Urban Labs for Youth Innovation in Jamaica

Project under implementation


In 2016, Citi Foundation and the Trust for the Americas, through its DIA program, launched the "Urban Labs for Youth Innovation" project. DIA - Democratizing Innovation in the Americas is a regional initiative that seeks to foster innovation and empower new generations to create low-cost, high-impact innovations that improve livelihood opportunities and solve daily challenges in their communities. This project aims to inspire and provide skills to young Jamaican innovators- between the ages of 16 and 29- through innovation and entrepreneurship training, mentorship, and access to technology. In 2020, DIA Jamaica introduced a new component that sought to increase employability and economic opportunities for at-risk youth in the Caribbean through digital literacy, data science, and future of work skills. 

Project purpose

DIA Jamaica seeks to promote solutions that generate livelihood opportunities and good governance in the region by bringing together academia, civil society, government officials, private sector entities, entrepreneurs, and young innovators. 

Project goals

The Urban Lab will train 200 youth

Empower 300 community members through access to technology, mentorship, and sensitization activities

Provide USD 40,000 in seedfunding to support disruptive and incremental innovation projects

Main achievements

people trained or sensitized.
participants developed innovative projects or ventures.
participants received funding for their projects through the Pitch Tank Competitions.


Provide Digital Skills Training
  • ICT. Key tools will include an introduction to Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, data visualization, and data-driven projects, the development of public policies with data, data interpretation languages such as Python and R, and the introduction to machine learning and the internet of things, among others. 

  • Business Training & Incubator. Key components will include digital marketing, critical thinking and communication with clients and partners, intellectual property, social media strategies, and modern tools for commercialization. 

Mentorship and Economic Opportunities
  • Ideathon sessions are brainstorming/community events for communities to define challenges in a thematic area. The best solutions will get start-up resources and mentoring to translate them into reality, implemented in partnership with local actors. 

  • Regional Caribbean activities include international specialists, local private and public sectors, and a simultaneous hackathon to promote the use of data to solve social problems. 

Fostering Networks & Building a Caribbean Youth Ecosystem
  • Develop an outreach strategy for the local business community to identify candidates to provide mentorship, internships, and job placement opportunities. 

  • The Pitch Tank Competitions allow the beneficiaries to compete for seed funding based on the quality of their ideas and their business plans.   

Strategic partners

Local partner

Success Stories

Candice Gordon

Founder of Shevielle Naturals

Candice Gordon is a passionate health and wellness advocate whose holistic hair and skincare brand promotes natural personal care. Her products aim to support robust hair growth, radiant skin, and overall well-being. She understands the growing desire, especially among women, for natural remedies to maintain beauty and health. Discover her story.

Which of the following SDGS (Sustainable Development Goals) this project support?