Citi’s DIA Urban Lab hosts mentorship brainstorming session and awards 20 innovative projects with funding in dynamic Pitch Tank Competition

DIA Camp and Pitch Participants

Since 2016, the DIA Urban Lab - Democratizing Innovation in the Americas – has benefited over 1,350 youth and provided grants to 88 innovative projects and groundbreaking ventures in Jamaica.

Kingston, Jamaica (04/09/2019) — From July 20 to 22, the DIA Urban Lab for Youth Innovation Project held an Innovation Camp and Pitch Tank competition, where youth from diverse parishes attended public speaking, branding, canvas, and financial literacy workshops to refine presentation skills prior to pitching their ideas to a panel of judges. 20 innovators received seed funding to launch their ventures.

Miguel Francis, DIA Participant said, “DIA Camp is a tremendous opportunity for all those innovators who want to take their projects to a next level. I received training, attended the bootcamp, and won at the pitch competition. Many young people think innovation is a sophisticated word and are afraid to explore entrepreneurship, but our job market demands to think outside the box, network as much as we can, and think how to compete internationally. Having a laser cutter and 3D printer at the Urban Lab makes my life easier.”

Launched in 2016 with support from Founding Donor Citi Foundation and USAID through A New Path Project, DIA Jamaica is an initiative created by The Trust for the Americas, an affiliate of the Organization of American States, to empower a new generation of young entrepreneurs and innovators, who will act as agents of change in their communities. DIA Jamaica is part of Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress global initiative to prepare young people with the career readiness tools and opportunities needed to thrive in today’s economy. Pathway to Progress is comprised of programs, research, and partnerships like the one with Trust of the Americas, which help youth build an entrepreneurial mindset and acquire leadership.

In addition, The Trust for the Americas held a brainstorming session last Wednesday to design and launch a mentorship component with members of the PSOJ-Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica. PSOJ CEO Makeba Bennett said, “The PSOJ remains firm in the belief that investment in human capital is critical if we’re to realize true sustainable development, and so we’re pleased to support the DIA Jamaica and the work they are doing to help develop young entrepreneurs. Our members share the vision and have willingly come onboard to give their time and expertise to mentor the next generation of business leaders.”

The DIA Urban Lab has awarded 88 seed funding opportunities and benefited over 1,350 young people through innovation training and access to state-of-the-arts technology. DIA is also present in Belize, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama.

About The Trust for the Americas: The Trust for the Americas is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization affiliated with the Organization of American States (OAS). It was established in 1997 to promote public and private sector participation in social and economic development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. Our initiatives, implemented through local partner organizations, seek to improve access to economic opportunities as well as to foster innovation in vulnerable communities in the hemisphere. To this end, The Trust also promotes social inclusion and good governance. The Trust has offices in Washington, D.C., Colombia, and Canada.

For more information:

Facebook: The Trust for the Americas  Twitter: @Trust4Americas     

About the Organization of American States: The OAS has 34 member states and it is the world’s oldest regional organization. The Organization uses a four-pronged approach to effectively implement its essential purposes, based on its main pillars: democracy, human rights, security, and development. In Jamaica, the General Secretariat of the OAS, through is Department of Public Security, is implementing the project “A New Path”, which seeks to improve the lives of at-risk youth and youth in conflict with the law. A priority of “A New Path” is to offer support for youth to address their emotional, social, educational, and economic challenges.  It works with key areas that can enable the successful economic and social integration of the youth.

For more information:

Twitter: @OEA_Seguridad

About The Citi Foundation: The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation.

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About ILE

The Institute of Law & Economics (ILE), is a private non-profit organization based in Kingston, Jamaica, established in 1998 to foster collaboration, innovation, research/consultancy, public education and discussion between the legal and economic professions, with a view to promoting a multi-disciplinary approach to sustainable development locally, and in the Caribbean Region. ILE has been working towards this through stimulating public discussions, high level training and debate in an objective, non-partisan and democratic manner, with a view to empowering our citizens while influencing national and regional policies that affect our lives.


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