FAQs

Investment Readiness (IR) Grant

  • What exactly is an Investment Readiness Grant?

    IR grants offer funding to start-up and early-stage enterprises that show business and investment promise but are still not considered “investment ready” by investors. The purpose of these grants is to prepare companies for angel or other private investment within a short time frame (targeting 3-6 months) by providing funding for specified purposes that improve the prospects for investment. IR grants will be provided to companies on the basis of an assessment of the ability of the enterprise to hit key business milestones that will facilitate investment in the near-term.

  • What is the funding amount for an Investment Readiness Grant?

    Investment readiness grants are available in amounts up to USD $25,000. The determination of the grant size will depend on the project proposal and will consider the stage of company development and the timeframe for the implementation of proposed activities (should not exceed 6 months), approved project budget and the assessment of management’s ability to execute.

  • How do I know if the investment readiness grant is right for me?

    If you can answer YES to the following questions, then the IR grant is right for you.

    • Is your company legally registered in and/or operating in a CARIFORUM country (with the exception of Haiti and the Dominican Republic)?
    • Are you actively seeking angel or other private investment?
    • Does your company have the potential to scale up quickly?
    • Is your product/service almost ready to go to market? Can you show evidence of customer demand?
    • Do you have a clear plan for actions that you can take, with the help of the grant that will improve your chances of receiving investment?
  • Do I need to pay any fees to apply for the grant?

    No.

  • What process should I expect when I begin my application? What are the key steps?

    After determining that the IR grant is indeed suitable for you, here is what the process will look like:

     

    IR Grant Process 

  • How long will it take to get funding?

    It is anticipated that 12 weeks will be required from the date that the Expression of Interest goes public to final decisions with an additional week for disbursement if successful

  • For what purposes may IR grant funds be used?

    Below are some examples of uses which are considered acceptable under the Terms and Conditions of grant disbursement.

    • Labour costs (salaries) and fees associated with delivery/on-going execution of core business functions.
    • Sales and marketing activities, including those aimed at increasing potential customer base (e.g. trade fairs, trade shows, etc.).
    • Equipment purchase and/or modernization.
    • Market research and testing.
    • Product design and development.

    Grants will NOT support the following activities:

    • Projects or activities that are on the negative list in the Environmental and Social Management Framework
    • Repayment of funds loaned to the company by related parties, including the founder/entrepreneurs, other individuals or financial institutions.
    • Payments to cover fees levied by investors.
    • Purchasing land, commodities, futures, shares, securities, or other financial instruments.

    For an extensive list of acceptable uses please see

    Download the LINK Caribbean IR Grant Eligibility Criteria here

  • How long will these grants be available?

    The project and project budget are designed to last sixteen (16) months, from August 2016 through November 2017.

  • Over what period must the grant be spent?

    All IR Grant funds must be spent during the 6 month implementation period beginning when the contract is signed between Caribbean Export and the grant recipient. IR grant funds can only be spent on costs incurred during the 6 month implementation period. Costs incurred prior to the signing of the contract between Caribbean Export and the grant recipient, or incurred after the 6 month implementation period will be ineligible.

  • What if I have already approached investors and have been turned down?

    IR grants are provided with the intent to support entrepreneurs in addressing business gaps identified by investors as risks to investment. Knowing the concerns investors have about your business will actually help you come up with a plan to fix the issues – this will strengthen your IR grant application!

Co-Investment (CI) Grant

  • What is a Co-Investment Grant?

    Co-investment grants offer supplementary funding to enterprises that are able to raise investment from business angels and/or other approved investors. The purpose of these grants is to provide additional funding – beyond what investors are willing or able to make – to help early-stage enterprises develop and grow.

  • What process should I expect when I begin my application? What are the key steps?

    CI Grant Process

  • What is the funding amount for a Co-Investment Grant?

    Co-Investment Grants will match up to 50% of the investment raised by the business, up to a maximum of USD $100,000. The grant disbursement will occur only after the investor has transferred funds to the enterprise. A minimum qualifying investment of USD $50,000 will be required by investors with a minimum grant award of USD $25,000.

  • How do I know if the co-investment grant is right for me?

    If you can answer YES to the following questions, then the Co-Investment grant may be right for you.

    • Is your company legally registered in and/or principally operating out of a CARICOM country (with the exception of Haiti)?
    • Are you currently in negotiations for a term sheet with investors? Have you already received a term sheet or shareholder’s agreement from an eligible investor?
    • Do you have a project plan to deploy capital to specific purposes to develop and grow your business?
  • What types of investors qualify my company for a co-investment grant?

    Co-Investment Grants are designed to assist entrepreneurs in capital raising efforts, and while the funding will go directly to the company, a joint application with an investor will be required. Investors may be Caribbean or internationally-based. Eligible investors include:

    • Angel Groups and Networks: Individuals must be members of an angel investor group/network made up of Accredited Investors [ 1 ]
    • Early-stage Institutional Investors: Including, but not limited to, venture capital firms, SME funds, and impact investors.
    • Individual Investors/Syndicates: Be an Accredited Investor per the standards set in the country in which the investment is to be made and be able to pass a background check.

