Blue-Tech Challenge


We are pleased to announce the results of the
Blue-Tech Challenge!  

The IDBG is grateful to all parties who participated in the Challenge.  

The selected proposals are:

  • “Marpol Port Reception Facility” – Clean Marine Group Limited (Bahamas)
  • “Totally Traceable Tuna” – Ten Habitat (Barbados)
  • “Market-based Incentives for Sustainable Fishing” – Oceana (Belize)
  • “Ayiti Blue Ocean Plastics Solution” – Environmental Cleaning Solutions S.A. and Pan American Development Foundation (Haiti)
  • “Convert Sargassum Seaweed from Problem to Industry” – Algas Organics (St. Lucia)


See press release.



We are looking for business models that apply new technologies or solutions to foster the long-term sustainability of the ocean economy to be developed in the following 14 target countries:  Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), through its IDB Lab, Natural Capital Lab, and Sustainable Islands Platform, and the multi-donor Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility, is looking to provide support to pilot and scale commercial models rooted in cutting-edge technologies that contribute to the sustainable management of oceans and coastal resources (or marine ecosystems) as the basis for livelihoods, food security and economic development of the Caribbean region.


Entities from the 48 member countries of the Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDBG) are invited to participate in the challenge.  Those Compete Caribbean beneficiary countries, which are non-IDB members, will also be included:   Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  These entities include innovators, entrepreneurs, NGOs, businesses, academic institutions, research institutions, social enterprises, public innovation agencies, and similar entities and must have demonstrated expertise in developing and applying innovative and cutting-edge technologies to ensure the sustainable management of oceans as the basis for livelihoods, food security and economic development.

Proponent entities not located in one of the 14 target countries will only be considered if in partnership with local or regional organizations registered to carry out the project activities in one of the 14 target countries.




Qualifying entities will be considered by IDB to implement a development project to pilot the blue economy model in one of the 14 target countries.  The funding requests should be within a range of US$150,000 to US$500,000 for non-reimbursable technical assistance (grants).  Proposals for loans should be within a range of US$500,000 to US$2,000,000.  Note that the proponent entity should contribute with at least 50% of the project budget. For details see Guidelines.

Qualifying entities will also become part of the IDB Group’s network of global innovators working in the Caribbean region poised to exchange knowledge, expertise, best practices, and with ample opportunities to participate in IDBG’s related regional networking events.




Requirement 1:  Proponent entity should be located in one of IDB’s 48 member-countries or in those Compete Caribbean beneficiary countries which are non-IDB members:   Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  If the proponent entity is not located in one of the 14 target countries, it should present a proposal in partnership with an entity located and legally registered in one of the 14 target countries in the Caribbean region: Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Project impact must target one of these 14 countries in the Caribbean.

Requirement 2:  Proposed business model should have the following characteristics:  a) focused on cutting-edge technology that contributes to the sustainable use or management of oceans, coastal resources and/or marine ecosystems); b) aimed at enhancing the livelihoods, food security, and economic development of the Caribbean region’s population.

Models that target beneficiaries who are traditionally excluded groups or communities (i.e., women, indigenous and/or low-income populations) are highly encouraged.

Requirement 3:  Commercial viability of proposed business model.  Provide clear analysis of project viability and indication of how revenue will be generated over the life of the project and beyond (after IDB funding is utilized).

Requirement 4:  Proponent entity should provide written proof of counterpart resources to implement their model (IDB would provide matching funding, approximately 40-50% of the proposed project budget).

Requirement 5:  Proponent entity should provide documents certifying its legal constitution/incorporation.




The proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria and approximate weight of consideration.  See guidelines for more details:

1. Level of innovation of the model/Use of disruptive technologies (~20%)
2. Degree of social and environmental impact (~15%)
Special consideration will be given to models targeting excluded groups and communities (women, indigenous, etc.) or low-income populations (~5%)
3. Scalability potential (~15%)
4. Financial sustainability for the next 3-5 years after funding (~15%)
5. Capacity of proponent entity(ies) and strategic partners (~15%+)
6. Viability of execution, and risks (~15%)

NOTE: If the proponent entity lacks the technical capacity to implement the project or its integrity risk is high, it will be disqualified.




Phase I
After completing your application in the online platform, an IDBG team of specialists will review, analyze, and short-list the proposals.

Phase II
The short-list will then be reviewed with a panel of external experts in ocean economy from leading interested organizations such as those from the MIT Media Lab, National Geographic, University of West Indies, Food and Agriculture Organization, to select the finalists.  A due diligence visit will be scheduled with the finalists to verify the viability of the model and visit the potential project sites. Subject to the outcome of the due diligence visit, the selected proposals will proceed to the next phase.

Phase III
A project team from IDB will provide support to the selected entities to initiate project design (develop the project plan and related documents to be submitted for IDB’s approval process). This process can take up to six months, depending on the maturity of the project concept, and the agility of the selected entities, among other factors, and final approval is subject to IDB’s internal procedures.





Launch:  September 17, 2018.      
Submit proposals:  September 17 – November 30, 2018      
Final submission deadline:  November 30, 2018 (6pm ET)
Review by IDBG team: December 1 -  December 17, 2018 to create short list
Review of short list with Advisory Panel, final selection and due diligence visits:  January 7 - January 31, 2019
Expected announcement of selected proposals: February, 2019

The Inter-American Development Bank's mission is to improve lives. Founded in 1959, the IDB is one of the main sources of long-term financing for the economic, social and institutional development of Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts state-of-the-art research projects and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private clients throughout the region.


IDB Lab is the innovation laboratory of the IDB Group, the leading source of development finance and know-how for improving lives in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). IDB Lab mobilizes resources to develop innovative projects and early stage ventures with a potential for impact and great scale, benefiting populations that are vulnerable due to economic, social, or environmental factors.  Since 1993 IDB Lab has approved more than US$ 2 billion in projects deployed across 26 LAC countries. As of October 29, 2018, IDB Lab is the new identity of the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF).


The Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility (CCPF) is a private sector development that delivers innovative and practical solutions that stimulate economic growth, increase productivity and foster innovation and competitiveness. We work in 13 countries across the Caribbean region. CCPF is a partnership between the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).