The Entrepreneurship Support Unit (ESU), formerly The Centre for Export Entrepreneurship and Innovation, commenced operations on January 5, 2018 and is funded by the National Gas Company (NGC). Operating within the Department of Management Studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences, its purpose is to support the development of all UWI entrepreneurs as well as promote the development of innovative, globally competitive enterprise. Its strategic objectives are as follows:
- Establish and operate an effective mentorship programme for UWI Entrepreneurs
- Develop and implement Certificate Training courses in Export Entrepreneurship
- Implement an Entrepreneurship Consultation Service for UWI business spinouts and start-ups as well as the general public.
During 2018 the ESU sought, firstly, to establish a quality mentorship support service for UWI entrepreneurs and secondly, to support the development of an effective UWI innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. Currently, there have been significant strides made towards the latter with the following core resources coming on stream in 2019;
- Mentorship and Training Services (ESU)
- R&D Grant Funding Services (STACIE, formerly ORDKT)
- Equity Investment Capital (UWI Ventures)
In 2018 the ESU also co-hosted an entrepreneurship training Boot Camp with the National Entrepreneurship Development Company (NEDCO) and Planting Seeds in which participants were eligible to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges and earn prize money of up to $30,000. The ESU will be hosting this event in 2019 and will also seek to establish this event as an annual UWI event.