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Jamaica’s Tourism Fund Provides Support Through Innovation Incubator

Jamaica’s Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) launched the Tourism Innovation Incubator last week, with a goal of supporting the nation’s tourism sector, according to a press release.

Minister of tourism Edmund Bartlett stated that the program was created to foster new and start-up tourism businesses that will offer creative products and ideas to power the Blue Ocean Strategy and boost the sector’s competitiveness, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

“This initiative targets young enterprising minds, for whom there are tremendous opportunities for jobs, creative products, and innovative ideas in tourism and hospitality,” commented Bartlett.

He also mentioned that the Blue Ocean Strategy gives Jamaica a competitive advantage by providing visitors with an experience or product that they can only get in Jamaica. The primary focus will be on developing and promoting authentically Jamaican items, maximizing cultural and historical authenticity.

TEF’s Research and Risk Management Department (RRMD) partnered with the University of Technology/Technology Innovation Center and the Founder Institute to launch an Innovation Challenge as a pilot of the core Tourism Innovation Incubator process as part of the program.

The Tourism Incubator will seek out 25 innovative ideas before putting the potential entrepreneurs who came up with these concepts through a challenge akin to Shark Tank on cable TV.

“The selection of the ideas is being done by a committee of members from TEF and the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), and in addition to being tourism products or representing technology in tourism, each idea must be an innovation or invention that will add value and must be significant to the tourism industry,” added Bartlett.

Applicants must be Jamaican citizens who have lived in the country for the last 3-5 years and be 18 years or older by the submission deadline. Following the final selection of candidates, the incubator will provide a variety of services, including workshops to help participants refine their ideas, research support, pitch delivery training, as well as opportunities for mentorship and networking.

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