panel of Judges were:
- Bee Natural Pollinator Garden & Training Centre: A personal care product enterprise that utilises locally produced beeswax.
- Orbtronics Digital Literacy Program: A digital skills programme that aims to increase the digital literacy of persons within the Caribbean Community and foster a culture of technological entrepreneurship.
- WePlanet: An eco-friendly mobile web application and social enterprise that rewards consumers for learning and making eco-friendly choices.
- Jaydees Naturals: A Waste Reduction enterprise providing package-free shampoo bars and an eco-friendly bottle refill depot.
Click the links above for more on the Challenge's top four ideas!
Learn more about the winning idea, WePlanet, in the video below:
About the OECS Sustainable Development Movement - SDM:
The OECS SDM is the largest event of its type, creating a common space, where over 10,600+ Development Partners, the Private Sector entrepreneurs and investors, Academia, Caribbean Governments, Civil Society, and individuals gather virtually to exchange thoughts and agitate action around innovative sustainable growth and development of Small Island Development States (SIDS).