Commercialisation of Research: The Guyana Innovation Prize
The Office for Undergraduate Research hosted a presentation and discussion on commercialisation of research and specifically on the opportunity afforded undergraduates by The Guyana Innovation Prize. This session was led by Oslene Carringtion (see bio below). The Guyana Innovation Prize is a project of the The Guyana Economic Development Trust which is a U.S. based, independent, philanthropic organization that focuses on incubating and supporting projects with potential to develop the workforce and boost the private sector of Guyana.
The Guyana Innovation Prize is designed to provide “pre-seed funding to commercially viable and scalable ideas in technology and agro-processing emanating from the work of University of Guyana students, faculty, and alumni”. The Prize will be awarded annually on a competitive basis, and it requires participation in the Trust’s mentoring program.
Apart from providing information about the prize itself and responding to questions from those in attendance, Ms. Carrington delivered an informative presentation on the phases and salient issues involved in developing an idea into a profitable business venture.
Ultimately, the Guyana Innovation Prize will be awarded to one business venture per year provided that it meets the criteria and is judged as the most viable of its competitors. The prize is now in its first year (2018-2019).
Following the Inaugural Undergraduate Research Conferences that were held in April 2017, the Office for Undergraduate Research collaborated with the Guyana Innovation Prize project to identify research that had potential to be developed into commercial ventures and which were within the parameters of the prize. Of a list of potential projects identified, five individuals (all females!) completed the initial requirements to become contestants for the prize. These individuals and their respective proposed commercial products based on their research are as follows:
- Juanelle Marks (Dept. of Computer Science): Computerized Cognitive Behavioral Learning Aid – EdTech Product
- Lisa Dublin (Dept. of Chemistry): Activated Carbon for Water Purification – Household Consumer Product
- Rebecca Harris (Dept. of Chemistry): Natural Antifungal Agent – Pharmaceutical Consumer Product
- Shavon Sharif (Division of Agriculture and Forestry, Berbice Campus): Organic Fertilizer – Agro-business
- Tandika Harry (Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry): Natural Preservative for Fruits and Vegetables – Agro-busines
Having gone through the programme established by the prize and which endured several months, two finalists have been identified. These two finalists for the prize are Rebecca Harris and Lisa Dublin. This page will be updated to identify the winner once a winner is announced.
Oslene Carrington was born in Guyana, and presently resides in the U.S. She is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Economic Development Trust, a U.S. based philanthropic organization. Oslene possesses over 25 years of experience that includes supporting the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), serving in senior management positions at U.S. Fortune 500 companies, leading nonprofit and educational organizations, and launching several businesses. Oslene’s functional responsibilities have included organizational development, strategic planning, fundraising, operations management, technology planning, marketing and corporate finance. Oslene holds an MBA from the New York University Stern School of Business, a B.A. in Economics from Fordham University, and has received post-graduate training in strategy and innovation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management.