Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 26th 2015 Contents The Government, through
the Council for Com-
petitiveness and Inno-
vation, has launched a
new programme that
aims to address some of
the country s social
problems by replicating
some of the ideas that have made the existing
i2i programme a success, says Dr Rikhi Per-
manand, executive director, Economic Devel-
opment Board/Council For Competitiveness.
The new programme, called Lumination
Challenge, will help serve as the social inno-
vation version to the business driven i2i pro-
gramme, which caters for people interested
in commercialising business ideas, said Per-
The Lumination Challenge will provide
funding for NGOs working on social issues,
"If you speak about innovation linked to
business that is much easier to understand.
The real difference is social innovation can
be about products, it can be about processes,
it can be about services, but it also has a
wider remit. It can be about justice or the
environment. The scope is wider. In a com-
mercial venture one is talking about pro-
ductivity, economic growth, and profit
redounding to a private individual. For a
social innovator, people think about NGOs
which are sponsored by sponsorships and
the Government," he told the Guardian two
He spoke about "social entrepreneurship."
"Today that does not have to be the case.
You can solve social problems and be an
entrepreneur. At the end of the day, social
entrepreneurship redounds to the benefit of
society and less to the bottomline profit of
an individual. That is the major distinction.
The world economic crisis and the collapse
of 2009 was driven by greed," he said.
He said an economy and society only driv-
en by the desire and personal greed could
lead to another economic collapse and so
there is the need to have a balance in soci-
"That crisis caused a lot of people to lose
their jobs. They were on the breadline. If
you look at philanthropy, the very big earners
in society---like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet
and many more people like them---are saying
they make money out of business and what
can they do to take some of that profit and
put it to work. It is not a gift; they actually
want to see their money work for society. It
is good that we are seeing balance coming
back," he said.
He spoke about the Lumination pro-
gramme that the Council for Competitiveness
launched in January which is based on this
line of thinking.
"It is a brand new programme and there
is no other programme like it in the country.
It is building off our experience with the i2i
programme. This programme looks at inno-
vative solutions to social issues. It is impor-
tant because if we look to economic devel-
opment it is more than just about the
economy, productivity and profit. It is about
social issues and the environment. A natural
move for us was moving from the i2i and
testing whether we can create the same kind
of awareness and stimulation of people in
the country to deal with the social issues.
That is really the crux of what this is about."
There are three areas they are testing and
working on as they get it off the ground.
"Those areas are youth, family and edu-
cation. We are saying for the first year let
us see what the kind of responses are. These
areas were chosen through discussion with
United Way Trinidad who are involved in
social programmes. We want to partner with
them in the same way Cariri has been a tech-
nical partner for the i2i programme," he said.
He said funds for the Lumination pro-
gramme would come from the Innovation
Financing Facility (IFF) which was used to
fund the i2i programme with $10 million in
its first year in 2012.
"We have allocated $3 million for the inau-
gural Lumination programme. We did that
on the basis of similar sorts of money for
the i2i. We do not expect social innovation
will have as many applicants as business i2i.
We are expecting roughly half of the number
of awards into it," he said.
He said the Council For Competitiveness
will not be responsible for the programmes
that will be generated as this will be done
by organisations already working in this area.
"We are saying that these three areas are
very important social areas to solve issues.
If you look at education the retention rate
of children in schools, the curricula, the
issues we have in schools today are drugs,
bullying, guns. That leads to crime. How do
you solve those issues? Family is a major
issue. The target audience for this is people
who are already working in the social sphere.
It is NGOs, it is youth and social workers.
But that does not preclude anybody who
thinks they can have an idea that is going
to solve some of these things to participate
in the programme."
He said the Council for Competitiveness
serves to facilitate the process.
"We throw out issues that need to be
solved and we are asking the target groups
working in this sphere of activity if they have
got ideas that, if they could get funding for
it, could move their agenda to help solve
their problems. We are funding and providing
the mentorship similar to i2i. People working
in the social areas do not necessarily have
the business skills. We also know that from
our discussions with United Way," he said.
So far, he said they have had 146 submis-
sions that are now being evaluated.
"The independent submission panel is a
different panel to the evaluation panel used
for i2i because the mix of people must be
different. The panel for the Lumination pro-
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt MARCH 2015 • WEEK FOUR
DR RIKHI PERMANAND
Economic Development Board
Council For Competitiveness.
PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
NGOs can take the
Funds for the Lumination programme would come from the Innovation Financing Facility
(IFF) which was used to fund the i2i programme with $10 million in its first year.
We have allocated $3 million for the inaugural Lumination programme.
Continued on Page 7
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