MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC) Organizing Angel Investors to Improve SME Support

The World Bank Group’s Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC) is providing a framework for “angel” investors to work together to entertain pitches from and fund the development of “start-ups and early-stage enterprises” in the Caribbean region. The arrangement also allows investors to “spread financial risk across more investments.” As of June 2017, five angel investment groups have formed under EPIC and invested USD 1 million in small and medium-sized enterprises after “over 50 entrepreneurs have pitched to [these] investors [and] more than 20 companies have been taken forward for due diligence.”

EPIC is an effort of the World Bank Group’s Info-Dev Link Caribbean program which was inaugurated in 2016 with USD 1.6 million provided by the government of Canada. The program, whose goal is to facilitate private investment in the region, is overseen locally by the Caribbean Export Development Agency, a Barbados-based trade and investment management firm.

The World Bank Group is a multilateral development organization headquartered in the US that aims to improve living standards for people in developing countries. As of 2016, the group encompasses (1) the World Bank, which consists of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association; (2) the International Finance Corporation; (3) the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency; and (4) the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. As of 2016, the World Bank Group is comprised of 189 member nations and has commitments of USD 60 billion to 12,700 loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to its members and private businesses.

By Jacob O’Driscoll, Research Associate

Sources and Additional Information

Financing Innovative SMEs in the Caribbean
http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2017/06/02/financing-innovative-smes-in-the-caribbean

Caribbean Export Development Agency
http://www.carib-export.com/

Info-Dev LINK (Carribean Program)
http://www.infodev.org/articles/world-bank-and-caribbean-export-launch-link-caribbean

World Bank Group
http://www.worldbank.org/

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