The Minister of Planning and Sustainable Development, Bhoendradatt Tewarie on behalf of the Council for Competitiveness and Innovation (CCI) officially launched the nation’s largest Social Innovation Programme on Wednesday 14 January 2015 at Medulla Art Gallery in Woodbrook.
The programme is aptly called LUMINATION is part of the CCI’s drive to promote and encourage an innovation driven society with the aim of bringing together inspired, passionate individuals in the sphere of social work to encourage innovative solutions to social problems. The tagline is ‘Create the change that changes lives’ and the goal here is to alleviate many of the social issues plaguing Trinidad and Tobago through innovation, to positively impact lives and to light the way for a better future by empowering citizens.
The Lumination Challenge seeks to foster social innovation and experimentation by reducing the associated financial risks through grant funding provided by the CCI. Grant funding from $75,000.00 to $200,000.00 will be disbursed to worthy projects as well as mentoring and project development assistance. Support for the implementation of selected projects will be provided through pilot programmes and experiments. The challenge has also gone out to registered NGOs, social workers, social innovators and youth workers to come up with socially innovative concepts that are yet to be tested or explored in Trinidad and Tobago on a national scale but which have the potential to provide solutions to societal issues not presently addressed by existing institutions, practices or traditions. This year, the challenge encourages innovative solutions to issues pertaining to youth, education and family.
Speaking at the launch the Chairman of the CCI Mr. Richard Lewis stated that “Social Innovation means new ways to solve old problems that are faster, more cost effective, data driven and lead to better results for the public good”. The guest speaker, former national cycling champion Mr. Michael Phillips spoke of his experiences with developing his own social innovations, namely the Keep Moving Family Programme and Fitness Sundays which has encouraged exercise and fitness activities along a blocked section of the Diego Martin Highway every Sunday for the past six years.
Speaking at the launch Minister Tewarie highlighted the fact that “Lumination is indicative of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago’s commitment to fighting injustice and inequality, and to improving the social wellbeing of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago while continuing to focus on and encourage innovative thinking and entrepreneurship. It is an attempt to address the fact that while capitalism can create wealth generating opportunities it does not distribute opportunities for wealth creation very well”.