Intellectual Property Guidelines and Financial Planning for Entrepreneurs

Intellectual Property Guidelines and Financial Planning for Entrepreneurs

The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute’s (CARIRI’s) Centre for Enterprise Development (CED), Innovation Avenue, Freeport facilitated the hosting, by the Council for Competitiveness and Innovation (CCI), a Workshop for grant beneficiaries of the i2i (idea2innovation) Programme on Friday June 26, 2015. The Workshop focused on Intellectual Property (IP) related issues as well as financial planning. The Workshop was attended by approximately twenty five beneficiaries and they were very much appreciative of the information that they received that would assist them in moving forward in their projects, from concept to proof of business.


The attendees were provided with information on financial planning tools, guidelines on documentation and prudent financial practices. A panel discussion on the Ins and Outs of Intellectual Property in Business was done and this discussion proved to be a rewarding one as it was very interactive. The panel comprised Ashmeer Mohammed (KC Confectionery), Leandro Mohammed (i2i awardee), Shiveta Sooknanan and Richard Aching (IP Office). The panel discussion highlighted and honed in on the need for entrepreneurs to invest in their own ideas.


Entrepreneurs were given guidelines on protection of their ideas, appropriate IP instruments and the need for protection in different geographical locations. Further guidelines on ideas that can be protected and the process involved in applying for protection were also discussed.


Part of this workshop also involved two entrepreneurs presenting business models related to social entrepreneurship. Ms Asiya Mohammed, one of the present i2i beneficiaries, is developing a business which provides training and employment to victims of domestic abuse and Ms Jennifer Raffoul is developing an online web presence where small, local entrepreneurs can sell their indigenous goods internationally.


i2i is a programme through which persons with innovative ideas for projects with potential for business start up/expansion are invited to submit their ideas for screening for an opportunity to secure grant funding and technical support to move those ideas to the proof of concept stage. It is an initiative of the Council for Competitiveness and Innovation (CCI), which falls under the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable and is charged with advancing the Government’s Innovation and Competitiveness agenda.


CARIRI is the technical partner for the i2i programme. The Institute is tasked with overseeing project development activities of awardees during the year long programme towards achieving proof of concept. CARIRI serves as the primary point of contact for awardees, with activities co-ordinated out of its Centre for Enterprise Development in Freeport.



Moving Into the Future with ICT

Moving Into the Future with ICT

L-R: Mr Liaquat Ali Shah, CEO of CARIRI, Mr Richie Sookhai, President of the Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce, His Worship the Mayor of Chaguanas, Mr Gopaul Boodhan, Mr Vishnu Charran, Board member of Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce


The development of the Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector constitutes an integral part of the mandate of the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) which is to enhance industrial capability and competitiveness, both locally and regionally, by providing a range of technical and technology-based support services to a plethora of organizations.


As part of its ongoing efforts to build capacity in ICT, the Institute, in collaboration with some of its valuable partners like the Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce hosted a session on Wednesday 25th May 2016 that highlighted the need to utilize ICT in the ‘new’ economy.  This session showcased software that can be accessed by many Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country.    


CARIRI recognizes ICT critical areas of deficiency at the micro-economic level such as technological readiness, business sophistication, innovation and the relative underutilization of ICT by the business sector. Because of this, an InterAmerican Development Bank project was launched with the aim of improving performance of SMEs through the application of ICT a few years ago and thus far, with CARIRI as the executing arm of this project, was able to reach over 450 SMEs in a variety of sectors.


CARIRI understands the potential of the non-energy manufacturing and services sector which are dominant within the country and significantly contribute substantially to economic growth and development. As part of our mandate we build technological capability and enhance operational efficiency among SMEs through secured financial support from the Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF).  Some of these include Electronic Health Record software called CARIMed as well as CARIRI’s Point of Sales Software, these are just two examples of what CARIRI has been doing in the field of ICT over the last couple of years. 


At the session entitled ‘Moving into the Future with ICT’, Chief Executive Officer of CARIRI, Mr Liaquat Ali Shah said “small businesses are very important to most economies generating significant wealth and employment.  Competitiveness and innovation go hand in hand, for companies to grow and to continue to be successful, innovation is critical.  There is the ever pressing need for relevant stakeholders to understand innovation in small businesses particularly in terms of ICT implementation and use in order to plan how to survive in today’s economic climate and to expand in the future.’


