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Get involved in AgriHack Talent Caribbean

Call for Expression of Interest - Attention Caribbean tech hubs & labs

August 7, 2014

The Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), in collaboration with institutions including the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and ConnectiMass will organise a Caribbean Initiative for ICT for Agriculture called Agrihack Talent Caribbean. Its main objective is to support the development of ICT innovations and entrepreneurship in agriculture by young people.

Private, public sector and nongovernement run innovation or entrepreneurship hubs/labs/communities (including university labs) are invited to express interest in being partners nominating and supporting teams to the finals of the Agrihack Talent Caribbean competition in Suriname.

Get involved in the AgriHack Talent Caribbean!

The Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), in collaboration with institutions including the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the InterAmerican Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture and ConnectiMass will organise a Caribbean Initiative for ICT for Agriculture called Agrihack Talent Caribbean. Its main objective is support the development of ICT innovations and entrepreneurship in agriculture by young people.

Private, public sector and nongovernment run innovation or entrepreneurship hubs/labs/communities (including university labs) are invited to express interest in being partners nominating and supporting teams to the finals of the Agrihack Talent Caribbean competition in Suriname.

1. Concept of the AgriHack Talent Caribbean (overview)

The Agrihack Talent Caribbean initiative is different. It begins with national hackathons or coding competitive selection events, staged by selected Caribbean Tech hubs/Innovation Labs and related institutions. Up to ten (10) Tech hubs/labs may be selected to organise hackathons or other competitive coding team selection events.
The winning teams from the national events will move on to the regional finals that will be held during the Caribbean Week of Agriculture to be held in Suriname in October 6th 124th, 2014. An incubation process will follow for winners to finetune their products and favor actual rollout. Promotional activities will also be undertaken for winners.

Prizes and Rewards
At the national level, winners of competitive selection processes will receive an incentive after the regional event. At the regional level, national winners (named "finalists") will compete for seed grants amounting to EUR 5,000, EUR 4,000 and EUR 3,000 for the first, second and third overall positions respectively. The hubs supporting the three regional winning teams will also receive a EUR 3,000 matching grant to undertake post competition incubation and business support to the winning teams for a period of 6 months. Interventions provided during the incubation period will include support to finalise development of winning solutions. The financial estimation of the direct benefits to be earned by the overall winner (cash, incubation and other rewards) is above 15, 000 EUR.

At the finals in Suriname, teams will receive coaching, mentorship and valuable feedback from players in the ICT and agriculture sector. This is in addition to time allocated for further development and refinement of their solutions. The finalists will also have the chance to network with participants of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture 2014 event in Suriname. This will offer opportunity for the developers of agriculture solution to better understand their customer needs and establish key industry and institutional connections.

One representative of the selected hub/lab that would have nominated the winning team will also attend that meeting. CTA will facilitate airline reservations, accommodation and local transport for two members of national winning teams, as well as for the representatives of the hubs for their stay in Suriname.

The judging panel for the final regional competition will be drawn from three domain expertise areas of agriculture, ICT and business. The judging criteria to be used at the final competition will be circulated to participating hubs in advance for use in nominating teams.

2. Challenges or Problem Sets

Challenges for the Agrihack Talent Caribbean competition will be in relation to: Market access to production, Knowledge and strategic information by farmers (eg. Soils weather, and pest management); Collaboration application for farmers; Climate change and water shortage issues; Market entry and penetration and Praedial larceny in the Caribbean. More details will be provided on the challenges/business opportunities for the competition following selection of the hubs. Teams of developers will select one of these challenges and develop their application to address it.

3. Expression of Interest: Partner Roles for Participating Hubs

ICT innovation labs, hubs and incubators are invited to express interest as partners to select and nominate teams that join the competition. The selected hubs will be invited to join CTA and its partners to collaborate in making the competition impactful. Upon expression of interest, they will use their preferred credible processes to competitively nominate one team for the competition. CTA and its organizing partner Connectimass, will provide technical guidance and support to selected hubs in coming up with their best teams. The hub may also collaborate with their local partners and sponsors in any framework they opt for, to make their nomination processes more competitive, fun and value adding.

Once the best team is nominated, the hub will advise them to select the best two representatives to travel to Suriname for the finals, in addition to one hub representative. The nominating hubs will also commit to provide guidance as well as technical and business support to the nominated team to improve their prospects of winning at the regional finals.

CTA will not provide financial resources for the organization of the selection event. The selected hubs will be recognized as partners coimplementing the initiative and this will be notably specified in key communication materials. Institutions targeted are those of which mission involves supporting young innovators or entrepreneurs and which (can/already) collaborate with communities of young developers. In addition, the hubs will have the potential of being one of the three hubs beneficiaries of the EUR 3,000 matching grant to support winning teams. They will also be involved in followup activities of the competitions.

4. Criteria for selecting partner Hubs/Labs

CTA and its organising partners will use the following criteria to select partners:

  • Organizations operating as tech hubs, incubators, labs or university communities in the following Caribbean ACP countries are eligible: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana.
  • Organizations with an existing form of business incubation or mentorship program for young entrepreneurs or tech startups;
  • Organizations with entrepreneur/developer communities of 15 individuals or more;
  • Qualifying partners must have a physical space to host winning teams for a minimum of 6 months throughout the post competition incubation period;
  • Qualifying partners must have at least one business coach or advisor to provide coaching and business advice to competing teams before and after the regional event.
  • A maximum of 2 hubs from the same country may be selected to nominate finalists depending on the strengths of their proposal; Up to twelve (10) tech hubs (irrespective of the countries) may be selected.
  • Qualifying organizations must be ready to organise by 04 September, 2014 one competitive process to nominate their best team to the regional finals;
  • English language will be used at the regional Finals and in communication with the organizers.

5. How to Apply

Organizations interested in being part of this AgriHack Talent Caribbean competition have to complete this application form: http://bit.ly/1ooH0b7

The deadline to express interest by filling out the form is August 12th 2014. The decisions made by CTA and its partners for the selection of hubs are final and beyond dispute. By responding to this call, all organizations accept this rule.

6. For more information

On technical management of the activity, write to ingrid@connectimass.com

For other questions, write to lohento@cta.int

For more information on the entire AgriHack Talent initiative and the experience previously held, check this blog http://hackathon.ict4ag.org