Roseau, Dominica, January 12, 2023 —  The GEMS Foundation, a Dominica non-profit organization that supports projects that have a positive and sustainable impact in the community, is excited to launch the inaugural GEMS Entrepreneurship Challenge. The initiative aims to empower local entrepreneurs to strengthen and grow their businesses within the hospitality and tourism supply chain.  The winning entrepreneur will be awarded $20,000 EC to invest in, and grow their business. The second and third place winners will be awarded $15,000 and $10,000 EC, respectively.  

“The tourism and hospitality industry and supply chain presents a world of opportunities to business entrepreneurs,” said Gregor Nassief, Chairman and CEO of GEMS Holdings Limited. “Hotels and resorts depend on many small businesses and service providers and the GEMS Entrepreneurship Challenge is our way of supporting the growth and success of these businesses, thereby strengthening the industry as a whole.”

The Entrepreneurship Challenge is open to business entrepreneurs involved in supplying products and services in the tourism and hospitality industry including but not limited to: food & beverage, farming, fishing & agro-processing, wellness-related products & services, entertainment & arts, technology, tour guiding, excursion & transport services, health & safety, energy efficiency, marketing & media services, event management, among others.  Applicants will be evaluated for customer/brand equity, innovation, viability, organisational capability and financial management.

Lizra Fabien, the Foundation’s Director of Entrepreneurship shared: “We have established the criteria that will be used to determine eligibility, application selection, and evaluation for the Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Challenge Fund. It takes into account the roles and responsibilities of the Grant Selection Committee (GSC), solicitation process, and financial information related to grants.”

Fabien further added, “We will encourage a wide variety of applicants and submissions by ensuring that the application process is open and accessible. We are open to applications from small businesses which demonstrate innovation and scalability. We appreciate that these organizations do not always have lengthy track records and we will not award grants based on organizational criteria of longevity of organization. We request, however, that any applicant abide by ethical business practices.” 

For further information on eligibility requirements evaluation criteria and the application form, please see the GEMS Entrepreneurship Challenge Guidelines here.  All suitable and interested entrepreneurs are required to submit applications by February 9, 2023 to [email protected]. A shortlist of seven applicants will be notified on March 15, 2023. They will go on to participate in a live pitching event on March 30, 2023 with winners subsequently announced. 

The GEMS Foundation expresses gratitude to key donors and the Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce for support in the execution of this Entrepreneurship Challenge. 

About the GEMS Foundation and GEMS Holdings Limited

The GEMS Foundation is part of GEMS Holdings Ltd.  GEMS is an impact-driven Caribbean-based company dedicated to owning, managing, and developing world-class, sustainable luxury properties and businesses in the hospitality and tourism markets. The GEMS portfolio includes Fort Young Hotel & Dive Resort, Secret Bay, The Residences at Secret Bay, and Tibay Villas.

Contact: GEMS Foundation | Lizra Fabien, Director of Entrepreneurship 

Email: [email protected]