Ms Vashtie Dookiesingh, Multilateral Investment Fund Specialist at the InterAmerican Bank commended CARIRI on a job well done as the executing agent of the project. She stated that the overall objective of the project was to improve the business performance and competitiveness of businesses in the target sectors, which was expanded to include virtually all sectors in the country and that CARIRI had done an impressive job thus far by reaching out to the companies with potential for ICT implementation. 


Mr Richie Sookhai, President of the Chagaunas Chamber of Industry and Commerce also gave some remarks to the audience gathered at the Centre for Enterprise Development, Freeport.  Mr Sookhai, also a business owner, also spoke about how ICT can be utilized to ensure that businesses succeed in a global environment.  He also spoke about the use of technology in the fight against crime and asked some very pertinent questions about how effective we are at using the data that is available. 


At the session, members of the audience were treated to the new software built in-house at CARIRI to satisfy the demand for more personalized software.  A very active question and answer segment took place as members of the audience, many of them small business owners, had numerous questions for the team. 


At the end of the programme, the audience was invited to sign up for a free diagnostic, in which the team would go in to the business and determine what ICT tools would be able to assist the business to operate more efficiently and they would suggest implementations which normally range from social media to accounting systems to inventory management systems depending on the needs of the business.   


For more information, please email us at or call us at 299-0210 ext 5048


New Service Alert from CARIRI

New Service Alert from CARIRI

On Thursday 7th July 2016, the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) launched a new initiative, an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Help Desk for Micro Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) called CARISupport. 


Born out of an InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB) project that CARIRI has been executing for the past four years which involved MSMEs, CARIRI saw the need to provide a service such as this.  The overall objective of the IDB project was to improve the business performance and competitiveness of small businesses in the target sectors of Food and Beverage and Printing, Plastics and Packaging initially, and was later expanded to include virtually all sectors in the country.


After working with various MSMEs over the last few years, CARIRI recognized that there was a need to offer practical support and advice to these businesses, hence the creation of this Helpdesk.


CARIRI’s CARISupport is a one of a kind helpdesk meant to provide quality ICT support to MSMEs that do not have full access to an in-house team that is skilled or experienced in ICT.  ICT can be challenging for those who do not have that expertise or the time or finances to invest in this particular area.  This is where CARISupport sees itself making a difference by providing the necessary proficiency to support these MSMEs so that they can concentrate on growing their businesses by using technology. 


In a global economy, the only way to effectively compete is to use the technology that is available to extend your brand nationally, regionally and internationally.  CARIRI believes that the MSMEs in the country have a lot of potential to reach a larger audience with the proper use of ICT.     


CARISupport is an outsourced facility that will provide unlimited support with quarterly maintenance checks and on-call services for MSMEs that recognize the importance of staying up to date with the latest technologies or for those businesses that just need the support of experts but do not necessarily want to hire full time staff. 


An integral part of CARIRI’s mandate is to enhance business capability and competitiveness by providing a range of technical and technology-based support services to a number of organizations. 


CARISupport offers a flexible subscription to MSMEs, and some of the features include: ICT support (telesupport), callouts where the CARIRI staff would visit to determine the issue if it cannot be solved remotely and a live chat to help you with your issues. 


There are various packages that are being offered so that the MSME can pick the one that is most convenient and affordable to them. 


CARISupport is Your IT Solution Provider, contact us today at 299-0209 ext 2680 or email us at and find out how we can help you grow your business with ICT. 


Our Information and Communication Technologies In Health and Wellness Seminar

Our Information and Communication Technologies In Health and Wellness Seminar

The fusion of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the health sector can give people confidence in the monitoring of their own health while providing necessary support by their health care providers. This was the overall message provided by the “Information and Communication Technologies in Health and Wellness” seminar hosted by the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) on Sunday 18th January 2015 at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre.


The session was well attended and saw over 100 professionals in the Health and Wellness Sector discuss opportunities to have a greater involvement of ICT in their field. Senator the Honourable Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie, Minister in the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development spoke about ways that the health sector can improve by use of ICT. Minister Tewarie said one of the important things about this venture was that it could be used to empower the patient and make him or her less vulnerable, thereby giving the patient a measure of control of their health and well being.


Mr Ahmed Albaiti, Managing Partner and CEO of Medullan, a company that is singularly focused on digital health innovation, said that without data information, health professionals cannot make better decisions. Some of the projects that Medullan has worked on include cloud security and MHealth as well as mobile prescription management. These are some of the areas that can be introduced into the T&T health sector.


