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Barbados Bloom Cleantech Cluster: A Global Program Model

UNIDOBlooomStudyTour2 UNIDO Bloom Study Tour

Report on the BLOOM cleantech cluster meetings and training for Barbadian experts in Austria, Sweden and Denmark from 6th to 8th September 2022

Since 2018, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), is implementing the project "Strategic platform to promote sustainable energy technology innovation, industrial development and entrepreneurship" in Barbados, a small island developing states (SIDS) in the Caribbean. The project established BLOOM, the first cleantech cluster within the Caribbean Community. It is hosted by Export Barbados (BIDC) under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology (MIIST). 

UNIDO is providing technical assistance for the establishment of the cluster model and management, its service packages, international partnerships and fund raising. It is envisaged that BLOOM reaches sustainability and continues to operate beyond project closure. Created as public-private partnership, the cluster hub provides shared resources and services, as well as a makerspace for companies and academia to work on joint projects, solutions and marketing. 

BLOOM contributes to the efforts of the Government of Barbados to tackle the severe impacts the COVID-19 health and fiscal crisis, recent oil price escalations, as well as growing climate change adaptation costs. By strengthening local cleantech entrepreneurship and innovation, the cluster contributes to economic diversification towards emerging sectors of the green and blue economy, decoupling from of fossil fuel imports and reduction of environmental externalities. Barbados has not only ambitious plans to become the first carbon free small island developing state by 2030, it intends also to become an export leader of cleantech products and services to the Caribbean and beyond. 

The sector includes a broad range of island relevant products, services and business models, including renewable energy, energy and resource efficiency, waste disposal, treatment and recycling, as well as circular economy. After four years of implementation, the BLOOM is currently fully handed over to the recruited local management team at BIDC. To further strengthen the capacities of the local cluster management and key stakeholders, UNIDO organized international expert meetings and training in Austria, Denmark and Sweden between 6th and 10th September. The varied program introduced the participants to best management practice and lessons learned of European cleantech clusters, as well as to latest technology innovations with relevance for the Caribbean. 

A total of 12 representatives from Barbados consisting of BLOOM cluster staff, government officials and further stakeholders as well as business owners and cluster incubatees took part in the tour. The BLOOM achievements were presented by the Barbadian delegation in the context of the 5th Steering Committee of the Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres (GN-SEC), convened by UNIDO between 5 and 8 September at the Vienna International Centre. The cluster in Barbados is an important pilot for the wider BLOOM Regional Cluster Program to be rolled out by UNIDO under the GN-SEC in various middle and lower-income countries over the next years. Further information is available in the detailed report below. 

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