The University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus recently launched its inaugural Student Entrepreneurial Competition on Climate Change. 

The competition is scheduled to run from September 2020 to July 2021, and will see student teams competing at the national and regional levels in the two stages of the competition.

It was launched at a joint webinar between the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and The UWI Open Campus entitled: Investing in the Future: Business and Finance Professionals Can Tackle Climate Change

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The UWI Open Campus, Dr. Luz Longsworth in her remarks at the webinar indicated that The UWI has been a leader in the area of Sustainable Development Goal 13, which deals with climate change.

“And has for decades been at the forefront of climate research and advocacy that highlight the need for this issue to permeate not just the scientific community but all communities that need to survive,” she stated.

Dr. Longsworth also noted that “in order for leaders in 4.0 environments to address and mitigate the issues of climate change” there were five areas of which they needed to be aware: social responsibility; data driven decision-making, innovation – which was the key element of the future; leadership – thinking without any concept of a box; and creating talent champions – thinking of future leaders.

“The climate change competition is aimed at our youths and is challenging them to look at entrepreneurial solutions to climate change.  The future is now, and we as leaders must empower our young people to take us there,” Dr. Longsworth emphasised.

The goal of the competition is to provide useful educational and entrepreneurial experience focused on important real-world experiences.  It will focus on climate change and how the Caribbean can best adapt to, and mitigate resulting social, economic and environmental impacts.   It will seek to address short and longer term challenges in the region as a result of climate change. 

The Student Entrepreneurial Competition on Climate Change will serve as an important catalyst for environmental and social sustainability and business development throughout the Caribbean. (Stock Photo)

The competition will see student teams from The UWI campuses and other universities across the region, working together to submit their ideas in the form of proposals, business plans and concept papers on topics focused on current and projected climate change impacts on the Caribbean’s environmental, economic and societal sectors.

President of the Guild of Students, Leon Dawson, in endorsing the competition stated “as a student of The UWI Open Campus and a resident of the region, who depends so heavily on mother nature for survival, it is imperative for us to know and understand the importance of protecting the environment and to know how to reduce the threats of climate change”.

Dawson continued: “This competition will provide a platform for students to showcase their different instruments on ideas, such as policies, regulations, technological devices and financial incentives that are needed for climate change mitigation and adaptation.”

The Student Entrepreneurial Competition on Climate Change will serve as an important catalyst for environmental and social sustainability and business development throughout the Caribbean.  It will focus on environmental conservation and justice, country specific or regional policies and laws, innovative businesses to reduce carbon footprint, impactful communication and environmental education as well as urban and community resilience.

Teams will be awarded points based on impact, innovation, team dynamics, use of social media, viability and potential.  Monetary prizes will be awarded to the winning teams.

For information on how to participate in this competition, please visit www.open.uwi.edu/climate-change.  The deadline for entry is September 30, 2020.

melissa.rollock@barbados.gov.bb / UWI

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