Professor Paul Teelucksingh, Professor of Medicine at UWI, gave a unique presentation about a locally developed app called HiPTT (Hyperglycemia in Pregnancy Trinidad and Tobago). HiPTT will facilitate a system of data logging, analysis, visualization, archiving and communications necessary to provide efficient and effective support for women prior to, during and after pregnancy. It is motivated by the compelling evidence that Hyperglycemia in Pregnancy is associated with maternal mortality, fetal malformation, a high burden of medical complications, over-loading of the public health system and high economic costs to the population.


Speakers from LiteKey Antillean, another innovative company that works with the Health and Wellness sector, also gave promising details about programmes and software that can be used in the T&T market, such as Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Patient Health Records (PHR).


Mr Vishal Ramnarine of Microsoft, which is a partner of CARIRI, spoke about a specific programme called Microsoft Healthvault, which helps you gather, store, use, and share health information for you and your family. This programme allows you to better organize your health information, be better prepared for doctor visits and unexpected emergencies, achieve fitness goals and so much more.


The Health and Wellness Sector is the newest addition to the IDB project which is executed by CARIRI and funded by the IDB. The aim of the project is to improve the business performance and competitiveness of Small and Medium sized Enterprises in Trinidad and Tobago in the Health and Wellness Sector to enable them to more effectively meet the competitive challenges of a liberalized marketplace.


To achieve its goals, the project has three key components: Sensitisation of SMEs in the Health and Wellness Sector (this phase is designed to build awareness of the business benefits of ICT for SMEs), Diagnostic Scoping Studies (this is an assessment of the current status of ICT use in individual businesses to identify opportunities and challenges in adopting ICT )and the Intervention Programme (this involves the design and implementation of ICT solutions in select enterprises from among the participants of the diagnostic scoping studies programme.)


The Business Hatchery Studio

On August 27th 2015, CARIRI’s Business Hatchery held its first eStudio session at the Centre For Enterprise Development (CED), Innovation Ave, Freeport. eStudio is an informative networking session that saw the Hatchery Alumni come together to share their experiences and thoughts, while hearing about the realities of being in business from a seasoned entrepreneur.


In his opening remarks, Mr. Liaquat Ali Shah, Chief Executive Officer of CARIRI suggested that change is the objective of the CED and the Business Hatchery programme. The Hatchery eStudio session is set up to address issues that affect SMEs such as ineffective Cash Flow and other deficiencies that cause failure. Mr. Shah stated that “the CED is an apogee for and a hub in technology transfer because CARIRI has identified the issues of struggling SMEs and developing these SMEs is a start of that ultimate economical upliftment.”


Mr Michael Gordon, Manager of the Enterprise Development Division, Ministry of Labour and Small and Micro Enterprise Development explained that the Ministry developed a philosophy in providing recourses and support to SMEs. He also mentioned failure is all part of the process to success. He stated that entrepreneurs are afraid of failure and as a result they are reluctant to broaden the production and manufacturing capacity of their business. Mr. Gordon stressed that failure is not a negative but rather a positive, in that it makes an entrepreneur better equipped to handle a given task. Failure is one of the setbacks to innovation but if we embrace it, we can then overcome it.


CARIRI/CED also presented its fairly new service the Idea Advisory Service (IAS). Mr. Miguel Andrews of CARIRI and the coordinator of this service explained that this is set up to help anyone that has an idea and wants to move forward into developing stages. The IAS verifies the idea by carrying it through different stages basically “stress testing” its capability in its given target market. Mr. Andrews said that distribution networks were important and having an open innovation technique as an entrepreneur will make it easier to spot a marketable invention and then commence in commercializing the invention. The IAS is not only about the proof of concept but more so it is about the proof of business.


Our main speaker was the ever-enthusiastic and very intriguing, Mr. Thomas Johnson, who is a successful entrepreneur coming out of Trinidad and Tobago. He gave first hand insights as to the processes he used to get his business off the ground and the lessons he learnt at various stages of his journey. Character development was the first issue he discussed, stating that everyone must grow as a person in order to grow a business. He also mentioned the importance of having a plan and the different steps in executing the plan. He stressed on employee treatment and what makes workers stay and what makes them go and showed that it was not only about the remuneration but the humanitarian values and environment a person is placed to work.


Understanding how your sector is doing in your country is an integral part of having good marketability and in keeping with sustainable development. This was one of his main stresses and suggested that this is where innovation comes in by trying to create a market advantage for yourself.


