By Robyn Adderley
A $500,000 grant from the IDB will bring UB-North one step closer to becoming the STEM Campus of the UB System, said campus president Dr. Ian Strachan on Friday. The grant was announced at a press conference at the Grand Lucayan and comprises a Technical Cooperation Agreement between Inter-American Development Bank and University of The Bahamas, intended to create a Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Grand Bahama.
Dr. Strachan said the donation started a new chapter in the life of UB North. Present at the press conference were: Senator the Hon. Kirkland Russell who gave remarks on behalf of the government; Daniela Carrera Marquis, Inter-American Development Bank Country Office/Bahamas Representative who attended via Zoom; Allyson Maynard-Gibson, QC, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, University of The Bahamas; Dr. Rodney Smith, President and CEO, University of The Bahamas; and members of the UB Board of Trustees.
“This technical cooperation agreement with the IDB,” said Dr. Strachan, “intended to spark innovation and entrepreneurship in Grand Bahama, constitutes a combined million-dollar commitment by our institutions over the next three years to train, coach and inspire our citizens. Participants will be empowered to confidently start the businesses they’ve been dreaming of or to expand the reach, versatility, and resilience of their existing businesses by harnessing digital technology.
“The boot camps, incubators and courses offered will make available to our citizens, at a crucial moment of high unemployment, much needed opportunities to retool; to gain valuable skills that will allow them to participate in the fast- changing global economy. They will allow them to become more marketable, more competitive and to be masters of their own fate through entrepreneurship.
“The skills gap and our lack of diversity are key weaknesses of the Bahamian economy, and this initiative seeks to tackle these head on. By doing so, we improve Grand Bahama’s profile as a magnet for future development.”
“The campus incubator will be established, along with programmes in Entrepreneurship, Computer Science, Operations Management, Electrical
Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Marine Science, Environmental Science and Sustainable Innovation.
“Our goal is to establish UB-North as the STEM Campus of the UB System, drawing students from across the archipelago, the region and the world to centres of academic excellence. The end result will not simply be higher enrollment, revenue growth and prestige for UB, but a stronger nation, made stronger by the innovation and insight of its national university, a university committed to tackling our most pressing development challenges.”
To achieve this, he said, it will not only take strategic planning, focused action, fruitful partnerships with local and multinational companies, but fundraising.