     

    Footnotes:


    [ 1 ] An accredited investor, in the context of a natural person, includes anyone who earned an income level or possesses an accumulated net worth sufficient to the standards set in a specific country. Thresholds vary by country. For the purposes of the Regional Angel Investor Network (RAIN), standards will be applied based on those in the country in which the investee is domiciled/registered; if the country doesn’t have regulating standards, the standards set out in the laws of Barbados, where Caribbean Export and RAIN are domiciled, shall be applied.

  • For what purposes can CI grant funds be used?

    All applications require a project proposal that outlines how the grant funds will be used. Below are some examples of uses which are considered acceptable under the Terms and Conditions of grant disbursement.

    • Labour costs (salaries) and fees associated with delivery/on-going execution of core business functions.
    • Sales and marketing activities, including those aimed at increasing potential customer base (e.g. trade fairs, trade shows, etc.).
    • Equipment purchase and/or modernization.
    • Market research and testing.
    • Product design and development.

    Grants will NOT support the following activities:

    • Projects or activities that are on the negative list in the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Management Framework
    • Repayment of funds loaned to the company by related parties, including the founder/entrepreneurs, other individuals or financial institutions.
    • Payments to cover fees levied by investors.
    • Purchasing land, commodities, futures, shares, securities, or other financial instruments.

    For an extensive list of acceptable uses please visit 

    Download the LINK Caribbean CI Grant Eligibility Criteria here

    The World Bank and/or Caribbean Export may during the course of the co-investment grants administration period determine other activities to be ineligible for support.

  • Do I need to pay any fees to apply for the grant?

    No.

  • How long will it take to get funding?

    It is anticipated that four (4) weeks will be required to gather documentation, review and approve an application and an additional week to disburse grant funds to successful candidates.

  • What will be required of grant recipients?

    Grant recipients will be required to provide quarterly progress reports until the end of the project in December 2017.

  • How long will these grants be available?

    The project and project budget are designed to last sixteen (16) months, from August 2016 through November 2017.

    Co-Investment Grants will be available on a rolling basis throughout the duration of the project period.

Regional Angel Investment Network (RAIN)

  • What is RAIN and why was it established?

    The Regional Angel Investor Network (RAIN) links Angels with early-stage enterprises seeking investment. While individual angels are incredibly important, few angels have the time, know-how or financial resources to participate in multiple investments acting alone. As a result, angel networks such as RAIN have emerged as a method for providing an introductory service for entrepreneurs and angels, connecting like-minded individuals, and syndicating investments. As such, angel networks help address some of the challenges associated with solo investing and investing in risky environments, such as emerging markets like the Caribbean.

  • How does it work?

    RAIN uses an online platform to connect promising entrepreneurs with business angels and other early-stage investors. The platform serves as an access point for investor funding for entrepreneurs across the Caribbean – not just those located on islands with existing angel groups.

    Caribbean Export coordinates RAIN, and in collaboration with infoDev facilitates periodic networking/training events and a regional investor forum.

  • Why should investors join RAIN?

    RAIN is focused on supporting investors seeking promising entrepreneurs in the Caribbean. When an angel joins RAIN they will:

    • Gain access to Pan-Caribbean deal flow, pre-screened by RAIN, through an online platform
    • Network with like-minded investors through the online platform as well as periodic events, such as an angel investors forum
    • Gain access to resources for angel investors including sample investment documents, best practices materials and other knowledge resources
    • For parties interested in forming new groups, please contact kjones@carib-export.com
    • Gain access to LINK Caribbean Co-Investment Grants.
  • Why should entrepreneurs apply to RAIN?

    The thought of receiving a cash injection into your business can be attractive, and when it comes with experience and knowledge the appeal is even greater. The RAIN platform provides entrepreneurs with access to potential investors from across the region who have already expressed a wish to fund exciting new companies. Applying for funding through RAIN gives an entrepreneur access not only to potential investment but also guidance as to the best way to present their company.

  • Is angel investing right for my business?

    As with any form of financing, entrepreneurs should do their research and understand the pros and cons of seeking angel investment. Angel investors tend to provide investment by way of “equity”, purchasing an ownership stake in your business. Before proceeding to apply for such funding it is important that you consider whether:

    • Are you willing to take on what will in effect be a business partner?
    • Are you willing to sell equity (partial ownership) in your company and share some control in exchange for funding and mentorship?
    • Do you wish to have access to the knowledge of an experienced business person?
    • Do you have an innovative high growth business that can scale into overseas markets (export potential)?
    • Could your business grow exponentially with additional cash investment?
    • Can you demonstrate that your business can generate significant returns for investors within 5 years?

    Can you articulate the exit strategy for the investor? (How will they get a return on their investment?)

  • How will RAIN support entrepreneurs seeking angel investment?

    RAIN supports entrepreneurs by:

    • Assisting firms in their preparation to be placed on the platform for viewing by Angel investors;
    • Providing training on “How to Pitch” to an Angel Investor
    • Showcasing their businesses to Angel investors and financial institutions in the Caribbean and diaspora
    • Providing access to international industry level knowledge on Angel Investing and corresponding templates
  • Does RAIN invest in entrepreneurs?

    No. RAIN helps to connect entrepreneurs with investors but does not invest directly into companies. However, RAIN is associated with LINK Caribbean, which offers grants to companies to help them secure investment.