CIBC FirstCaribbean signs on for three more years of support to UWI

CIBC FirstCaribbean signs on for three more years of support to UWI
CIBC FirstCaribbean Chief Executive Officer Colette Delaney signs a copy of a memorandum of understanding alongside UWI Principal of the Cave Hill campus Professor Clive Landis while the bank’s Director of Corporate Communications Debra King and Deputy Principal of Cave Hill campus Professor Winston Moore observe. (ASHLEY@SERENAWILLIAMS-PR.COM)

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS — CIBC FirstCaribbean has officially extended its partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for three years.

The agreement, signed on Tuesday, August 17, 2021, is for the period 2021/22 to 2023/24 and will cover four areas: support and development of UWI programmes and students around the region; enhancement of research in banking and finance at UWI; the joint pursuit of mutually beneficial business opportunities; and entrepreneurship and innovation.

The bank has contributed over US$2 million to UWI to support various initiatives since the first MOU was signed between the two institutions in 2003.

CIBC FirstCaribbean CEO Colette Delaney stated that the bank cherishes its longstanding relationship with UWI and was pleased to formally extend it for another three years.

She added that entrepreneurship and innovation will be the key drivers of the post-COVID economy, and UWI is headed in the right direction.

“We see the scholarships, research grants, public lectures and other programmes and activities offered under this MOU as tangible demonstrations of our commitment to this region and its development,” Delaney said.

“Investment in and support of our region’s people, especially the youth, remains one of the key pillars of our charitable arm, the FirstCaribbean ComTrust Foundation, which I have the honor to chair and which is providing the funding for the programmes and projects in this MOU.”

Principal of the Cave Hill Campus Professor Clive Landis lauded the bank’s support over the past 18 years and said he is looking forward to the two institutions forging even closer ties.

Chief Executive Officer of CIBC FirstCaribbean and Chair of FirstCaribbean ComTrust Foundation Colette Delaney delivers remarks at the signing of a memorandum of understanding with UWI while Principal of the Cave Hill campus Professor Clive Landis looks on. (ASHLEY@SERENAWILLIAMS-PR.COM)

“As a result of the bank’s generosity, several of our students who were experiencing financial challenges have been able to realize their dream of attaining a university education. Many of these have gone on to make a meaningful contribution in this region and further afield,” he said.

“It is clear, then, in the current public health climate, that such assistance is needed now more than ever, as so many across the Caribbean and the world have suffered severe financial losses as a result of the pandemic.”

Landis noted that UWI would need to innovate and seek new business perspectives if the institution is to survive. In that regard, he announced the launch of the campus’ latest entrepreneurial initiative, the Innovate! Challenge, which is a competition organized by the Office of Business Development that rewards staff for impactful and innovative ideas that lead to income generation for their unit or department, as well as the campus.

The competition will be launched later this year and will be sponsored by CIBC FirstCaribbean.

One of the major beneficiaries of the MOU is the Student Entrepreneurial Empowerment Development (SEED) project, which is designed to encourage and develop self-reliance.

The bank has assisted with providing access to finance and a business plan competition. To date, $240,000 has been disbursed among 40 startups since the inception of the programme.

The first, second and third place winners of the UWI SEED CIBC FirstCaribbean Business Plan Competition — Kerri-Ann Bovell, Victor Clarke and business partners Marissa Chandler and Malissa Cornwell — also thanked UWI and CIBC FirstCaribbean for their support.