About the Challenge
The Natural Capital Grant Challenge 2023 is an initiative of ANSA Merchant Bank and ANSA Bank, facilitated by The Cropper Foundation. It is open to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) registered in Trinidad and Tobago who:
• have business models which analyse and mitigate against any impacts the enterprise may have on natural resources;
• are working on nature-based interventions;
• who contribute directly to the conservation/restoration of natural assets.
We will award a total of three Grants, in lump sum payments, to a total value of TT$200,000 as follows:
Applications for the grant can be submitted online from May 22 – August 28, 2023.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the application process?
The Natural Capital Grant Challenge for SMEs in Trinidad and Tobago is a two-stage application process. The Call for Proposals will be launched on the Natural Capital webpage at tt.ansamerchantbank.com/natural-capital and promoted via digital, broadcast, and print media. The Call for Proposals will specify the scope of projects and which types of organisations are eligible.
Stage 1: ENTRY – up to August 28th, 2023: Applicants will be invited to fill out an online application form, which will be accessible from the May 22 – August 28, 2023 at https://tt.ansamerchantbank.com/nc-grant-submissions/
Applicants are required to provide the following information:
- Description of the business
- Description of the business model/product/service and the linkages to natural capital in Trinidad and Tobago
- Description of the target market
Stage 2: JUDGING – To end of March 2024 – an Expert Advisory Panel will screen Applications and shortlisted applicants will then be invited to participate in our incubator programme. Throughout this stage, technical support will be made available to applicants to refine their business model and products/services to a level that is oriented with natural capital and biodiversity innovations
All information submitted by applicants will be kept confidential.
What do I need to apply?
To apply, you will need:
- Business Registration
- Business Profile, explaining product/service offered
- Brief summary of the current and potential impacts and dependencies on natural capital
- Membership of the Caribbean Natural Capital Hub
Who is offering the Grants?
The Grant awards are funded by ANSA Merchant Bank and ANSA Bank. The Cropper Foundation will facilitate the assessment of applicants. Together, these organisations are pioneering the first financial institution-led incubator programme that supports SMEs focusing on natural capital/biodiversity solutions in T&T.
What is the size of the Grants?
We will be awarding a total of three Grants, in lump sum payments, to a total value of TT$200,000 as follows:
Is this a business loan?
No, this is not a business loan. It is a Grant. Therefore, there is no expectation that the business must repay the funds. The Grant programme provides direct funding for each project. It is open to companies operating within Trinidad and Tobago.
Who is eligible to apply?
- Caribbean Natural Capital Hub members who are SMEs
- SMEs operating in any industry of Trinidad and Tobago
- Registered entities (in existence for at least one year) focused on enhancing and/or protecting the national Natural Capital and whose main operations are within any local industries of Trinidad and Tobago. These can include sole traders, partnerships and limited liability companies.
What is an SME?
In Trinidad and Tobago, a small enterprise is defined as having a staff of between 6-25 employees and sales of up to TT$5M (US$770,000) annually, while a medium enterprise has 26-50 employees and sales of up to TT$10M (US$1.5M) annually.
Do I have to be a member of the Caribbean Natural Capital Hub to be eligible to apply for the Grant?
Yes, you do. If you have not registered as yet, you will be able to register when you are submitting your application for the Grant at https://tt.ansamerchantbank.com/nc-grant-submissions/
Can SMEs registered outside of Trinidad and Tobago apply?
Yes, they can, however, they must be a partner of an SME registered in Trinidad and Tobago, where at least 50% of the partnership belongs to the local organisation.
What can the grant be used for?
• Professional fees of experts contracted for the project
• Costs associated with hiring staff or assigning existing staff specifically to the project during the implementation of the project
• Travel expenses related to the project
• Fees for external technical testing services
• Prototyping costs
• Capital expenses such as equipment–eligible costs are calculated based on a monthly depreciation cost plus % of time used on the project.
• Consumables related to the project
• Graphic design: brand identity or logo, packaging, brochures and collateral material, advertising and social media
• Marketing material during project period – e.g. for trials
• Packaging material during project period – e.g. for trials
• Sales and marketing during project period – e.g. for trials
• Certification and auditing – related to an innovation
• Intellectual property – professional fees and registration in the first market
• Raw material – for testing, demonstration purposes and piloting the innovation
• Rent of special facilities related to project development – e.g. temperature-controlled room, laboratory facility
How will the applications be assessed?
The Natural Capital Grant Challenge for SMEs is keen to identify business opportunities for products and services that prioritise building, conserving, and restoring nature’s stocks in T&T. It is interested in supporting start-ups and growing SMEs whose aim is to develop products and/or services that align with this purpose.
What is natural capital?
Natural capital is defined as the world’s stocks of natural assets which include forests, soil, air, water, and all living things. It is from this natural capital that we derive a wide range of ecosystem goods and services, which make human life, as we know it, possible.
Why is natural capital important?
Natural capital accounting aids firms in comprehending how dependent on natural resources economic growth is, both for delivering goods and services and for absorbing waste and pollution.
What is a natural capital ready business solution?
Natural capital business solutions involve products or services that incorporate nature-based interventions or contribute directly to the conservation/restoration of natural assets such as those listed above.
Example 1: Produce from farms that adopt and actively engage in sustainable practices such as soil conservation and agro-biodiversity can be considered natural capital product-oriented.
Example 2: Tour-guide companies that integrate activities that promote the planet’s well-being, like beach cleanups or re-forestation, can be considered services oriented in natural capital.