The eStudio session was one way of connecting the dots for the Hatchery participants. As Mr. Shah quoted, “Differentiate or Die” using this as the metaphor for increasing innovative capacity in SME’s in Trinidad and Tobago. The eStudio gave some insights into having a passion and making it a reality one step at a time.


The CED was developed to be the innovative hub for Trinidad and Tobago and continues to work smarter into broadening the minds by effective training and shared experiences and as Mr. Shah said, “One person is not an island, but a group of people sharing ideas can create change.”



The Fulfillment Session 1

The Fulfillment Session

On Tuesday 7th October 2014, three months after they began, the participants of CARIRI-CED’s Business Hatchery programme had their fulfilment session.  This means that they all now have proof of concept and proof of marketability going forward with their new ventures.


This programme took the participants through various stages of development. The first activity involved completing a Base Case Analysis to determine the current status of each client and identifying gaps that needed to be addressed. The second activity was a market research project which was designed to test the potential market acceptance and viability of the clients’ product/service prototype/concept. The third activity required each client to develop a set of three year financial projections. The final activity focused on developing a comprehensive business plan that could be used to set up a business after the completion of the programme. Each client had their final plan critiqued by a professional panel in the last week of the programme.


The fulfilment session allowed the participants to give feedback on the programme and all of them had overwhelmingly good things to say.  Support from the CARIRI-CED team was one of the most consistent comments from the participants.  Most of them also said that having to do the pitch sessions was much appreciated since it helped to solidify and concretise their ideas. 


CEO of CARIRI, Mr Liaquat Ali Shah addressed the group and praised them on the progress they  made during the programme.  He told them that they all had the potential to be PLEs (Promising Large Enterprises) but they needed to make innovation a part of their process.  He also went on to state that Inclusive Innovation is what is needed, where you do ‘more for less for more’. 


Ms Aura Watson Bereaux, coordinator of the programme detailed the next steps for participants which included moving on to the CED’s Business incubator for a one year period, where a range of services are offered; after which they can then move on to the Business Accelerator, which can help them take their enterprise forward in a swift timeframe of one to three months. 


Overall, participants expressed their satisfaction with the programme and threw their support behind future sessions like it.  


The Fulfillment Session 2

The Fulfillment Session 2

On Wednesday 3rd June, 2015, CARIRI’s Business Hatchery at the Centre for Enterprise Development (CED), Freeport held its Fulfilment Ceremony for Cycle #2. It was an energetic audience who were ready to take on new challenges after their three-month long programme.


The Business Hatchery Cycle #2 programme saw participants from a range of industries and diverse enterprises who passed through a rigorous selection process to secure a spot in this innovative programme.


Ms Sherese Chee Mook, the Business Hatchery Programme Consultant spoke about ‘grit’, which is something you cannot achieve success without, as it was more related to effort and perseverance. Ms Chee Mook encouraged the participants to be the entrepreneurs they wanted to see in Trinidad and Tobago.


Participants in the programme also had the opportunity to give valuable feedback to the team on ways to improve the overall experience; it was here that most of the participants highlighted the motivational encouragement provided by the team. Some of the participants mentioned that being a part of this programme allowed them to be more open to change and to be more strategic in their thinking. One of the participants even stated that you must be able to recognise your strengths and your weaknesses before you can truly impact your environment.


CEO of CARIRI-CED, Mr Liaquat Ali Shah, spoke about turning dreams into ideas and those ideas into a reality by implementing creativity, which by CARIRI’s definition is Innovation. Mr Shah also highlighted Inclusive Innovation, which is “more for less (effort) for more (people/markets)”.   He stressed that it was all about service quality and that providing this would allow even small business to become more competitive.


The Business Hatchery is a three-month long initiative that engages the participant from the moment they enter the programme. They receive support in getting their idea to proof of business, which means that they are building the foundation of their entrepreneurial ventures. Participants in the programme go through a series of workshops, seminars, coaching sessions, and various other initiatives, which all culminate in a pitch to a panel of experienced entrepreneurs and business owners. At the end of the programme, participants can expect to leave with a fully functional business plan and a solid foundation to either venture out on their own, or become a part of the CARIRI Business Incubator.


The Business Hatchery has just started Cycle #3 and already has generated much enthusiasm among the participants who can now call on their peers from Cycle #2 as the Business Hatchery has also started an Alumni to encourage networking and support for entrepreneurs in Trinidad and Tobago after they leave the programme.


For more information on the CARIRI Business Incubator, please contact us at 299-0209 ext 2676 or email us at or you can visit our website at