Positive Opportunities from Ashfall

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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Barbadians have long subscribed to the notion that “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  This was emphatically demonstrated both in the resilience and response of Barbadian producers and innovators to the COVID-19 pandemic and to the volume of ash deposited across the country from the eruption of the neighbouring La Soufrière Volcano.

The Government of Barbados sought to harness local creativity through the Volcanic Ash Competition, hosted by Export Barbados (BIDC) during the month of May 2021.  The Competition rewarded persons for innovative creations utilising volcanic ash that treated to two practical questions:

Challenge 1: Reusing volcanic ash from the La Soufriere eruption, what new or improved products would you create?

Challenge 2: What equipment, machinery or technology product would you create or utilise to clean up volcanic ash?

Following an encouraging response to both the Social Media Challenge and the Product Challenge, we are pleased to announce the following winners:

Product Challenge Winners 

First Place  
Rhea Gilkes & Selina Craigg
La Soufrière Scrub 
Foot Scrub 

Second Place  
Kamal Howell
Ash Classifier Conversion 
Centrifugal classifier blade 

Third Place  
Kerri-Ann Bovell
Mushroom Bio Material 
Bio Materials 

Social Media Challenge Winners 

Michelle Bowe
Ash pendant & other jewelry / accessories

Dennis Sobers
Volcanic Ash Shot Glasses 

Congratulations to all the winners!  Export Barbados (BIDC) will provide product development assistance totaling $10,000 to the winners to assist with the commercialization of their business ventures. 

Assistance will be offered in the areas of product packaging, product refinement and general business development.

In this time of economic instability, the Government of Barbados strongly supports product diversification and the development of a more resilient economy.  Export Barbados (BIDC) is committed to sustainability and is actively working to develop competitive business enterprises in areas with global demand.  Other exciting initiatives are in the pipeline and will be rolled out in the coming months.

History indicates that some of the greatest inventions and innovations emerged in times of famine, war, pandemic and major catastrophes.  We at Export Barbados (BIDC) are eager to work with local innovators to capitalize on available opportunities to bring the next great product, service or process to the world.