Shell LiveWIRE Trinidad and Tobago has held a panel discussion to explore entrepreneurial potential within key value chains, and to introduce the programme to industry leaders and entrepreneurs.

The discussion, titled “Exploring New Industries”, highlighted key opportunities for entrepreneurs within Shell LiveWIRE Trinidad and Tobago’s targeted industrial sectors, namely: agriculture and food processing; energy solutions; and, recycling and waste management.

Industry experts leading the discussions included: Dr Thackwray Driver, President of the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago; Agricultural Economist, Omardath Maharaj; Ronald Roach, CEO, Trinidad and Tobago Solid Waste Management Co; and, Racquel Moses, Country Manager, Microsoft.

Dr Driver highlighted the key role that renewables will play in the country’s energy transition, and the opportunities to use waste heat from the power generation sector, saying, “There’s a Trinidadian company that has implemented air conditioning systems for hotels in the Dominican Republic by using waste heat from power generation. They’re trying to do the same thing here, using waste heat from power stations for air conditioning and refrigeration, so opportunities exist for entrepreneurs in those areas.”

The opportunities for entrepreneurs in the prevention, minimisation, reuse and recycling of waste was explored by Ronald Roach. Creative reuse, which is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials and unwanted products into new materials and products of better quality or environmental value, was earmarked as a potential area for entrepreneurs to focus their efforts.

Underlining the importance of the agriculture sector, Omardath Maharaj said that agriculture is connected to, and relies on the country’s other economic sectors, and that this connectivity, enhancement of skills of those working in the sector and technological advances will strengthen its future.

Emphasising the role that digital technology can have in strengthening performance in each of the three sectors, Racquel Moses encouraged entrepreneurs to say ‘yes’ first, ‘reach’ and create solutions for their customers. She added that unique opportunities exist in digital transformation of the sectors to empower people, encompass inclusive design and build trust in technology.

The panel discussion concluded that there is huge potential in each of the sectors and both creativity, and support of this entrepreneurial creativity, are required to ensure a successful outcome.

Commenting on the outcome of the panel discussion, Leslie Bowrin, External Relations Advisor, SP, NTR and Stakeholder Relations, Shell Trinidad and Tobago, said, “The panel discussion and subsequent Q&A session provided an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs to gain a better understanding of the landscape – challenges and opportunities – that many will face as they develop their businesses. While presenting the realities of inadequate infrastructure and support for some, if not all, of the sectors, the general conclusions were upbeat and pointed to the vast array of opportunities available to entrepreneurs.”

Shell LiveWIRE Trinidad and Tobago targets young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-45 who have a legally registered, trading business that has been operational for no less than six months but no more than six years in one of the three sectors highlighted above. The business may offer digital solutions which support the identified sector. Participants must already have a paying customer base and exhibit growth potential towards achievement of job creation, export of a product or service, or entry into Shell’s supply chain.

During the seven-month programme, entrepreneurs receive training and are supported to grow through access to investors, export consultancy, financial awards, monthly master classes and peer-to-peer technical advisory groups (sector circles). Post completion of the programme, entrepreneurs can access networking opportunities.

The first 18 entrepreneurs who have been selected to join Shell LiveWIRE Trinidad and Tobago will graduate from the programme in January 2019.

Highlighting the importance of the Shell LiveWIRE programme in helping towards the country’s diversification, Leslie Bowrin said, “Faced with the urgency to diversify its economy away from its heavy dependence on oil and gas and the uncertainties of that sector, Trinidad and Tobago has identified specific sectors for development and investment.

“Shell LiveWIRE is contributing to this effort at diversification by developing and supporting entrepreneurs in sectors with potential for growth, export and job creation.”